Soon-to-be student nurse, Jade, asks “Should student nurses spend a year working as a HCA before starting their course?”
In March 2014, I will officially be a student nurse and I absolutely can’t wait.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to is meeting other students, hearing their stories and finding out why they chose nursing. Student nurses come from such a wide range of backgrounds and it’ll be great to hear about other peoples’ experiences.
I’ve been reading in the news lately about students having to have a years’ experience as a healthcare assistant in order to fully understand what you’re “getting yourself in to”. So I’m particularly interested in hearing about what preparation other student nurses did before starting the course. Personally, I have been volunteering for nine months on an orthopaedic ward, which has been so rewarding and given me a real insight in to what to expect during my training and nursing career. Along with doing HCA duties, I get to spend time talking to patients, which to me is so important, especially when patients are on the ward long-term.
Yet, I wonder if I had been forced to spend a year doing paid work as a HCA, would I be in this position now?
Maybe I would have become dependent on that money and felt like I couldn’t afford to give it up. Maybe I would have felt an extra year towards what I wanted to do was too long to wait. What about those students fresh out of college having to take a gap year and losing their confidence to get back into education?
But on the other hand, maybe we all would have learnt something that only work experience can provide.
I can only comment on my own experience. I have found my volunteer placement insightful and it has really helped prepare me for what to expect. I genuinely can’t wait to start because it has allowed me to observe the nurses I so badly want to emulate.
Is a mandatory HCA year the answer? What do you think?
Jade Day is going to be studying adult nursing at Anglia Ruskin University from March 2014