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STUDENT EDITOR BLOG

Are student nurses disillusioned with nursing?

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In this age of (over)sharing on social media, I am fully aware of the negative impact the proposed changes to the NHS are having on the morale of student nurses.

Danille Garrington-Miller

Although sites such as Facebook and Instagram are full of glorious memes, great support networks and access to worldwide communities of nursing education, on the other hand they bring sensationalist headlines regarding the NHS to our newsfeed, comments from registered nurses who no longer practice due to increasing pressures, and generally an online ‘misery loves company’ dialogue which may trigger nurses’ doubts about their training and vocation.

Too often I read comments along the lines of “I’m 4 weeks into my nurse training and I am already disillusioned and wondering if this is the right degree” and “knowing what nursing is like now I would never have done my training”, the latter of which I feel is a tad hyperbolic.

“However, I encourage you all not to become cynical and lose faith in your budding career before it has even started because - and wait for it - everything is hard.”

Nursing is stressful, yes, and in the current political climate these stresses are often magnified. Still, I wholeheartedly believe we will not always feel this way. Nursing is vast and we will find job satisfaction in our own particular niche Periods of change can be painful and we are the next generation of nurses armed with degrees. However, I encourage you all not to become cynical and lose faith in your budding career before it has even started because - and wait for it - everything is hard.

“In every career pathway imaginable there is a point where you have to crawl through the belly of the beast before you get to where you want to be.”

In every career pathway imaginable there is a point where you have to crawl through the belly of the beast before you get to where you want to be. As Thomas Edison puts it, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, so if you are inspired to become a nurse then just keep on pushing, crawling and trying. Yes you are exhausted, tired and stressed, but you’ll make it.

“Once achieved, I’ll be able to sit back sipping champers in Marbs because I’ll have my life where I want it to be rather than one limited to that of a student nurse.”

I keep getting one of those painful under-skin spots from built-up anxiety. Nevertheless I am convinced these are symptoms of a passionate twenty-something trying to appear rich on Instagram, look like Kim Kardashian via the gym rather than expensive surgery, find bae, and bag a dream job with a salary reserved for someone ten years into their career. Once achieved, I’ll be able to sit back sipping champers in Marbs because I’ll have my life where I want it to be rather than one limited to that of a student nurse.

“We are all equally impoverished, all one assignment away from a meltdown and all emotionally, physically and mentally invested in our courses.”

Living with students from a variety of courses this year ranging from Physiotherapy to Architecture and everything in-between has taught me that we are all equally impoverished, all one assignment away from a meltdown and all emotionally, physically and mentally invested in our courses.

So in short, use social media to fuel your fire, not diminish it. Remember that other professional bodies (particularly others that serve the public, such as teachers) also face pain and suffering from the scrutiny placed upon them - it’s the nature of it all.

Please don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Look forward to an important, varied and rewarding career where you impact the lives and minds of children and their families who are at their most vulnerable. And despite any potential disillusionment this is - and will always continue to be - a privilege and an honour.

Peace and love.

Danielle Garrington-Miller is Student Nursing Times’ child branch editor for 2015/16

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