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STUDENT BLOG

'Sometimes you must be a family member first, student nurse second'

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Being a student nurse is incredible. I love learning from experience, the often gruelling physiological side, and building new relationships

As a second-year student, the 12-hour shifts do not even phase me anymore; the fact that I enjoy what I do does help.

However, I don’t actually think many students or even qualified nurses realise how out of sync you can feel when you have a family member in hospital.

I almost always have my nursing head on and therefore understand about how vital good time management is with regards to managing a bay of patients with drugs to be administered, IVs monitored, and X-rays scheduled. These feelings do not change when someone you love is in hospital.

“When someone we love has come in via A&E the fact that things are out of our control can be daunting”

We all know and love the nature of nursing. We feel emotionally intelligent that we can often empathise with our patients and help them physiologically as well to get well. It’s amazing how much our training has taught us. But when someone we love has come in via A&E the fact that things are out of our control as we are now a family member, it can be daunting.

Recently I had a family member in hospital and from the day they came in I found it hard to differentiate between being a student nurse and a family member. I was questioning whether my family member looked well enough to go home as we were being told. Then on the other hand I knew that my colleagues - trained professionals - must know that they are safe to go home. Your brain is in a constant state of flux.

“There was a lot of pressure put on me as the doctors liked to use medical jargon that my family couldn’t understand”

There was a lot of pressure put on me as the doctors liked to use medical jargon that my family couldn’t understand. Therefore it was down to me to explain in simplistic terms what was going on. I was expected me to know everything which was on the one hand flattering but on the other frustrating as there were inevitably certain things I could not help with.

However, after a couple of readmissions I realised that something was not right as I was there from day till night with my family member and I knew something was being missed. I tried hard to push for care whilst at the same time reassuring myself that the pad would soon be changed, it was a busy ward after all. I couldn’t take my student nurse hat off completely, but I wish I could have.

“Treat your patients how you would want your family to be treated”

I know sometimes when a ward is busy you will have lots of family members coming up to you to ask for an update or another blanket, to change a pad, make a patient comfortable or fill up their jug. But do it.

Treat your patients how you would want your family to be treated and do everything you can to ensure they get the correct and timely care they deserve.

I never hesitate in helping as much as I can. I know a hospital is a daunting place for anyone and people come here to be cared for, so be the compassionate, caring, committed nurse you signed up to be.

Paige Johnston is a current second-year student nurse

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