Ten months until I qualify. The time has not flown - it has used a very high speed internet connection to instantly bring me face to face with my career, leaving me clutching tightly to my three striped epaulettes.
I am applying for band 5 staff nurse posts, trying to demonstrate my shine and potential through a tight structure of a person specification.
Luckily for us, the nursing shortage means that students are interviewed earlier and earlier, with trusts and now private healthcare companies, in hot competition to hire the next generation of qualifying nurses.
I know students on my course who were offered jobs in second year after impressing their placement area, but I have just started applying– hopefully with interviews to follow!
“I wanted to help families like them, to make the end of life as pain free as possible, and a time for peace, love and joyful memories”
Coming to the end of my nurse training and deciding what work place I would flourish in most, it is impossible to not reflect on my inspiration for beginning this journey.
George, a six year old boy with end stage cancer, after fighting vigorously for half his life, was my inspiration to become a children’s nurse. My time within the family’s bubble, seeing them at their most vulnerable yet so supported for what was to come by nursing and care teams, absolutely changed my life.
I wanted to help families like them, to make the end of life as pain free as possible, and a time for peace, love and joyful memories.
Death and children feel like opposing ends of a magnet, it feels so wrong to bring them together, which is why even health professionals shy away from the subject.
“Changes are happening, but slowly”
Yet whilst we can try to resist the existence of children who will pass away, it is very much a part of the 49, 000 + families lives whose children have a life limiting or life threatening condition in the UK.
Whilst I may sound like a toddler trying to run before I can walk, it is disheartening to be given the key to your nursing future, only to use it and be faced by another door.
Show an interest in areas such as ICU, PICU, CAMHS, neonatal units, palliative care, hospice, oncology or community teams, and you are likely to be gently told this could be a mistake; either for your skill set or for the safety of your service users.
Changes are happening, but slowly. Community vacancies, previously unsuitable for the newly qualified, are beginning to adapt preceptorships to support student nurses transition into staff nurses.
“Invest in us, our inspirations, our Georges, and we will invest in you”
Mental health teams do this regularly, with some trusts offering it to adult students, yet children’s services seem to be trailing behind, with the consensus concerned about vulnerable new nurses and midwives making errors within the home, without the backup of the ward team.
I completely agree that yes, we must be competent to do the role and at all times keep our service users safe, but a thorough and supportive preceptorship package could facilitate newly qualified professionals to blossom in an area that truly grips them.
The shift in care from hospital to community settings also means that there are many children and adults, often those with palliative or End of Life care needs, that are receiving care in their own homes and hospices. Yet with the spike of nurses leaving the register and hospital and community teams under strain, where are the replacements going to come from?
Us. Invest in us, our inspirations, our Georges, and we will invest in you; dedicating our time and hearts to becoming the best practitioners possible. If the candidate is truly unsuitable or incompetent then by all means pass them by, but all we ask for is that chance to show you just how amazing we could be.