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caroline estrella

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Comments (16)

  • Comment on: 'Working on critical care is dredging up painful memories'

    caroline estrella's comment 13 June, 2015 8:32 pm

    With respect I would argue that to involve mentors in any problem affecting a student nurse is appropriate and the right thing to do in the circumstances given that mentors are a student's first port of call in terms of practice support.
    I am sorry your mentor reacted this way, but agree perhaps that she did not know what to do or say. I think a positive next step would be to go to your personal tutor who will most certainly have dealt with similar issues before and who will be able to support you.
    Another source of support would be other students, do you have a close group of friends you could turn to? Anxiety is a horrible thing but 'getting out' and socialising is a really positive step. It is great you have acknowledged what is bothering you, and you also recognise that having a long-standing mental health problem is probably making things harder for you. Are you under a therapist or counsellor because that would be an ideal way to confront the way placement is making you feel.
    Ultimately placements come to an end, this may not be the area you wish to work but there is still much to gain from it. Seek support from the university and find the opportunities to meet your learning outcomes in order that you can move through this and onto the next thing. Very best of luck (-:

  • Comment on: Do student nurses need telling how great they are?

    caroline estrella's comment 24 May, 2015 8:58 pm

    I am in two minds over student nurse awards. On one hand, exceptional achievement should be recognised, and awards are an ideal way to do so. However I think often awards are a biased way of rewarding the strongest academic achievers, or those who have the personality to push their achievements into the limelight. I have worked with many student and qualified nurses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and never expected recognition for their achievements. It does not mean they are not worthy of awards. Furthermore I think student nurse awards may offer an unrealistic sense of reward for good work to students entering the profession, as after qualification, this is not rewarded in the same way. Sometimes it is even percieved as unnoticed which may result in a lack of motivation and morale.
    Nursing is a team not an individual effort and individuals do not give good care experiences alone, but within a group of dedicated professionals. So it is important, I think, for students to realise this from an early stage. Also, nursing is a marathon not a sprint and outstanding achievements during training may not necessarily reflect the remainder of a student's career. On a negative note they encourage competition and a drive for perfection which should be motivated by patient experience and service improvement as opposed to individual gratification. Nursing is always about the patient first.
    However, in any other profession achievement is recognised so perhaps nursing should represent this too. My only fear is that the real achievers, nurses who are quiet about how well they perform, will remain unrecognised. If nurses and student nurses are to recieve awards it is vital the unsung heroes are also noticed along the way.

  • Comment on: 'I'm so nervous I am sick before each placement'

    caroline estrella's comment 24 May, 2015 8:46 pm

    Hi there.
    If it helps any I qualified last year and everything you said resonates with my memories of being a student nurse.
    On one hand please don't be too hard on yourself, as your anxiety is around being a good nurse and shows your dedication to the role. You are still a first year, so everything will be new to you. Nobody will expect you to act in an emergency yet, and their expectations of you will be lower than your expectations of yourself. Remember the course is three years long for a reason, and you have a long way to go before you are expected to be skilled enough to manage patient care alone. Even then you should be supported. So please try not to expect too much from yourself.
    I also felt that nursing was a huge responsibility and that panicked me, but you can only do your best and providing nursing care is a team, not an individual effort. As a student you are accountable to your university and guided by your mentor. In a way your fears are a good thing as they mean you will always be cautious and careful about your actions. But here I think they are a little too much to cope with.
    Please speak to your personal tutor or university counselling service who offer completely confidential support so you can start to develop coping strategies to deal with anxiety. Short term it is a useful thing but over time it can become draining and make us ill, and you don't want to burn out before you've seen your training through.
    You sound like a remarkable student nurse with a true desire to care but you need to look after yourself before you can look after others so nip this in the bud and get some support. Well done for asking for help and I wish you the best for the remainder of your training.

  • Comment on: Student nurses against depression

    caroline estrella's comment 30 April, 2015 10:24 pm

    Hi Anonymous.
    I completely agree with you. And sometimes there are two problems to getting help. The first is in admitting we need it, which can often be the hardest step to take. The second is accessing services. Often a prescription for antidepressants is the only advice given. It is ridiculous considering so many of us experience mental ill health within our lifetimes.
    If it's something you're facing then I suggest you look at the IAPTs website to see what services are available around psychological support in your own area. Additionally some towns have counselling services through private companies or charities which offer appointments on a sliding scale if you are struggling financially.
    The Samaritans are also an excellent support and offer help online, by telephone or in person, and you don't need to be in crisis for someone to listen to you.
    I do think often it is tackling the beginning of depression that is the best way to prevent it getting worse. Often services are saved for those in dire need or in crisis, particularly in mental health where cuts have limited resources. However anyone who is struggling deserves help and support to recover and if this takes more than one GP visit so be it.
    It is hard to show enough compassion to ourselves to get help, but it is really worth it in the long run. Depression kills people, and suicide is a growing concern in young adults. We deserve to deal with it and to have others help us heal, it takes a community to promote mental health and that is, as you say, something that needs further work. But I would argue talking about is is one step towards that.

  • Comment on: 'Do I have to go to university to train as a nurse?'

    caroline estrella's comment 8 March, 2015 9:23 am

    Hi there.
    I felt that at first I may be unsuitable to answer your question as I loved the academic content of the course. Having worked in healthcare for years, I also enjoyed the environment as one where I could focus on myself and meet like minded people to learn without the pressures to constantly apply it as happens in practice. The time where you can enjoy practice ever day of your working life will come soon enough!
    However the two go hand in hand, I often found myself applying what we had learnt-say for instance in a critical care lecture-on a subsequent placement and found that there often was not the time to learn factual information so clearly on the ward. It is often difficult on placement to ensure all learning needs are provided as it is without expecting them all to be covered without university learning as well.
    Additionally, university education ensures the regulation of high quality nurse training and that each student nurse has the practical skills and knowledge to be a good nurse. Although I agree with you that 'on the job' training' sounds more enjoyable in some respects I think the university aspect of the course is equally important.
    I also trained as a single parent with three young children, but once they were in bed was when I studied. To be honest I found it easier than working weekends and nights because I could plan my work while in university and had a familiar routine to complete it.
    Don't forget that you will still have to write essays, even in reflection form, at some point of training even if it is practice based. I believe politicians often misunderstand what the nursing role entails and whilst it is idealistic to say that a nurse should be involved in 'care' the underpinning knowledge which is needed to provide it is currently, and in my opinion, successfully, provided by university education which maintains the high skill standards of student nurses in the UK.
    I would say that although the essays are a grind for most of us, they are an important way to demonstrate the practical and theoretical knowledge that we have gained at numerous stages. You have come so far already, your children will benefit too. Keep going and before you know it you will have qualified and be looking back at your training as a distant memory!

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