Mature students, very well done for making one of the most important decisions of your life.
Becoming a student again is incredibly exciting, a little bit daunting, and at times downright terrifying. I remember being overwhelmed by all the factors I needed to consider - family, finances, leaving behind my current career, getting support, relocation and transport issues, the entire learning experience… The list of considerations can seem endless, and some of these factors have almost put some of my fellow access students off the whole idea.
But, behind every one of us who has bitten the bullet and made a decisive leap into the unknown is a roaring passion which, somehow, seems to overcome any obstacle in our way.
That passion is for nursing - the prospect of becoming that great registered nurse is an incredible motivator. The access course has given us more confidence than we ever thought possible and the support we received from our tutors has been fantastic, they harnessed our enthusiasm to great effect. I have to mention that my good friends and I did fantastically well, working to distinction for the most part and I couldn’t be more proud of all our efforts.
One realisation we made over and over again throughout our “mature” students’ year on access was that you must, must, and I repeat, MUST effectively organise absolutely everything in advance. This could be childcare, part-time working, family time, holidays, assignments (we could have multiple assignments all due at once), finances… Literally everything must be organised in order to sail smoothly and keep stress at bay.
Be sure to embrace Fresher’s week at your university, as whichever route you have taken into your degree course, you will make some great friends during the first few weeks and will be proud of the support you can give to one another. Embrace these bonds, they can only mean great things for your career and indeed the nursing profession.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the media surrounding nursing, you’ll be aware that this is a difficult time to be starting your nursing career - with staff shortages throughout the NHS and a fair bit of bad press of late. However, it is up to us, as the new crop of healthcare professionals, to show the blessed media that there is no end to the greatness that can be achieved if we support each other as one voice.
Never forget the reasons why your chose to become a nurse.
At times it is going to be harder than you can imagine and you might find yourself more tired than you have ever been, so find time to relax each day (sitting back with my three dogs and a Pimm’s in-hand is my personal saviour!) and think of the fabulous work you have begun to carry out in the world. Be proud and your motivation will keep you ticking over. If being skint is wearing a little thin on you as you watch your friends in their established careers posting exotic holiday photos all over Facebook, find cheaper ways to socialise and make memories – use your imagination! When you struggle to find time for your children, plan a memorable, fun-packed weekend between placements. Keep in mind the great future that you are opening up for yourself, your partner, and your kids. After all it is only three short years until you can beam and say “YES! I DID IT!”
Michele Wesson is a 1st year student nurse studying Adult nursing at University of Derby