In her last blog as mental health branch editor for SNT, Becky reflects on the past year and looks to the future.
Recently, I have been reflecting on how my confidence levels are the biggest barrier to my future career.
There is a certain confidence that comes from being in 3rd year. Yes, there is an expectation to know more, but if I don’t know I’ll confidently say I don’t have a clue and I will go look it up so I do know.
“I wish I could have been treated more like this in my first two years of training”
I feel I am treated less as a student now, rather more of a nurse-in-waiting and I wish I could have been treated more like this in my first two years of training.
In less than six months I will qualify as a mental health nurse. What a scary and exciting prospect! I have a job offer within the NHS, which is a weight off my mind and likely improving my confidence levels.
But before that happens, my current workload is hard. My assignment is due in a few days and I feel tired most of the time, although this is supported by making sure I attend to the basics – food, sleep, exercise, as priorities. But I love having a goal in sight and it is within reach.
Currently I am halfway through my penultimate placement. I have a good placement and mentor and I feel comfortable here. This is the first time I have entered a placement with no real extra personal baggage – other than moving house three weeks before it.
“This is the first time I have entered a placement with no real extra personal baggag”
I’m in a community mental health team (CMHT), which is home territory for me. I worked for a great team in Cambridgeshire five years ago as a team secretary and that team inspired me to go in to nursing.
I have been apprehensive about working in a CMHT because of the levels of risk and high caseload numbers and feeling like you’re firefighting. But it can be manageable when you have the support of a good team and manager.
My current mentor has helped me realise how important your mentor is to the whole student experience. For example, I was greeted by my mentor when I turned up on the first day. We met and had a chat before I even had a tour of the building.
She started by saying ‘relax’ and put all my fears to rest.
I was introduced to almost everyone in the building (there are several teams) and given a name badge with swipe access for the building. No stressing about how to get in and out!
“My mentor has really taken the time to get to know me as a person”
I am no longer just ‘the student’, I term I don’t like. My mentor has really taken the time to get to know me as a person. I feel like I am working as part of their team.
Those first impressions make a lasting difference.
In the future, I want to create good first and lasting impressions to patients and staff, use my voice for change and encourage others to use theirs. The nurse I would like to be is one that does not forget where they came from and never takes this vocation for granted.
I love that you learn so much about yourself and others when studying nursing and I do wonder what other career can give you that grounding. It is such a privilege to work with patients, each with their own unique history. There are so many people in need and I feel we can only scratch the surface of what they need to recover.
“The nurse I would like to be is one that does not forget where they came from and never takes this vocation for granted”
This part of nursing worries me and I wonder what the future is for funding and where the next cuts will be.
Being a student NT editor has been an excellent opportunity, not just for my CV but for networking and having a platform to speak out for other student nurses. If you have applied for the role of the next Student Nursing Times editor, good luck!
Thank you for the opportunity, Student Nursing Times.
Becky Kidman is mental health branch student editor for Student Nursing Times 2014-15
- Find out more about being a SNT editor and if the position is right for you
- Read what Becky thinks about SNT editor role