By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Do you remember your first week in nursing?

Posted by:

21 January, 2013

It’s freshers’ week and all over the country student nurses will be starting out on a training  that will contain experiences and challenges that will be with them for the rest of their life. Nurse training changes your life – not just in career terms but also personally.

Are you a student nurse? Fancy some FREE tips and advice for new student nurse freshers?

Come visit us at student nursing times and follow us on twitter @studentNT

I feel excited that they are at the beginning of a journey where they will learn the skills of how to look after patients with fundamental care at its heart.  I think many of us will remember the difficulties and the challenges of learning procedures, the anxiety about if you are doing it right. The first time you gave an injection, flushed an IV line, changed a dressing or helped someone walk to the toilet.  And remember the enjoyment of being able to care and support patients at a time when they need care.

But I think the way that nurse training changes you in a personal way is the experience of meeting patients. However many years ago that is was that you trained, I imagine you will still remember some of the patients you met during your training, especially in the early days.

The conversations that you had with them about their condition and about their life. The opportunity that nursing gave you to meet people from all ages and from all backgrounds. And the trust they placed in you to help them get better or at least to be made comfortable.

So I feel quite excited on the new student’s behalf – wishing I could turn the clock back and go through again some, if not all, of the variety, challenges and real life experience that nurse training offers.

And don’t forget that student nurses can be supported by the resources for freshers’ week at studentnursingtimes.net  which will help with tips on essay writing and the first placement and much more.

And a student subscription is only 70p a week.

Readers' comments (31)

  • 27 years ago this very week for me :-) " Introductory Block " at School of Nursing , remembered with love !

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • my Dad wasn't allowed to help carry my luggage up to my room in the nursing home as he was a man, regardless of the fact he was a consultant who had trained in the hospital and spent many years there and was accompanied by me and my Mum who had also trained there! good start and taster of many of the quirky attitudes in nursing!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • 11 years ago this april I travelled away from home to leeds university, it was daunting and emotional. I lived in halls for 4 months then shared a house with 3 other nurses. My first week was based at clarendon wing at leeds general infirmary, the week introduced us to the course which was the last project 2000 intake. I can remember our groups and the tour of the hospital we were given and introduction to clinical skills at jimmys .Baines wing was our school of nursing. We had a cfp of 18 months then branched out. We waited 6months for our first placement after completing assignments. . . . Since then nursing has been my life.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell

    in jan 1987 we were the first trial project 2000 course. We had to do continuous assessment and sit the state final state exam.

    On arrival on my first ward placement i was taken aside by a doctor who asked me to assist him, he took me into a room where he was going to take someones blood, as i was struggling with the torniquet he thrust at me, he said 'how long have you been a nurse'. I replied 'about 5 minutes, this is my first day on the wards'. He apologised.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • tinkerbell | 22-Jan-2013 7:06 pm

    a doctor needed the assistance of a nurse to take blood?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I remember trying to work out how to assemble our caps. We were not allowed to have any visitors in our rooms in the nurses' home - not even your parents. There were no facilities for making a cup of tea or coffee.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • I remember my first day in nursing and really I felt terrified..because I began working in critical care..My legs were unstable and my breathing was fast..I felt absoluty responsable for everything would come from then on in my working with people..Actually I got to learn all those difficult things although never is too enough for it..Thank you for letting me express me by this beautiful page..I am Viviana from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • viviana alejandra juan | 23-Jan-2013 1:36 pm

    thank you for a lovely comment.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Anonymous | 23-Jan-2013 12:01 pm

    did you master your cap?

    I never did during my three and a half years!

    we had to have seven flutes at the back and I always managed to have six or eight? The front was semi-circular in shape. these stood up proudly on our heads until the general strike (during the 70s) when there were severe financial cutbacks which also hit the laundry and they started to dilute their starch to make it go further so the hats just flopped. Somebody discovered discarded x-rays cut into a semi-circle and placed under the front of the hat did the trick and we had to scrub the images off it. My Dad was a radiologist so I was never in short supply.

    In our third year we were awarded our strings which was a bow under the chin which didn't actually undo but was attached at both sides under our hat. we were given two or three and had to make them up fresh before each shift. I soon learned the trick of not putting on make up under my chin so I could make them last two or three days before they went back to the laundry! This allowed me extra time in bed in the mornings!

    We had a visiting midwifery lecturer from St. Thomas's on a couple of occasions. She looked stunning in a navy blue sister' uniform with white polka dots but their flutes were at the front of her hat and compared to ours looked as if she was wearing it back to front. A few of my younger colleagues found this highly amusing and giggled throughout most of the lecture whilst I found a carton full of condoms in a cupboard in the lecture room just before her arrival and we blew them all up and let them float out of the seventh floor window down onto the high street below! In those days they were rather a novelty or at least to us they were!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • June 1966 at St James Hospital Milton, Portsmouth.
    The start of a new career in psychiatric nursing. Head Tutor, Mr Dickie Vinton, one of the best in the whole of the NH. He'd be turning in his grave, if he knew of the deteriorated standards in nursing that is occuring in our hospitals today..

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Iama Cynic | 23-Jan-2013 3:12 pm

    I think the same can be said of the very many devoted and dedicated h c professionals who put everything into the NHS are no longer with us. I am sometimes relieved that my parents and their friends and colleagues, included in this group, are not here now to see it.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • 40 years ago in September, still working and registered. Remember my first day very well.

    Days when consultants where called Sir, had a cup of tea in a china cup, poured from a tea pot after the ward round. Could still fold my starched hat, and always took a clean starched apron and cuffs on duty with me. Reported for duty to the senior member of staff. patients had meals served on a tray with condiments, a fresh cup of tea (not paper mugs from a machine)

    Happy days

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Linda Mussell | 24-Jan-2013 12:22 pm



    "...a fresh cup of tea (not paper mugs from a machine)

    Happy days"

    civilised days and probably far more therapeutic than having a paper mug from a machine thrown at you! I expect some sort of attention to the patients and some form of dialogue took place when tea was served as well!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Compared to some of these comments I haven't even started yet - 16 years exactly on 24 February.

    However unlike most I was a mature student (38 years old) when I started my Adult training which had advantages and disadvantages. The 1st part of the training was a classroom block lasting some weeks which I remember very little about.

    However the first day on placement was something else entirely. There was a single moment in the corridor during the morning, which comes to me distinctly whenever I recall it, when for no particular reason I looked down, became aware of my white tunic, grey trousers and black shoes and thought "my God: this is real"

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • 47 years ago this month on my 18th birthday. I remember the pride and excitement as I donned my uniform for the very first time. It was a dream come true to work within the wonderful NHS that had made so much difference to peoples' lives. I am still working and although the NHS has changed, the men and women working within it have not changed so much. Most are compassionate and kind, competent and couragious with commitment and good communication skills as they always have been. Look around you, where else would you find so many individuals like that? How sad then that a few 'bad apples' have focused attention on the negative aspects of nursing care, rather than the thousands of nurses quietly carrying on doing their very best for patients, often amid very difficult and stressful circumstances.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Linda Mussell | 24-Jan-2013 12:22 pm

    40 years ago in September, still working and registered. Remember my first day very well.

    Days when consultants where called Sir, had a cup of tea in a china cup, poured from a tea pot after the ward round.

    My husband is a consultant he has to hoover his own office at work now as the cleaners have been instructed not to.

    I began nursing 35 years ago I had pride in my job and as long as I worked hard I was supported and respected. I still do bank work, I love my patients but despair at what nursing has become.

    My political inclinations have always been Tory leaning but I am afraid they are destroying the NHS starting with the souls of those who work in it.

    There are too many yes men managers who havn't got a clue what goes on at direct patient contact level.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • My first day as a nurse was in a nursing home. I loved it. The patients were lovely. I got to know them all, their likes, dislikes, routines. It was real nursing. I'm very upset by what is happening in the NHS now. It's all about statistics, paperwork, ticking boxes. The patient is going to get lost in all this. And no, I didn't qualify in the dark ages, it was 1997.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • On my very first allocation I met the acute medical ward sister who for me, still stands as the standard by which others should be judged. I remember being horrified that some people would chose not to be resusitated and that I was going to be part of someones peaceful ending of their days. another revelation. My training had its detractors at the time (I started in 1984) but I am not convinced what we have now has solved those issues either. i would do it all again though......

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Linda Mussell | 24-Jan-2013 12:22 pm

    40 years ago in September, still working and registered. Remember my first day very well.

    Days when consultants where called Sir, had a cup of tea in a china cup, poured from a tea pot after the ward round.

    My husband is a consultant he has to hoover his own office at work now as the cleaners have been instructed not to.

    I began nursing 35 years ago I had pride in my job and as long as I worked hard I was supported and respected. I still do bank work, I love my patients but despair at what nursing has become.

    My political inclinations have always been Tory leaning but I am afraid they are destroying the NHS starting with the souls of those who work in it.

    There are too many yes men managers who havn't got a clue what goes on at direct patient contact level.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Sorry don't know how the duplicate happened !

    Unsuitable or offensive?

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

newsletterpromo