I have just finished the first week of my first placement at stage 3, and you know what - I am tired.
I am brain tired from all the new information that I have taken in and I am physically tired from all the running around I have done - not just at placement, but at home too.
Even before leaving the house in the morning I have two kids to get up and off to school, wash up, tidy, make the beds - you know, all the normal stuff.
I am on a community placement so I finish at five o’ clock. That is when the second shift starts - the one at home. I make tea, ask how their day was, get uniforms ready for the next day - it just goes on and on. Then I ring my mum to see she is okay. She doesn’t like me doing 9-5 and as she has mental health problems and lives on her own it makes it hard for me to see her, and I worry that she is lonely.
“However, there is another reason why I don’t go into complete meltdown and that is because I know when to stop.”
On top of that I might think about an essay I need to submit, of doing something for my portfolio and also attempt to fit in some reading. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I am incredibly well organised though - I do my university work whilst I am at university and portfolio work whilst on placement. This means I rarely get stressed out; however, there is another reason why I don’t go into complete meltdown and that is because I know when to stop.
”It is really important sometimes to stop thinking about essays, portfolios, reading, uniforms, housework and all the other stuff.”
It is really important sometimes to stop thinking about essays, portfolios, reading, uniforms, housework and all the other stuff. I love being a student nurse; apart from meeting my husband and having the most wonderful children in the world (as many mums would say, I know) it is the best and most meaningful thing I have ever done.
However, sometimes I know it is important to recognise that if I want to be a good nurse I must look after myself first.
So this weekend, I am not going to do any work or even think about doing any. This weekend I am not going to think about becoming a student nurse. I am going to stay away from Twitter and spend time with my family. I am going to be with my kids, husband and mum. I am just going to appreciate time with them. I may stay in my pyjamas and watch TV or I may go out and do something with my loved ones. But I am not going to do a lot at all.
”We tell our patients all the time how important it is they look after themselves; perhaps we should remember that that this same message applies to us too.”
It is really important to be mindful of the stresses and strains and sheer workload that is part-and-parcel of being a student nurse. But often we are not good at recognising the mental and physical stresses we are under. We tell our patients all the time how important it is they look after themselves; perhaps we should remember that that this same message applies to us too.
So how about next weekend you just stop thinking about becoming a nurse. How about you give yourself permission to do nothing. Monday will thank you for it. You will be re-energised, refuelled and motivated to begin the learning process all over again.
Helen Croft is a student mental health nurse (stage 3) at University of Derby