“This was the best academic course I have ever done!” – Roxana Dimond talks to us about the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing

Roxana Dimond chatted to us about her time at LSHTM studying the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing (DTN).  The DTN is recommended by Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) the British Red Cross and many more international agencies, and has trained hundreds of nurses to work in low-income settings and make significant contributions to world health.

You can register your interest and apply for the programme here: bit.ly/2ozs2sk

Hi Roxana, can you please tell us a bit about your academic and professional background, and why you decided to apply for the DTN?
In 2013 I was awarded my Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Glasgow. Since qualifying, I have worked as a staff nurse in Glasgow on a medical ward specialising in diabetes care, and more recently in Sheffield in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine. After travelling for a year, I worked as a  bank staff nurse for NHS Professionals, across different hospitals settings within the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust. The majority of this work has continued to be on the Infectious Diseases wards, but I have also gained experience in Accident and Emergency, Haematology, Oncology, Theatre Assessment Unit and Day Case Surgery.

One of my main drivers in choosing to develop a career in nursing was the core humanitarian aspect – I strongly believe in the importance of working together to improve each other’s experiences and to reduce suffering – I am passionate about holistic health and wellbeing. There are many barriers across the globe that affect people’s ability to thrive and I have undertaken this course in order to develop a deeper understanding of such challenges and how we can work to overcome them.

I have developed a strong interest in Infectious and tropical diseases through my nursing career,  so decided to apply for the DTN. The knowledge and skills I have acquired will enable me to positively contribute to improving healthcare both within developing countries and here in the UK, in particular with marginalised groups.

It was great to be surrounded by so many people striving for a better future for all.

Can you talk us through a typical day on the DTN?
Usually, there are a couple of lectures in the morning, with a much appreciated coffee break afterwards, which gives you a chance to engage with fellow students. Another lecture follows before lunch. Lunch was always a treat, as the school have freshly cooked food and the “Planetary Pick” options provided lots of tasty, healthy and sustainable meal options which was great as I follow a vegan diet. An added bonus was getting to practice my Spanish with one of the catering staff! After lunch, there is another lecture, followed by a two-hour laboratory session, and then one final lecture in the afternoon. You will be tired after the full day, but it is so worth it, the course is eye-opening and inspiring.

What is the teaching like at LSHTM?
This was probably my favourite thing about the course – the lecturers were fantastic. They were individuals who were very engaged and passionate about the topics they were teaching. Many of them have had years of experience working overseas, in the field. It was invaluable to have lecturers from all walks of life, and from around the globe. They were very authentic, open and honest and talked about the injustices in the world.

How would you describe the DTN student body?
The student body brought a wide range of individuals – different ages, nursing backgrounds and years of experience working in the UK or further afield. I enjoyed meeting people from different countries and sharing our experiences.

What skills have you gained from the course?
I have gained a lot of knowledge about infectious and tropical diseases, and how management for such conditions may differ in low- and middle- income settings. I have also learned how to do some microscopy! I gained an insight into what working with different organisations overseas may entail and how best to prepare for such experiences.

What are you planning to do next, and how will the course help in your career?
I started a new job at University College London Hospital (UCLH) in the department for Infectious Disease, Tropical Medicine and Respiratory Medicine at the same time as starting the course, so, for now, I will continue my practice there and am in the process of applying for a band 6 position. I have been offered a volunteer role with ‘Doctors of the World’ at their clinic in Stratford which provides a service for those who struggle to access healthcare. I would definitely like to do some work overseas in the future.

What will you remember most about your time at LSHTM?
I will remember the fantastic and inspirational lecturers, the welcoming staff, the wonderful people I met on the course and the beautiful library!

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying the DTN?
Do it! You won’t regret it, this was the best academic course I have ever done! The lectures were so inspiring and I learned so much in a short space of time. It was great to be surrounded by so many people striving for a better future for all.

If you’re interested in studying the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing in 2020, you can register your interest and apply here: bit.ly/2ozs2sk

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