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From student to qualified: the reality

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This student affairs section was intended to cover ‘the issues affecting you and your profession’, however as student nurses we are in a unique position with issues that are particular to us.

So on the day of the Student Nursing Times Awards, and immediately following the announcement of a snap election, you would think I had plenty to talk about in this blog. But rather selfishly, I would like to talk about some things that have happened to me over the last month.

I graduated.

I moved house.

I started a new job.

I received my PIN.


Part of me feels like I’m on a constant holiday where every day spent in a new city reveals more sights and adventure, and every day spent viciously swiping on Tinder opens up new friends.

But I have also been struck with the not unexpected fear of starting fresh in a new trust. Systems are completely different, sufficiently so to cause me my first paperwork freak out. A new specialism means that I now feel like a student at the very beginning of my course again, and I still can’t remember anyone’s name.

The trouble is, I now have genuine responsibility over the care of my patients. If I were to tell ‘student me’ back on my first placement what it would feel like, I would have questioned whether I was doing the right thing. But the reality is that it was never going to be easy moving theory into practice. The training wheels have come off and I feel like I’m teetering, waiting to fall. I have felt like this most mornings since I started, and while it dissipates through the work day, I know it will be the same when I wake up on the next.

This is not to say that support at work has been lacking. I feel like I’ve had sufficient supernumerary time to get used to the new environment, and people are forever asking if I need any help. Must be the look I have in my eyes ◉_◉.

But things will never be the same as the student days, and I’ll need to build back that sense of confidence in my own ability.

Whenever any of us move away to begin our new lives, unless you have led quite a nomadic existence, it’s going to leave you with a wrenching feeling. Regardless of how prepared you are, being removed from your support groups means you can feel very much alone.

I know this will get better over time, but while I’m waiting for that to happen, having a life outside of work seems to be making the move worthwhile. If you can bare living with other people, do it. An instant group of friends and a good pub across the road have turned some potentially lonely evenings around.

And I joke about Tinder, but whatever social things you’re into, make use of them. I have met and expect to meet again some great new people. And grab hold of some newbies that go through induction with you. I have often felt alone as the only student in a placement area, and it has been great to have some others going through the same to talk to and meet up with, and remind each other that things do work out.

For the time being, I’m holding onto the memory of an evening when I pulled into York station, got off the train and caught myself thinking ‘ahhh, home’. I had only ever thought of the family home in this way, so it seemed strange to associate somewhere I had only lived for six months with this feeling.

So perhaps six months from now, I will be able to write that I have come out the other side and settled into this new life. Fingers crossed!


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