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'I've had children start a conga line in the corridor'

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Elouise Haikney qualified in April as a children’s nurse. Student NT Editor, Chloe, finds out about her first job and discusses her transition from student to registered nurse.


You qualified in April this year as a paediatric nurse. How did it feel to reach the end of your training?


I felt relieved! It was a difficult course, very intense, and at times I thought I wouldn’t make it to the end. I was also very excited to actually get started and finally be a proper nurse.

You applied for a preceptorship rotation at Great Ormond Street Hospital. What was involved in the interview process? What made you choose GOSH?

The interview process was one of the most challenging days of my life. After the written application I was called to an eight hour interview day.

We started with a maths exam (no calculators allowed) followed by a written communication exam, an observer group activity and finally, and only if you had passed all the other tests, a formal interview. I found the stress of the timed maths exam particularly excruciating. I was so happy to be offered a place.

I choose GOSH mainly for the rotation programme; the chance to work in three different areas - dermatology and rheumatology, general surgery and urology, and PICU - was very appealing. I really love the atmosphere of the hospital and the chance to be a part of such an exciting place at the forefront of children’s nursing.

How have you found it moving from Southampton to London? Where are you living?

I’m living in the nurses’ accommodation which is directly behind GOSH - so no commute! I’m very grateful to have got a space there.

I’m living with other GOSH employees who I met during the induction. They know how it feels to be new and it’s great being part of a small community. I’m incredibly lucky to be living in the centre of London for a reduced rent rate - I feel a bit spoiled.

How have you found your new job so far?

I love the job. Now I’ve been there a few months I feel like I’ve settled in. All of my colleagues on the ward have been very supportive and made me feel at ease.

Any memorable moments you’d like to share?

There are too many funny things to recall! That’s one of the things I love about children’s nursing - even when children are unwell and an inpatient in hospital so many still manage to enjoy themselves, start a conga line in the corridor for instance!

Have there been challenges?

Unfortunately there have been challenges; for example, safeguarding issues have been particularly difficult and something I always find difficult to grasp. It’s definitely been a big change becoming qualified, although it was a change I was ready for.

What advice would you give to student nurses still training who perhaps feel as if the end of the course is a long way off, with many practice and theory hours still to come?

I would say hold on, because it is all worth it in the end. I’ve already forgotten the pain of essays and exams. You are doing the job you love for far longer than you are spend in training so just stay organised and focused and you’ll be finished before you know it.

Chloe Alden-Dennis is Student Nursing Times’ child branch student editor

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