Louise had a clear plan of where she wanted to work when she finished her course, so realising it wasn’t the area for her came as a shock.
Before I started my nursing course, I always saw myself as a theatre nurse, having worked in this area when I was a veterinary nurse years earlier. I enjoy the technology side of surgery and am fascinated by the way a surgical intervention can sometimes make a disability almost disappear.
During first year I had a small spoke placement in a day surgery theatre. I found endoscopy interesting, delicate hand surgery intricate, and the nurses role very intense.
But I missed the patient contact, as generally patients are fast asleep.
On my current surgical hub placement I have observed and also scrubbed in during knee surgery and watched a hip operation. I was able to follow the both patients before and after surgery, so I could see how they coped beforehand and how debilitating their conditions were. Even relatively soon after the surgery I was able to talk to the patients and see what a difference it had made.
I really relished these opportunites and found that I craved this patient contact. Theatre, although fascinating, is not for me after all.
“Theatre, although fascinating, is not for me”
So then I felt lost, changing the plan I’d had from the start sent me into a bit of a spin.
Talking to friends on my course, everyone seems to have an idea of what they want, or at least an area they would like to investigate further and have more exposure to. But I just haven’t got a clue and after this last block of placements I will be need to decide on my final year placements.
I tend to use every placement as an opportunity to learn more, and sometimes go on small pathway visits to other areas, such as pre op, outpatients or tissue viability. I hope this will at least give me a broad scope of different areas nurses can work in and that one of these areas will ignite that excitement to look into it further.
I have learnt over the last 18 months that nothing is concrete. Changing your mind time and time again is ok and exposing yourself to lots of interesting areas of nursing will give you a good broad understanding.
It’s an exciting time, but one that does fill me with apprehension. Here’s hoping I find my niche soon!
Louise Goodyear is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch student editor