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"I don’t think people understand the stress that exams put students under"

  • Comments (7)

Do you ever have one of those days when you think to yourself “This could only happen to me”?

I seem to have them all the time.  For example, on the first day of my recent placement I was walking up to the hospital and was very near the entrance when SPLAT! A seagull managed to cover me head to toe in seagull poop.  I was literally dripping in the stuff.  Well you can imagine the impression I made as I walked into the unit and had to spend twenty minutes combing the stuff out of my hair before starting my shift.

Or there was the time when a Nurse Practitioner asked me to get him up some bedpan liners.  I looked at him blankly and told him there was no such thing and I didn’t know what he was talking about…

I am now experiencing the delightful task that is potty training for boys.  My little boy has decided he wants to wear big boy pants.  Great I think to myself, I’m on my holidays so I can concentrate on getting him out of nappies instead of concentrating on university work.   I have however, one major obstacle standing in the way of the potty training – he won’t wee in the potty.  The sofa, my shoes, his sisters toy box, the stairs, the bath, the washing machine and the kitchen floor have all experienced wet patches, the potty has stayed remarkably dry.  “Only me” I think to myself as my little man once again refuses to try the potty or the toilet but remains adamant that he wants to be a big boy and wear big boy pants.  I’m sure the learning curve I will experience over the next few weeks will stand me in good stead for when I get back on the wards.  My children have taught me many things, but one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt is patience.  I am certainly learning how to be very, very patient at the moment.


I am also waiting for my exam results to come through.  I have decided I don’t like exams.  My partner doesn’t like me having exams either – I get very stressed and grumpy.  I seriously don’t think people understand the stress that exams put students under.  I have struggled so much over these past few months.  Not just with university and placement, but with everything else going on in my life, throwing an exam into the pot just added to my stress levels.  The exam was partly on pharmacokinetics. Pharmacology and I have a mutual dislike for each other, I understand the reasons for why I need to understand pharmacology, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it or enjoy it. This time next week the postman will develop a nervous disposition as I start lurking by the front door waiting for him to bring my results.  Fingers crossed I did enough to pass.

Being on holiday from university and placement means I have the opportunity to spend quality time with my children.  While I’ve been occupied with my exam my little boy learnt the word “no” – he usually bellows it at the top of his voice before throwing himself down on the floor and having a silent protest that can last seconds or, on one occasion, 20 minutes in the middle of my local supermarket.  My little girl has decided she is in charge and makes the rules in our house.  I haven’t figured out if technically I can still class this as terrible two’s as she’s almost four, or just a girl thing and she takes after her mother.  If it’s the latter, then the teenage years will certainly be interesting. But for the next few weeks I am going to relax, take my children out, enjoy them and forget about being a student nurse for a while.

  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a normal life to me! Welcome to the real world of work, life and juggling a million things. Whilst I appreciate that your life is stressful, this is just what happens and ups and downs will happen throughout your life. You will see all sorts of tragic and traumatic situations in your career that are even more stressful than the time you are having at the moment. I am sure it may even make you appreciate that things you do have in your life, stressful though they are. Being a nurse is a priviliged career, as is having children. Many people would probably envy the opportunities that your life is offering you. Make the most of it as life as a staff nurse will bring added responsibility and accountability not to mention more stress, that is sheltered from you while you are a student. Good luck for the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Hey, we're all the same - everyone has other commitments and stress in their lives. There are always deadlines to meet, people to get on with, bits you don't like, others demanding your attention... I don't have kids but I'm sure mother's don't have my busy life either. Other students and the workforce have the same stresses, even Paris Hilton, so get over it. At least we're not redundant and have a meaningful career ahead. If you don't have good days to outway the bad then you need to find something else to do - life's too short! Chin up!

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  • hello, I like to comment and say that juggling a family, home life and uni, is hard at times but having a good network of friends can help. The times when I feeling stressed with the children and family life I can escape to uni and vise versa, but when on shift as a student nurse your friends and work colleges are there as support also.. we are all in it together so lets get together and help each other.. good luck I know your going to make a excellent nurse..

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  • I think students need to remember that training to be a nurse is not your life, but only a part of it. I am just about to enter my third year.

    I have a family, am renovating a house, run 60-70 miles a week, am on placement and have assignments to write. My training is not my life, but rather my family are. Nursing will fit in with that and certainly will not take prime position. We need to have a proper perspective.

    Life is for enjoying! If it is hard work, you have something wrong!

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  • Hi. i agree with your comments about exams i did my last exams in july as i qualify next march, and with some hard revising i passed both questions. Although i am a mature student i have a family and all the joys around it. It sometimes gets to a point where you dont know which way to turn, but its all worth it in the end. Best of luck with the rest of your training.

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  • Thanks Graham for putting things into perspective. Without outside interests and keeping as fit as possible I'd find the course even more stressful than it is.

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  • Hey, just wait until you're only a few months off qualifying, like me.... (March 2010 here we come, oh dear God).

    While I don't have kids and can only imagine how my colleague with young families even begin to cope, I've had a number of stressful life events recently including a terminal diagnosis in the extended family.
    As if that weren't enough, I'm five weeks into my internship and feel like I'm drowning in the extra reading and pressures of just keeping up with the environment I've chosen (ITU) and I've surprised myself with the intensity of emotion I've been experiencing - right up to wanting to walk away from the course despite having waited 10 years to be ready with never a doubt in my mind.
    However, I'm still here and still steaming forwards. Time is passing faster and faster, and somehow in the last couple of weeks I seem to have reached a state of almost being 'beyond stressed' I know I should be stressed, my body is showing interesting mew signs... but somehow I'm just not feeling it. I'm on the home straight, and I know it.

    Underneath all this is my saving grace and salvation, my friends. My tutor group, who apparently are sharing my tears and fears, and over the most ridiculous things... and the friends who have nothing whatsoever to do with medicine and keep me grounded with their own life stories.

    Never ever forget that natural and inimitable resource around you, the people on your life. They will help you get through this life-changing process.

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