Two years on and I can still remember the abject terror I felt when walking onto the ward for my first placement of my first year as a student mental health nurse.
It was like the first day of school, except I not only had to worry about if people would like me or if I’d fit in, but I also felt the pressure of holding patients’ lives in my hands.
Every possible worst case scenario went through my head and I imagined that I’d be so awful that I’d be thrown off the course never to return to nursing. Thankfully none of these horrifying scenarios that made me feel like giving up before I had even started ever came true.
I instantly fell in love with being on the ward and it suddenly made sense. It just felt right and the little bits of knowledge that I had learnt in those first few weeks could actually be put to use with real people!
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t always plain sailing and I made more than a few mistakes in that first placement.
But the joy of nursing is that you’ve always got a strong team behind you to help you learn from your mistakes and how to rectify them. What once used to fill me with terror now fills me with excitement. No matter where each placement is, I know I will learn invaluable skills, work with an amazing team and build on my knowledge every time I walk onto a ward or into a community setting or wherever it is that I am lucky enough to go.
”The joy of nursing is that you’ve always got a strong team behind you to help you learn”
Going into my final year of training fills me with excitement as my student journey is coming to an end and my nursing career is about to begin. I feel an amazing sense of achievement that I have come this far and learnt so much. With every placement that has passed, I have felt how much I have grown as a nurse.
I know that by the end of my final year the wonderful teams I have worked with and the mentors who have supported me along the way will have given me the skills and confidence I need to succeed.
Anyone beginning their journey as a student nurse should aim to get the best they can out of all learning experiences they’re offered.
”Every day we will get to do what we love and that all the hard work will have been worthwhile”
Even if they don’t believe that that placement will be somewhere they will want to work someday, they will learn something and every bit of knowledge they can get is vital.
These experiences are what ties everything together and reveals the relevance of the assignments and exams that we work so hard for.
But the main thing that we get out of them is that they show us what our future will look like when we get through the three years and qualify - that every day we will get to do what we love and that all the hard work will have been worthwhile.
Kirsty John is in her third year studying mental health nursing at Swansea University