11/05/2015 08:26 BST | Updated 10/05/2016 06:59 BST

Why I Study Nursing

Studying nursing is demanding. It can be stressful, tiring and yes, I sometimes wonder why I do it. But then something happens that rekindles the reasons why I nurse, why I love it and why it means so much to me.

One of the toughest things about studying nursing is the work life balance. With a combination of placements, lectures and essays, you go home after a long day and realise you have missed lunch, haven't seen your friends and are far too mentally drained to do anything else. You spend the day caring for others and realise you have forgotten to take care of yourself.

Then of course, there are the employment issues that I expect will continue long after this election. The hours can be long and I'm sure you've heard that what we get paid doesn't reflect our contribution or our skill set.

But I absolutely love it. I feel privileged that people let me into their lives, and let me help them. It's a tough job but the rewards are immense - from the gentle smile from a person you've made comfortable, to the satisfaction you get when you've sorted an issue out for one of your patients.

I already know how it feels to do something worthwhile and to have a purpose. I chose my specialty, learning disability nursing, so I could care for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society and deliver truly holistic care and I now have the opportunity to care for others and to make a positive difference, however small.

We come to study nursing to gain advanced skills, and to graduate as professionals and specialists in our field. But for me some of my best days on placement have been when I have also nursed with my heart and mind. When I've thought about my actions carefully and demonstrated care and compassion for my patients. Sometimes the simplest things I enjoy the most: bringing someone a cup of tea after they've had a tough day, or helping some with their personal care, making sure they are wearing their favourite aftershave.

I came into learning disability nursing after hearing about the Winterbourne View scandal as I feel passionately about trying to make things better for people with intellectual disabilities and working towards inclusion and acceptance so that people can feel safe. Nursing is such a worthwhile, joyful, wonderful career and I hope to go on and demonstrate this passion. I hope to inspire others to pursue a career in nursing and to look to the immensely positive experiences alongside the challenges. Nurses truly have the opportunity to change things, and what may seem like a tough and demanding path is actually one of the most rewarding - often in ways you wouldn't have expected.

Kieran Uttley is a second year learning disability nursing student from Keele University and a member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). To join the celebrations for Nurses' Day 2015, head to @theRCN #WhyInurse.