I am always keen to promote learning through education at all stages of careers and over the coming weeks, I want to shine the spotlight on students undertaking different levels of study.
At both hospital sites – The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust – we have students studying at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
One of our Masters students, Stefano Oggiano, is in his second (final) year of studying for an MSc in Infection Prevention and Control at the University of Dundee.
Studying for a Masters was always something Stefano, who has been a Senior Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at Walsall Manor Hospital for just over a year, wanted to do following his nursing degree. But as this is such a big commitment, he waited seven years until he had found the perfect specialty and job for him.
Not surprisingly, Stefano says studying has taken huge personal drive, but he feels it has helped him professionally because his studies have already helped him immensely in his day-to-day job.
Stefano has been an infection prevention nurse in his team for three years and admits it is hard work. But he says it brings so much joy to pass a module and having learned something that will make a positive impact on his day-to-day practice, and knowing he is shaping the way his department works, ultimately to the benefit of our patients.
He admits it is challenging, acknowledging the main difficulty is combining the volume of material to study plus sitting exams and writing assignments with working full-time and on-call hours. Starting studying in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more challenging!
Stefano admits he is finding studying at this level harder than he expected, but says it is about finding the right balance, and, most importantly making a plan – and sticking to it. He says: “I have spent nights after work revising or writing, but I am sure it will be worth it at the end.”
Having just started his dissertation proposal, he is now at the final stage of his course which will be the most time consuming and demanding, but at the same time he says he is extremely excited to complete this journey.
He also feels well supported by his colleagues, adding: “My team and the Trust has been amazing and supported me with my decision throughout the process – from the original idea of applying to study to agreeing to study time and funding the course.
“I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and always be thankful for the countless hours they hear me worrying over and sharing ideas for my course!”
Stefano would also highly recommend colleagues attaining this level of study. He says: “This has definitely enriched my knowledge, skills and critical thinking, plus my appraisal of evidence-based practice in general, and even more around infection prevention and control. It all made much more sense of why we do what we do!
“I would definitely recommend to anyone to undertake this journey – it has completely changed the way I work and the way I think about my job role.”
I’m sure you will join me in wishing Stefano all the best with his studies and for a continued successful career.