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  • ‘Since when did being pushy become a nursing skill?’

    Rachael Starkey's comment 21 June, 2014 9:19 am

    Well, she's right and wrong at the same time..... but there's a difference between being 'assertive' and being 'pushy'. You do need to get your objectives met and put yourself in situations where you will learn, but you don't necessarily need to stamp your feet and have a fight to do so. Can you talk to the other students about it? If you all want to work the same days then maybe you could come to an arrangement whereby you rotate the chances to be involved in things. Or agree to have a day each where everything exciting that happens is yours.
    failing that, then listen carefully at morning handover and figure out what might be happening today- talk to your mentor then and tell her what you'd like to be involved in, and figure out together how you can be. Don't leave it until the chance comes up and someone else takes it.
    also, just as an aside- it's worth working some weekend shifts if you can, the atmosphere is usually very different, and I often gind my mentors are more relaxed and more open to teaching me things.
    Don't be worrying that you need to be a bulldog to be a nurse though! It's a caring profession, and it's exhausting and hard and amazing- everyone needs to protect themselves from the hard and some people do that by developing a rock iron outer skin and thinking of themselves as 'assertive'. Other people drink a lot of wine, or take up running, or playing the flute, or whatever. She's right that you need to figure out how to get what you need from your career, but it's up to you what you need and how you get it.

  • 'I can’t afford to get to placement'

    Rachael Starkey's comment 18 March, 2014 12:01 pm

    Ooh I feel for you! I've had placements where I've got through by the skin of my teeth and been selling all my stuff on ebay just to get the cash to get there, it's so stressful! Firstly, as others have said try to get your placement hours changed. If you can't, and you do need to get taxis then there is a form your placement office at uni can fill in which will make sure the nhs reimburse you for them. Take that form (which I think is available on the nhs boss website), and the bus timetables, to the placement organizer and don't leave until he/she has either signed the form or helped you find an alternative. Knowing that you definitely can claim the money back should ease your anxiety a little so you can try to enjoy the placement. Good luck! XX

  • 'I feel my mentor doesn't know what she's doing. What should I do?'

    Rachael Starkey's comment 18 November, 2013 5:36 pm

    I've had similar problems on a placement before and I organized a meeting with my mentor about 2 weeks before the end of the placement, although in your case I think you should do it asap. I used post-its to highlight what needed signing and wrote brief accounts of how I felt I thought I had achieved each thing.. I approached it as though I was asking for her guidance in how I should achieve my competencies and we went through each one- for many of them she had forgotten seeing me do things but the write-ups I had done reminded her so she signed them. Then I had clear directions on how to achieve the rest, plus they were at the front of both our minds as we went along.
    The books are complicated and many mentors find them difficult to negotiate... so do us students most of the time!! I think you need to be really clear in what you have done and what you need to do from here on in. In future placements it might be an idea to sit down at the end of each week to get a few things signed off, many mentors have more than one student and do this on top of their jobs, so it's difficult to remember everything.
    If she won't co-operate with you then definitely get the uni involved, there is nothing wrong with asking for support from them.
    And don't forget that all the time you are learning about the kind of mentor you want to be when you get there...! ;)

  • 'Why do we belittle ourselves in front of our colleagues?'

    Rachael Starkey's comment 28 October, 2013 5:55 pm

    What a brilliant article!! Have also shared this everywhere, I think it's so important that we recognise- and advertise- the great work we are doing. The profession needs to pick itself up, and the first step in that is us recognising that we are not 'just' anything. We are all awesome.

  • The balancing act

    Rachael Starkey's comment 28 October, 2013 5:50 pm

    This is great louise, really sums up what it's like being a supposed 'grown up' and doing the course! Off for a bubble bath and lots of chocolate now.... ;)

  • From accountant to student nurse

    Rachael Starkey's comment 30 September, 2013 11:00 am

    Best of luck Jayne, Jo is right- that passion will get you through all the hard days and keep you soaring high on the good days. Best of luck with the course, I'm sure you will love every minute and be fantastic!

  • In defence of social media

    Rachael Starkey's comment 23 September, 2013 7:41 am

    This is a great article Katie, it's brilliant to see some sensible advice set out! I think many universities are a bit 'behind the times' when it comes to SoMe, but in reality we will use it- so it would be helpful if they taught us how to use it safely and for the benefit of our careers, rather than the mixed messages (and often fear-mongering!) we currently seem to get

  • Is the bursary system fair?

    Rachael Starkey's comment 6 September, 2013 6:56 pm

    My bursary doesn't cover my rent/bills, let alone the costs of travelling to placement, or such luxuries as food.... juggling a job along with everything we do for the course makes it much harder than it should be. I'm with Katie on my fears for 3rd year- no idea how I'm going to manage! Travel costs to placement get reimbursed, but you have to have it in the bank to pay it in the first place... Not to mention that it can take weeks to get it back. Am still waiting for claim from June to be paid, despite numerous (costly) phonecalls!