Laura Willcocks, 21 and from Illogan, is a student nurse at Truro School of Nursing, based at the Knowledge Spa, which is adjacent to Treliske Hospital.

Here, she writes about the reasons why she wanted to be a nurse and what it's like to train to be one.

One of the main reasons why I chose to study nursing was being very poorly when I was 16, I spent most of the year in hospital in Cornwall and had to sit many of my GCSEs as an inpatient.

All the nurses who looked after me were outstanding, supportive and went above and beyond. Therefore, when the time came to decide where I wanted the next chapter of my life to continue, I could not think of a better place than giving something back to the NHS and to all the amazing nursing staff.

Being able to support patients and families through some of the most difficult times in their lives is so very rewarding and when you have gone through so much yourself you are then able to understand somewhat how patients feel.

I choose to study at the Truro School of Nursing, run by the University of Plymouth, mainly because I am so close to my mum and papa and I did not want to miss out on my little brother growing up.

My family are very important to me, they are all literally my support network and I would not be where I am today without them.

The main benefits of studying close to home are that you still have time to meet up with family and friends and it also meant I was able to cut down on my maintenance loan because I knew I would not have as many outgoings.

Studying at Truro means that we have a smaller cohort which also means our seminar group sizes are decreased. I personally feel that with this in mind our lecturers begin to understand us more as individuals and know when we may need things explaining in more detail.

The theory side of nursing is not just about writing an essay and hope that you pass. It is an opportunity to learn about different conditions so that you can apply this when you are on placement and it is about working well with your peers to feel proud of the work you have produced. All the lecturers are so supportive, and they help you gain marks that reflect how much work you have put in.

The main reward of being out on placement is being there to support both patients and families at a time they need it most. It is a time where you can treat individuals the way you like to be treated: with dignity and respect at all times. There are far too many moments that I could talk about that will stay with my memories forever but one that will always stick with me throughout my time as both a student and a qualified nurse is after a long conversation with a patient about a new diagnosis and treatments, the patient turned to me and said ‘After this I now have some hope and promise to continue to fight not only for me but for my family’.

Sometimes we forget that just taking time to talk with our patients can mean the absolute world to them. It can give them that sense of belief and know that as health professionals we are here for them and their families.

Being a student nurse of course has its challenges at times. When on placement you could have a hundred other things you need to do on top of it all, but I would not change it for the world.

For me I absolutely love being out on clinical placement, but I do enjoy learning about new conditions knowing that I can then apply this to my practice. The main drawbacks for me are the tiredness and stress at times, but what university course does not come with some stress?

In the back of your mind you just always have to be thinking that all your hard work and determination is absolutely worth it and will pay off.

There are so many different opportunities where nursing can take you, but for me I would love to specialise in pain nursing or become a palliative care nurse.

Both of these specialisms have impacted on the reasons why I chose nursing and it would be an honour to care for patients who are going through a difficult part in their life.

I do not know of a more rewarding job than being a nurse. Just being able to put a smile on someone’s face or when they say ‘thank you’, that really does touch you in ways you did not think were possible.

When thinking about nursing, do not just think about the long days, essays, exams and stress, I think about the times where you know you can make a difference to both patients and family members.

The main aspect is believing in yourself and know that you can do it!

The Truro School of Nursing is holding an open day on Saturday, February 29.

Starting at 10.30am, there will be an opportunity for aspiring nurses of the future to come along an talk to nurse lecturers and nursing students about the exciting new programmes, funding, the application process and there will also be a tour of our facilities.

The Truro School of Nursing is within the Knowledge Spa building which is adjacent to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske.

Purpose-built clinical skills laboratories, including home and ward settings, allow students to put their learning into practice in the most realistic surroundings possible, and the open access library provides well-equipped space for teaching and research. At present pre-registration Adult Health nursing and Mental Health nursing programmes can be studied here. For more information visit