Third year adult nursing student, Laura Carter, believes that everyone has days when they think about giving up nursing.
I remember being told about this feeling when I started university and thought to myself, ‘No, never, not me, I love this job’.
Two years down the line and a lot has changed since my days as a fresh faced first year. There have been many days when I felt like I would never make it and qualification seemed like a near impossible task. I’ve had my fair share of tears, tantrums, late nights, early mornings, fabulous days that inspire and horrendous days that make you question why you bother voluntarily torturing yourself this way.
Now I find myself in the first semester of my third year, and dare I say it, but the finish line finally feels like it’s in sight; but I never would have made it this far on my own.
In some respects being a nurse is a little bit like being a footballer. You would be nothing without the supporters who cheer you on week after week. My friends and family, in particular my mum (a qualified nurse of 25 years and experienced mentor), have been there every step of the way providing encouragement and reassurance whenever I needed it. They are the best fans you could ever ask for.
Just like football, nursing is a team sport.
You can’t play a game without the rest of the team in the same way you couldn’t look after a ward full of patients without your mentors. Though I haven’t always got on with mentors on a personal level, no student would be able to qualify without them and the effort they put into teaching and looking after patients at the same time should be applauded. Lecturers, too, often combine practice with teaching and their academic support is precious and invaluable when it comes to assignments and exams.
Of course no one understands how it feels out on that pitch quite like your fellow student nurses. They know the struggles you face in getting your practice book signed off on time, they know what the nurses are like on the surgical ward because that was their last placement, they know exactly how you feel because they feel that way too. I’m fortunate to have the company of some amazing, kind and considerate future nurses in my cohort and working with them reminds me that like a Liverpool player, I’ll never walk alone (on the ward).
Nor will I ever be alone away from the ward. Social networking, especially Twitter, is exceptional in bringing nurses together. Online communities such as St Tweeters Trust (@StTweetersTrust) and NurseShift (@NurseShift) give nurses and other healthcare professionals opportunities for discussion in addition to a sympathetic ear and a wealth of advice. I am so grateful for all the help and support I have found there.
Nursing is a tough business and it’s easy for students to feel isolated especially when they are alone on a placement, but the cream of the NHS are out there more than willing to lend a hand on the journey to registration.
Unfortunately though, whilst being a nurse might be a little bit like being a footballer, they haven’t quite sorted out the discrepancy in wages yet…