Nursing Times blogger Jane Jennion takes us through week one of her return to nursing after 23 years away.
It has been a long time coming.
Good for you!
Are you sure?
23 years away from nursing and these are just some of the responses I have had from my nursing friends when I said I wanted to return to practice.
In answer to you all: it HAS been a long time coming, good for me indeed and, YES, I am sure!
My name is Jane, and I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for 23 very happy years. I have now reached a time in my life when I would like to return to my first love - working as a nurse.
I have roughly 20 years left in my career, and would like another bite of the cherry; to be able to work with patients and their families and really make a difference, rather than working at arm’s length from them as I have been doing recently.
I wanted to share my experience over the next few months with other readers, get your views and maybe help others facing the same decision. I could not find a great deal of information out there. Well, to be fair, this could just be my “searching” skills – a definite area for development.
I will share with you my highs, lows, challenges and key learnings. I tend to live in a very pink and fluffy world – people are always telling me that sometimes my expectations are just a tad high of people and situations and that at some point I am bound to be disappointed.
By this rationale, my view of the NHS may not be in line with the reality; for what it is worth, my view is that the NHS is still a very exciting - and above all, caring - place to be. I remain mindful and sensitive that in certain situations staffing numbers are not as great as they could be and concerned that some specialist nursing roles may not be as well recognised as they should be. All of this taken into account, I am still delighted to be coming back!
So here goes….week 1, and so far so good. I met my return to practice colleagues, all of whom shared the sense of apprehension and excitement to begin our course, revalidate our PINs and get back to work. Clutching our coffees and shiny new folders in a group session we briefly shared our motivations to return to the nursing profession. We have all had very different life journeys and experiences and everyone is bringing so much with them. It felt a real honour to be back in that safe learning environment and so good to be back with like-minded people. Isn’t there something special about nurses?
It transpired that we had all applied to the course in various ways and if there is something I can say to anyone contemplating a return (tip of the week) - don’t give up! There is always a way, if you really want it. Keep a small book with all the contact details of people you speak to as you ask for advice on your potential journey back. It is quite a minefield out there and you need to keep your wits about you.
From my personal experience, the best person to make initial contact with to start your investigations about the course is the learning and development team at whichever organisation you would like to work for; they have been so helpful to me. In my experience, they have been able to liaise with the university and the recruitment department to ensure interviews and contracts are in place - a massive help. Alternatively, you can apply via the university (details on the NMC website). This will cut out a lot of red tape and may even lead to some sponsorship - always a bonus.
Is primary or secondary care right for you? An important question. I used to work on a gastroenterology ward but this time have opted for the community. It is so refreshing that nurses can now opt straight for community nursing and not have to wait to be seconded as they did in the 80s. By all accounts, this is going to be an increasingly dynamic place to work. Also, by all accounts, more nurses are needed.
Back to us in the classroom: so much has changed: more legislation, government white papers, clinical governance, risk assessments, safeguarding, CQC - I could go on. Our heads were spinning on our shoulders by lunchtime.
This week we are in the simulation labs and it’s basic resus - which has also changed massively. I will let you know how we get on.
Oh, and please indulge me by taking on board just one more tip this week: keep on top of your CRB check.
Remember this and call them – they are very helpful.
I can safely say that I will be opening the champagne when mine comes.
Until next time, Jane