Student nurse Katy Michelle Rowan on the joys and challenges of being a student nurse and mother
I am a 1st year student at the University of Central Lancashire. I am nine months into my course undertaking the Adult Branch. You are joining me as I embark on two huge tasks in my life. I am learning how to be a student nurse while also learning how to be a mum.
I’ve come to realise that what I learn in one can be transferred to the other. It’s a fabulous, exhausting, frustrating and funny learning cycle.
Trying to find a balance where my children don’t miss out because I’m on placement or studying, or my university work doesn’t suffer because my kids need my attention, is a struggle. But I’m getting better at it.
I have two children. My little girl is three. Her favourite word is “NO!”, her favourite sentence is “I don’t want to!”, both are usually accompanied by feet stamping, crying, throwing herself on the floor, clothes being ripped off and a considerable amount of time on the naughty step.
My friends assure me this is normal as they are going through the same thing with their children. My little boy is 20 months. We’ve nicknamed him Klingon. He spends the majority of his time wrapped around my leg, looking up at me with his big blue eyes, arms outstretched & pleading “Mummy cuddle”. He is excellent at resorting to this tactic in the supermarket.
My children have helped prepare me for life as a nurse - the patience I have learnt with dealing with my kid’s tantrums, funny little quirks, and bad behaviour has stood me in good stead for my time on the wards.
The frustration I see in my little girl as she struggles to learn to write is mirrored in the frustration I see from the lady who has had a stroke that has left her with a right sided weakness.
The art of negotiation, diplomacy and distraction tactics have come in useful as well. The experience of encouraging a stubborn toddler that she really does want to eat vegetables will stay with me forever.
I have my children to thank for giving me the ability to not flinch no matter what bodily fluids, food, or medication that they and the patients manage to cover me in. I have found I am pretty unshockable as to the amazing places I can find food and excrement.
I have discovered many similarities in children and patients. Both have the best timing, and it’s always when bodily functions are involved and you are in a hurry, late or just about to finish your shift.
Being a mother while training to be a nurse has been a huge learning curve. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes totally wrong.
The lessons my children and the patients teach me have enabled me to grow as an individual and my children have given me greater strength and ambition to get through my training. When they are older, I want them to be proud of me and respect what I do.
Thankfully, patients have not yet put cat food in my washing machine, or stuffed my favourite boots with four pieces of toast and yoghurt. That is solely the privilege of my children.