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STUDENT LIFE

'Nursing's not about me'

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Looking back on her first year as a student nurse helped Holly realise something crucial about the profession

So you’re just starting out as a student, taking the first step towards your career in nursing.

But before you take one step further, I just want to let you know something extremely important - I’ve realised after my first year on this course that nursing is not for me, and it’s not for you either.

But not for the reasons you may think.

In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than being a nurse. You get to care for, and connect with, many different people from all walks of life. You’ll listen to their problems, offer them advice, and help them with tasks that they’re no longer able to do for themselves, or even just hold their hand when they need it the most.

“You made a difference to that person”

You will go home, soak your aching feet if you have the energy, and think that actually today you helped someone, even if it was just something small. You made a difference to that person.

You will do many difficult tasks and challenges, but you won’t do them for yourself, you’ll do them for your patients.

When I first began nursing, with no prior experience, there were many thoughts that went through my head. I wonderd how on earth I was going to be able to take someone to the toilet or bathe them.

What am I supposed to do when someone starts crying in front of me?

What if someone asks me a question I don’t know the answer to?

“It is the patients that motivate me to continue to become a better student nurse”

Now, as I progress to second year I still have many similar thoughts, but I have become more confident in my abilities to deal with these challenges. This confidence only grows with practice, and it is the patients that motivate me to continue to become a better student nurse.

Throughout your years as a student nurse, you will doubt yourself. You will ask yourself if all the hard work will be worth it.  I can confidently tell you that it will all absolutely be worth every late night, every blister on your feet and every tear shed.

It will be so worth it.

“All the hard work is worth it because you are getting to help people in ways that no one else can”

Yes it is hard work. You will be faced with so many challenges throughout the next three years of your degree, but each of the challenges faced will make you learn something new about yourself and improve your abilities. The challenges will shape who you become in the future and ultimately what kind of nurse you will be. 

Through all the difficult shifts at placement and through the exams and essays, you’ll realise that all the hard work is worth it because you are getting to help people in ways that no one else can.

No matter what you do as a student nurse, just remember that nursing is not for you. Nurses don’t do it for themselves just to earn a living, they do it to make a difference to someone’s life.

They do it for their patients.

Holly McMurray is in her second year studying adult nursing at University of Stirling

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