Right now I am literally tearing my highlighted hair out. It's 4.30am and I can't sleep as tomorrow is D-day - the dreaded end-of-year essay is due. Should it fail to come up to scratch, my whole career could be down the drain.
What is with that? Here I am, two years into a course that I'm loving, and I could literally fail if I don't pass this essay. Nevermind the countless hours spent on the wards, the days and nights running around like a blue-arsed flea, making sure that every patient gets the absolute best. But no, apparently compassion, understanding and damn hard work do not make a nurse. Harvard referencing and case studies, that's what gets you your colours.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for nurses being educated and intelligent, but this is going to far. I may not be able to put good nursing principles on paper, but I can certainly make a bed you can bounce a 50p coin off, and administrate injections at the drop of a hat.
But these days it's all about evidenced-based research. Well, here's my contribution to the research: essays are nonsense. I spend hours and hours using a thesaurus to try and find big words to put on paper so I come out looking intelligent. Why not have a conservation with me instead, ask me my opinion on patient-centered care, ask me any drug calculation you want, or even ask me to explain the new mental health act.
If a patient needs me to explain their medication, I can help. If I'm about to finish my shift, I will stay and explain it another way so i can go home knowing I gave 100%. This is not because I wrote an essay on it - it's because I believe in it and I was born to do it.
Thirteen-hour shifts, living on a bursary and working a part-time job, 3000-word essays due every two months, an ongoing portfolio of evidence... how could I not love being a student nurse?