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'Why do we belittle ourselves in front of our colleagues?'


How many of us have referred to ourselves (or been referred to) as ’just’ or ‘only’ a student nurse during a conversation?

I know I have on occasions apologetically responded to questions or requests with “I’m only a student nurse, can I get someone to help you?” or “I don’t know, I’m just a student nurse”.

It can also feel very daunting - a new way of thinking and behaving, new names and terms to deal with and so much to remember

I know some of my fellow student nurses have too! Why do we do that? Why do we belittle ourselves?

It is hard being a student nurse, there no doubt about that.

It can sometimes feel like learning a new language in a foreign place. And as exciting and spine-tingling as it all is, it can also feel very daunting; a new way of thinking and behaving, new names and terms to deal with and so much to remember!

But at a time when nursing is facing some of its biggest challenges and harshest critics we should be standing up for ourselves and be proud of our roles in delivering care now and going forwards – we are learning valuable clinical, emotional and ethical lessons; at best from people who inspire us and at worst from those who could learn from us.

Let’s not disparage our efforts, let’s celebrate our hard work and successes.

Last week I was lucky enough to do just that at the Student Nursing Times Awards.

My university was shortlisted for most innovative teaching, best partnership and pre-reg nurse education provider of the year.

I remember writing my testimonial during the award application process and wishing with all my heart that we would win. I feel so incredibly grateful that my university saw potential in me and gave me a chance to study nursing that I want them to get something back for their belief in me.

So imagine my elation when we won best partnership, I was so proud. Finally, some recognition! I clapped and clapped with happiness.

Now, imagine that feeling and multiply it by a million, as we were then awarded Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Pre-Registration). I screamed, I stood, I smiled, I had pictures taken, I sat down, and I cried.

Let’s be loud and very proud, we’re not only student nurses, we’re great nurses in the making and we owe it to ourselves

I was so incredibly proud that other people had seen just how wonderful my university is, but most of all, how wonderful student nurses are…. and I was part of it all. I will never forget that moment.

We have worked hard to get to university and we continue to work hard to be the best nurses we can be when we graduate. Let’s be loud and very proud, we’re not only student nurses, we’re great nurses in the making and we owe it to ourselves, and to those who have helped us along the way to celebrate nursing, each other and all of our achievements!

Ruth Perez-Merino is studying adult nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University. chievements!


Readers' comments (2)

  • Michael Whitehead

    Great article. Have tweeted this as I really think you are totally and absolutely right in what you are saying. Student nurses think so little of themselves when really if we knew our true worth our lives would be so much easier. Respect the student uprising!

    P.S. I didn't know you were at the awards. I would have loved to have caught up I really enjoy your articles. What's your twitter handle? :)

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  • Rachael Starkey

    What a brilliant article!! Have also shared this everywhere, I think it's so important that we recognise- and advertise- the great work we are doing. The profession needs to pick itself up, and the first step in that is us recognising that we are not 'just' anything. We are all awesome.

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