6 things we discovered about studying nursing


We followed first-year Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) student, Mackenzie O’Toole around on a typical day on campus to ask her 15 questions about studying nursing at the University of Sydney – why she chose it, what she likes about it, and what surprised her most about university life.


Here are six things we discovered about studying nursing at the University of Sydney from Mackenzie. To check out the full list, watch ’15 questions with nursing student Mackenzie O’Toole’.


1. Where the best spot at Sydney Nursing School is


Mackenzie’s favourite spot at Sydney Nursing School are the clinical simulation labs (SIM labs). The SIM labs are home to full-body manikins installed with the latest simulation technology. They provide a safe environment where students like Mackenzie can practice and improve their clinical skills while developing their confidence in the procedures they are learning in lectures.


Through simulated learning, students become proficient at:


  • taking blood pressure

  • checking a pulse

  • listening to breath

  • heart and bowel sounds

  • dressing wounds

  • preparing and administering medications

  • conducting interviews, and

  • documenting patient information.


2. Why she chose a nursing degree


When we asked Mackenzie why she chose a nursing degree, she told us her main reason was "to help others in need".


Nurses make a genuine difference to people’s lives.


Mackenzie was also inspired by the nursing care she received when she contracted meningitis at just three months of age, an event that left her with hearing loss in one ear. Her passion for helping others grew from that point on. She wanted to treat others with the same care she had received.


3. What surprised her about being at university


The student experience at university is a time to learn, change, grow and, for recent high school graduates, it's often an opportunity to become more independent.


What surprised Mackenzie the most about university was, “the total independence you have”.


Student life at Sydney Nursing School is vibrant, active and dynamic. Our students contribute to University decision-making, join community volunteering programs and meet people from across the University through the 200 clubs and societies facilitated by the University of Sydney Union, including the Sydney University Nursing Society (SUNS).


4. How quickly she was able to undertake a placement


Mackenzie was amazed by how soon into her degree she was able to gain real-world experience in her placement. She was placed at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, which is located only blocks away from the University campus.


From the first year of the Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) degree, students gain invaluable practical experience through 880 hours of clinical placements across a wide variety of healthcare settings including emergency departments, intensive care units, paediatric units, mental health facilities and community health centres. Students also have the opportunity to undertake a clinical placement overseas.


5. How supportive her lecturers have been


Sydney Nursing School offers students a supportive environment in which to learn. They are taught by leading academics, clinicians and researchers who are part of the nursing and healthcare community.


There may be seem fear in high school students that they will not receive the same support at University as they have in their high school studies. When we asked Mackenzie how she found her lecturers she said, “amazingly supportive”.


Helping students from day one through to graduation, the University of Sydney has a network of services, facilities and experts to make university experience as smooth and rewarding as possible.


6. How much she loves working with different people


As highly trained and valued professionals, nurses work with a diverse range of people, including other healthcare professionals and patients from all walks of life. Mackenzie has loved how she has been able to study and work alongside people from a diverse range of backgrounds from around Australia and the world.


Students learn how to thrive in complex health environments and will build an understanding of how to work with other health professionals to provide the highest quality patient-centered care.


Find out more about our Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) and where a degree in nursing can lead you.