I’m often the one giving the support to family, friends and my relatively new group of confidants, my student nursing family and to people I may have only just met.
I enjoy the role and I like to be available for people, but I am only just recognising the fact that I too need to solicit support in challenging times.
It has been a difficult time for my family. My cousin took his own life on the same day my grandma died. The grief is deep, the pain of loss is raw.
I instinctively became a support mechanism for my family. What I didn’t recognise at the time is that I myself needed both the time to grieve as well as a strong support base.
I reached out to my lecturers so that they could support me at university. I felt comforted and understood.
I messaged my friends and my nursing cohort. I didn’t want to talk about what I had been through, but I also knew that it was what I needed. People reached out to me and I let myself be supported by them. It felt good to have friends seeing me through the darker days.
“In nursing there will be many different situations where a good support network will be vital”
This tragedy has made me realise the importance of a strong support network.
In nursing there will be many different situations where a good support network will be vital – to be able to talk about the difficult day at work or the amount of studying to get through, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Without learning the art of asking for help when needed, as a student nurse, we would not be practising what we advise our patients: to be open and to be honest about when we need to ask for support; and taking the time to reflect on what we need to strengthen to move forward.
I have also had time to reflect how we often meet people in life that offer support during certain periods but don’t necessarily stay a constant in one’s life. However, we can be forever grateful for that time spent and advice imparted.
The grief is still there, the support is still needed, but I now realise that I can ask for support and it will be given. I will accept the help.
Zoe Carciente is a second-year student nurse (child) at Middlesex University