We talk to Vicki Abrahams, a student nurse, currently in her second year.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I witnessed bad care and I really wanted to do better and protect older adults.
Where did you train?
Birmingham City University.
Did you work in healthcare before your training?
I used to work as a healthcare assistant at Shirehill Intermediate Care Unit in Glossop.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I’m a worrier. I worry I’ll make a mistake or people don’t like me. I’ll worry I’m not studying hard enough or that I’m working too hard. There probably isn’t a worry that I haven’t experienced!
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
I learnt the most from the toughest mentor I have ever had. She believed in tough love and hard truths. She got more out of me than any other mentor ever has. At first I felt like I wasn’t good enough but I slowly gained the confidence to share my opinions on patient care. It was hard but I realised I am a strong person with a good level of knowledge.
Be proactive – if a mentor doesn’t ask you what a medication does during a drug round, ask or demonstrate your knowledge
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Be the proactive one – if a mentor doesn’t ask you what a medication does during a drug round, then ask them or demonstrate the knowledge you have.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying that my 5am alarm won’t go off!
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
That moment when I’ve finished the care of a patient with complex needs. When they are clean, comfortable and happy, I feel a sense of achievement.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Raising £400 for the Contact the Elderly charity by running a half marathon.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
The political time in which we live has created an uncertain future for the NHS. I’m concerned that the lack of consultation with nurses will result in there being fewer qualified nurses, which will result in a greater reliance on support staff.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to be a community staff nurse undertaking the district nursing course.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
If you’re a good listener, I think you will be able to do anything you choose.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I want to see health professionals promoting the good things they do. Nurses receive negative press from the actions of a few. We must become a united profession that challenges the government to make positive changes for us. Let’s stand up for ourselves.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Seeing my family.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
I would love to spend an hour with Jeremy Hunt. I want to sit down and explain the life of a student nurse and how the financial system needs review. The bursary doesn’t need to be cut, it needs to be increased.