Student nurse Katy Michelle Rowan doesn’t mind her sudden elevation to health advisor for all and sundry, but whatever happened to walks in the park and lunching with friends?
It seems now I am a student nurse, people presume I am the font of all knowledge for any medical condition, ailment or general problem, regardless of whether I’m on duty or not.
One of my in laws’s phoned me last week: “Oh Katy, I’m so glad you answered, I wanted to ask your advice about something”.
I nervously asked her what the matter was and she dropped her voice to a dramatic whisper: “I want your advice about what to do if you’re sore down below?”
I almost died.
Another time, I was lucky enough to have an afternoon to myself, without children or partner in tow. I decided I would go out, have a long walk, get myself a book and settle down in a café to enjoy a good read and a bit of people watching.
I’m at the counter ordering my coffee when one of the ladies who works there spots me and tries desperately to get my attention.She beckons me over to a secluded corner and tells me she’s so glad I came in; she wants my advice about “the change”.
Being a student nurse isn’t just about learning and providing advice and education, it’s also about undertaking different roles to different people.
I have found that one of the most difficult but rewarding roles is listening. When I’m on the wards patients seem willing to reveal concerns to me that have never previously been mentioned.
Sometimes I feel like a sponge as I absorb all these things.I have come home some days and sobbed with the weight of some of the secrets that have been shared with me.
Every now and then, I find it a real struggle balancing all these different roles. Sometimes I feel like I’m being suffocated with the pressure of placement, home life, university and trying to bring up two kids with only my other half for support.
Occasionally, and I know this is incredibly selfish, I wish I didn’t have all these responsibilities.
It gets overwhelming with people relying on me to do the housework, make the dinner, put the kids to bed, write a good essay, read more journals/books or fill in massive loads of paperwork for lecturers or mentors to mark.
I feel like I don’t have time for my friends anymore as I’m always busy, on placement or have the kids in tow. In fact I barelyhave time for ME anymore.
I’m currently on placement at a medical ward. Unfortunately, my kids seem to be conspiring against me to see who can get me up the most times in the night.
Last night my little boy won with a record four times, my little girl almost outdid him by wetting the bed, resulting in a 1am frenzy.
The youngest has also taken to wandering into the bedroom in the early hours and climbing into our bed. It’s like sharing with a large, sleep-talking octopus.He wiggles and kicks, robs the entire pillow and will randomly shout “mine” and “yoghurt” at 4am.
Normally I can manage with limited amounts of sleep, but when I am on placement it gets very tough. I have been lucky enough to get a fabulous mentor who enjoys having a student to teach. But after a week, the exhilaration of learning new things wore off and exhaustion took over.
I’ve been put on night shifts for my final two weeks.I am actually looking forward to this – purely because I will get to have a bed to myself when I come home and I may even get more than four hours of unbroken sleep.
Despite the tiredness, I still love my course. I can’t seem to leave the ‘nurse’ at the hospital as I get waylaid in coffee shops or on Saturday nights for advice.
My friends and I have resorted to meeting up at supermarkets so we can catch up in the coffee shop before they do the shopping and I disappear to work or uni. Gone are the days where we’d meet up and put the world to rights over lunch. I have realised that this is all part of my life now and I enjoy it.
It just takes one person to say just one nice thing and all this pressure is worth it.
It’s overwhelming how nursing takes over your life; but I feel like I’m growing every day. I can’t wait to meet the person I will become in two years time when I qualify. Hopefully she’ll be a good nurse, and maybe even have a bit of time for herself!
Related article: Nursing Times Student Guide