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'I want to make a difference to someone's day, for them to have hope'

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Although my first year as a mental health nursing student is not over yet, so far it has been truly amazing.

I can honestly say that I have always wanted to be a nurse from as young as I can remember.

In my first year among lots of coursework and essays have been many clinical skills sessions and exams. I have had many clinical skills sessions including temperature, pulse, respirations and blood pressure (TPR/BP), oral and injection medication and asepsis.

As a mental health student nurse I have also had clinical skills in building a therapeutic relationship and questioning styles. These have provided me with confidence, knowledge when out in practice and now I have more understanding of the type of documentation that is required and the level of standards.

This year, my placements have been more than I could have ever imagined. I have been given so many learning opportunities ranging from setting up my own healthy eating and fitness group (working together with patients) where I provided information to patients and made smoothies with them. I also attended seclusion reviews and observed electro-onvulsive therapy (ECT).

Both my clinical placements teams have been absolutely fantastic, giving me praise for my work and so much support when I have needed it most

My experiences this year have been very diverse and interesting which no doubt will continue throughout my training. Both teams within my clinical placements have been absolutely fantastic, giving me praise for my work and so much support when I have needed it most.

If there is any advice that I can give to current student nurses or potentially new students it’s whatever you make of it. I always put every effort in, use my own initiative and try to incorporate my own ideas into practice. If I’m ever upset or unsure about anything I always try to reflect after my shift so I know what to do in future and ask any member of staff for supervision.

I chose to do mental health nursing for many reasons of which are both personal and professional however I would have to say my mum has been my biggest influence. I want to make a difference to somebody’s day, for them to believe and have hope.

Danika Ripley is a first year student studying mental health nursing at the University of Nottingham.

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