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‘I need to fix me before I can even think about fixing anyone else’


Children’s branch editor, Rachael, realised it was about time she took her own advice

Rachael Starkey Student Nursing Times editor

Rachael Starkey is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for children’s branch

I’m just about over my dose of the blues…. I think!

It wasn’t just the SNT Awards that helped me recover, I realised that what I really needed was some time out for myself.

I’ve written a few times about the amount of hours I work outside of the course and the pressures of maintaining a relationship, but it really had all got on top of me last month and I came to the realisation that the only cure is a bit of rest and relaxation (and wine).

As future nurses we spend all our time learning how to look after other people, dealing with their problems and helping them find the tools to support themselves through whatever has brought them to us, but how often do we take the time to concentrate on ourselves?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to parents about making sure to look after themselves, get plenty of sleep, eat healthily and take time out away from their children if they can, to ensure that they are strong enough to be the parents they need to be. And yet there I was with my can of energy drink after a few hours of anxiety-filled sleep, with a box of cheap noodles awaiting me for dinner, accepting another shift at work and stressing about when I would write that essay.

Not setting the best example!

Unsurprisingly, I ended up feeling sorry for myself last month. Truth is that in that kind of state I wasn’t helping anyone, let alone me. How can I preach to parents about what I don’t do myself, and how can I expect to be able to learn anything useful?

At some point before I qualify I need to figure out how to manage being overworked and underpaid because things aren’t going to magically improve once I get that pin! I know I’m hardly first in line to complain about nurses’ working conditions, but the fact is, I am in control of my life. I can work all the hours under the sun and let myself get stressed out, or I can sack everything off for a weekend, put up with losing some hours, and pay attention to what matters to me.

Work isn’t everything, I have a life outside this and I’ve been woefully ignoring it, which has clearly got me nowhere.

So this weekend I’ve cancelled my shifts, put the tent in the back of the car and tomorrow I shall be dragging my boyfriend off into the countryside, with no plan other than to find a patch of sky to gaze at and pray it doesn’t rain.

Essays can wait, work can wait, I need to fix me before I can even start to think about fixing anyone else. Wish me luck!


Rachael Starkey is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for children’s branch


Readers' comments (3)

  • spot on!! I am a nurse lecturer and I hear this all the time.....sure be dedicated, hard working, altruistic etc. etc. but if you don't give yourself some 'me time' and be kind to yourself you won't last long when you do qualify (or at worst your relationships won't either!)
    Good luck with your break and make sure its not the last one!!

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  • geeanna

    We are often quick to help others, yet find they are no where around when we need help. In your job role, you can find that the pressure to ensure they are ok, can stop you being simply you, you forget you.

    That is the time to step back, and work out our priorities. Work will still be there, even if you 'die' sorry to be harsh.... We can be replaced all to quickly.

    Taking some 'ME' time and doing the things you enjoy can help you refocus your mind and put many things into perspective.
    Enjoy the time out, find that piece of sky that make you as a person happy and contented. Peaceful.

    Should take the advice on board too :-)

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  • geeanna | 6-Jun-2014 11:04 pm

    agree. happy and contented person - happy and contented and more relaxed and confident nurse which has a positive impact on patients and their care and an influence on everybody you work with as well as friends and family. keep your entire focus on who you are with and what you are doing whether in work or play and with patients, colleagues, family and friends and you will have lots of people attracted to you like happy flies around a delicious pot of honey.
    happiness can be contagious and good for everybody's well being.

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