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'When it comes to jobs it's every student nurse for themselves'

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There has been a change at university recently, a change that you can feel in the air, in the corridors and in the eyes of your colleagues and friends. 

In six months we will be qualified child nurses. We are writing our final essays and talk about where we all want to work is being put into action with the occasional browse on a job site, lectures about our future as nurses and mock interviews.

People who sit beside me in class that have been there for me when I’ve forgotten the code for the staff room yet again, who’ve told me to smile because I look scared, are now my competition.

These are the people who I will be most nervous to sit next to in a group interview because while they know my strengths they also know my weaknesses and this scares me, because now it is every man for themselves.

And why shouldn’t it be? All of us have been through our own journeys to get to where we are on this course, not one of them is harder than the other- they are just all different and personal to us. 

We all want a job more than the person next to us- we need this belief and strength to be a nurse as we spend our career fighting for our patients and what is right for them. And the first fight we face as students is making sure we get tthat first job.

We fight with dignity though, with empathy, compassion and honesty applying all of the attributes that have gotten us this far.

The strength that helps me maintain my composure in front of parents in an emotionally challenging situation, will also hopefully stop my face physically falling when I walk into an interview and see my friend and colleague also sat there.

I’ll need strength to put my fears about our personal friendship to one side and the main over-riding fear, what if they are better than me? All the strength in the world will not get rid of that bottom-of-the stomach thought.

What if this turns into the boardroom in the apprentice?  All nicey-nice then BAM. Perhaps this fear is good, mabe it will make me push myself more?  More than likely though I will probably just be relieved to see a friendly face.

I will be the first person to congratulate and hug my friend when they have the job that they have fought and worked so hard for and mean it sincerely because I want my friends to do well, but I would be lying if I said my heart wouldn’t drop to the floor if it wasn’t me who got it- and they would say the same because that is how bad we want to be a nurse. 

If all student nurses want a job as badly as we do, then watch out employers because you have some pretty amazing nurses coming your way.

Tessa Jones is a third year child branch nursing student studying at the University of Nottingham.

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