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20TH JUN 2023

Meet Libby, Adult Nursing T Level Student working at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Libby Plunkett Nursing T Level
Libby Plunkett Nursing T Level

With an amazing opportunity to join the Theatres team at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Libby has been able to work with patients and see a number of surgeries take place, getting a great insight into what really happens day-to-day in a busy hospital.

Want to know more about what it’s really like to study a T Level at Gloucestershire College? We’ve been catching up with first-year Adult Nursing student Libby Plunkett, who’s had a fantastic opportunity to work alongside the theatres team at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Through her experience so far she's been able to work with patients and see a number of surgeries take place, getting a great insight into what really happens day-to-day in a busy hospital.


Why did you decide to do the Adult Nursing T Level?

I came from Sixth Form originally, but I picked the T Level because of the opportunities it gives me. Not only do I get the theory in the classroom, I also get the practical experience in the theatres and I've been lucky enough to have access to the hospitals and get the experience with patients and the surgeons and all the other doctors as well.

How did you end up in theatres? Do you have different choices for your T Level placement? 

Yeah there's different opportunities and you can go to different wards. If you're over 17 you can have access to different areas and I was lucky enough to get theatres. I’ve wanted to work in theatres since I knew it was an option, and seeing those operations first hand has been really interesting. I've seen amputations, open surgeries, eye surgeries, colorectal, laparoscopic, literally anything you can think of!

How are you enjoying your placement at the hospital?

Everyone is really friendly. You can talk to anyone and everyone will explain everything to you and they're really, really helpful. They've been able to teach me everything I need to know. Being only 17, it's quite odd in a way because I've had so many experiences that I didn't expect to have yet! But it's been really interesting at the same time, being able to have the same opportunities as those people who are employed here.  

You moved to college from Sixth Form – why did you decide to switch?

I swapped from Sixth Form because I didn't enjoy the theory side of it as much as I thought I would. Although I've always been really academic, it wasn't quite what I thought it would be for me. I've always wanted to do nursing, so knowing I could come to college and have that first-hand experience as well as my theory, just the combination was really what I needed.

What are you enjoying most about your placement at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital?

I really enjoy the patient interaction, so being able to go and get the patients from the wards, and especially the paediatric patients, I feel like I have a good connection with them. And also just being involved in their treatment and knowing that I'm making a difference in their care. Operations are quite a nervous time, so just the idea of caring for people in their time of need and knowing there's a friendly face around them, and knowing that I have those skills to make a difference to people. It just makes such a big impact to them, and I feel like it could make a big impact on me as well.

Would you say that's quite rewarding?

I definitely feel like it's a very rewarding job, knowing that if they're babies or if they're elderly and near the end of life, we can make that difference to them. Just the smallest of operations, it can really change their life. 

What is your time like in the classroom at college?

We get to learn a lot of theory. I'm quite confident with the theory, but there are always things that I haven't seen or heard before. If we don't understand something in the theory, we do a practical behind it so that we understand it better.  We have different models, we have the ward beds and the mannequins so we can really show off that practical knowledge, and we can do it with each other as well. We practice things like blood pressure and pulse and everything on each other in class, so it's like real-life skills that you do on patients as well.

We have really close relationships with our teachers too, so it makes it a lot nicer to be in the classroom. My lecturer, Jo, is amazing. She's like our college mum.

How does that translate to what you do at the hospital? What kind of stuff do you get to do?

I get to assist with things like observations on the patient, so their blood pressure, their heart rate and normal checks that we do before, during and after their stay. We do that a lot during the operation itself on the anaesthesia side, so we monitor them throughout as well. . I can do the paperwork by myself, I can set up the machines for diathermy and the suction, I can help transfer the patients with manual handling.

The placement has really helped with my confidence, so when I go into a degree apprenticeship after college I will feel more confident to have those skills, and not rely on other people. I feel more confident to look after the patients by myself as well.

Why should people consider doing a T Level?

I think people should consider doing the T Level because it gives them not only the theory behind nursing, but also that practical opportunity, from the age of 16. They do the training and get that first-hand experience, and also they get to have that patient interaction at the same time, and I think that's really important for them to build up their nursing skills.


Learn more about the T Levels at GC today!

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