Real-life story - Ewout Van Sabben

Ewout graduates from his children's nursing degree this summer. He already has a job lined up for when his last placement finishes.

Ewout Van Sabben

Final year student, Children’s nursing

Employer or university
West London University
Salary range

What made you decide to become a children’s nurse?

I had worked previously as a support worker working mainly with young adults with learning difficulties where I developed a real passion for helping people. I knew I wanted to work in a healthcare setting and I was looking for a course and a career where I could really make a difference and nursing stood out as a perfect choice.

I used to volunteer at summer camps and in primary schools working with children doing outdoor activities and teaching them different skills. This work made me realise that I really wanted my work to involve childcare so when it came to choosing a nursing specialty, children’s nursing was definitely the right choice for me.

What are you studying?

I’m currently a final year children’s nursing student at the University of West London. I’m finishing my dissertation on innovation in practice and I’m just about to start my final placement before I graduate and go into my first role as a paediatric nurse in Gloucestershire which I start four weeks after finishing my last placement!

My degree has given me the experience and knowledge that I need to be a success in my new role. The lectures have been really interactive and engaging covering subjects ranging from how the NHS works to learning about the vulnerability of our patients.

My varied placements in different hospitals have given me the opportunity to learn on the job and equipped me with the practical skills necessary to be a great nurse. I have learned so much from all the amazing healthcare professionals that I have worked with during my placements. I’m ready!

What do you do on a day to day basis?

Every day is different depending on whether you are  at university or on placement. During university hours there is a combination of interactive lectures and time spent honing your practical skills in the simulation centre with patient simulator manikin. This is a really great part of the course and allows you to perfect the knowledge and experience that you get in lectures and on placement.

I have done eight different placements in NHS and private hospitals and every day has been exciting! On placement you spend time working with and learning from a wide range of healthcare professionals from doctors and nurse to directors and healthcare assistants. Everyone looks after you, it’s all about team work!

Your placements develop as you go through university and you go from observing and shadowing your mentor right through to taking control. The mentors are great and always willing to show you things and support you in your learning. They are such a great resource and are so approachable when it comes to answering any questions you might have. I’ve been on three placements and I’ve never had a mentor I didn’t love!  

The best bits

It’s got to be the impact you have on your patients and their families and the relationships you build with them. Seeing a child leave in a better situation than when they came in and with a smile on their face is just the most amazing thing.

During one of my placements there was a child who was particularly distressed and their parent was also struggling. To be able to go into that situation and be able to help calm the child down and assure the parent that everything was ok was incredible. You really get to witness the positive impact that the work we nurses do has on patients and their loved ones.  

Career plans and top tips for others

There’s so much on the horizon once I finish university, it’s all so exciting! As soon as I finish my degree I will start my first job in children’s nursing as a paediatric nurse at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. I am set to begin my preceptorship programme which I’m really looking forward to as hopefully it will let me ease into the world of work after being at university. So at the moment I am polishing up my dissertation and getting ready for the move to Gloucestershire, I’m also getting married in May next year so it’s all systems go!

None of this would be possible if I hadn’t chosen a degree in children’s nursing. It really has opened so many doors for me, I am even going to be published in the Nursing Children & Young People academic journal! 

I really want people to know that nursing isn’t just what you see on TV. There are so many different opportunities to explore and so many different specialisms that you can go into, you can really make your career whatever you want it to be.

You can be a researcher or a management or clinical leader, whatever your dream is you can achieve it in nursing.


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