Health and social care - student stories
Jasmina Banicek, Nurse
What did you do before you studied with the OU?
I was born in Croatia where, if you want to become a nurse, you start training as young as 14. I was qualified by 18 but at 20 I wanted to travel so came to the UK as an au pair.
The idea was that I would just stay for six months but I liked Britain and decided to resume my nursing career over here. I completed various courses which adapted my training for the British healthcare system but the OU was the only place I could get a degree while holding down a job – and studying while working was something I could never have done in Croatia.
The OU way of learning looked flexible and feasible and so it proved – and it was affordable! I began with Understanding health and social care (K100) and now, a few years later, I have a BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care.
What did you gain from your OU studies?
The teaching was excellent and the support in particular was outstanding. To do an OU degree you do need discipline to make and organise time to study, but although you do work on your own, you’re definitely not alone. There is so much support from tutors via email, the telephone and face-to-face tutorials, and I made a deliberate effort to get to know other students. My most recent tutorial group included a radiographer, an occupational therapist and an endoscopy nurse – not only was it interesting to get their perspectives on the courses but I did a lot of networking, too!
The administrative support you get is excellent, too. Whether you have queries about registering, or finance, or your choice of course, it’s made very easy and straightforward for you – and if no-one is available to help you straightaway they always get back to you.
How have your studies enhanced your career?
Employers, too, rate the OU very highly as they appreciate the discipline and the hard work needed to achieve the degree. My promotion to clinical nurse specialist is certainly down to my OU studies.
It’s a challenge to fit your study round your job, your friends and other things in your life but it’s worth it. It can be tough, but it can be done – and it’s fun, too! I’m not finished yet – I’ve just started my masters with the OU, so I must be enjoying it!