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There are many ways to make a difference, so why choose nursing?

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Second year student nurse, Prudence, considers why we so often say we want to be a nurse “to make a difference”

Let’s be honest, I’ve said this before and so have you: we want to make a difference. We all want to help people who are vulnerable. We all want to be advocates for people in their time of need.

What have I missed? Oh, we all really enjoy and find comfort in helping people. Does this ring a bell?

So why feel we need to say it?

”We all want to help people who are vulnerable”

We could have chosen to work in an orphanage. Offered our time, shared vital life skills, nurtured and formed appropriate attachments with children that revolve around trust, security and love. Or we could have joined the police and solved crimes, protected the innocent and victims from transgressors and the corrupt.

Or, what about working with the homeless? Social services for example. Or dieticians who make a huge difference because diet and nutrients play a crucial role in how our bodies function; too much sugar can lead to death, excess potassium consumption can damage the kidneys, which can have a deadly effect. So, educating people on how best to balance their meals can make a difference. We could have chosen this route to help people.

The truth is, there are so many careers out there that can help to make a difference. It’s just not good enough to say “I want to be a nurse because I really want to make a difference.” 

”It’s just not good enough to say “I want to be a nurse because I really want to make a difference.””

Even though I might have said during my university interview that I wanted to make a difference, I chose nursing because I wanted to be a bit of everything.

A bit of a police officer because they investigate and protect people. Nurses are continuously investigating what’s going on with the individual he or she is caring for. The term investigation might not be apt because nursing has its own terminology, so we tend to hear the term assessment a lot.

In nursing, you also meet individuals from various backgrounds and some might be coming into the hospital after being physically or sexually abused. It is a nurse’s responsibility to protect individuals by picking up all the cues that indicate abuse and be courageous enough to take the appropriate action. We meet individuals who are homeless, people who have lost the will to live, people going through grief - I could go on.

”We meet individuals who are homeless, people who have lost the will to live, people going through grief - I could go on.”

I am in my second year of nursing and I am loving it. Why? Because nursing for me is not just a career where I am making a difference, but it is a career that is making a difference in me.

Because nursing provides a platform of opportunities where I can be a listener, I can use my clinical skills to relieve pain, I can assist people with their daily living activities or I can be an adviser.

Like I said before, I can be a bit of everything.

I am the kind of person who prefers not to do the same thing every time and nursing caters for this, everybody is unique so the care provided is tailored to each individual.

Every patient’s care is always different.

Prudence S Mlambo is a second year student nurse studying adult nursing at Salford University.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Dear Prudence, (sorry to reference the beatles song! I'm sure that's not the first time either), I so agree with your appraisal of why nursing has this enormous potential as a fulfilling and constantly stimulating profession! Yes we want to help, but we want to help in all the ways; emotionally, practically, organisationally, clinically, holistically, ..and all the ways you mentioned in your excellent article. I myself am in my first job as a newly qualified nurse, and while I'm finding it extraordinarily challenging and overwhelming at times as I finally have full responsibilty for 7 patients in my care for the 12 hours I am on shift, I feel it is a worthy challenge, and something that really pushes you to grow in so many directions. I am someone who likes to do a little bit of everything, and it really suits this side of me. The organisational and multi-tasking sides of things may not come so naturally, but I'm sure it is good for me!! It is certainly never dull. All the best with your training and future career!

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