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How to make it as a student nurse

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Every student nurse has two ‘inner’ thoughts. One being: “This is why I am going to become a nurse”, and the other being: “Am I really cut out for this?”

elena jimenez gregory

elena jimenez gregory

Elena Jimenez-Gregory

Of course, it is only natural that every career path has its ups and downs, however for nursing students the highs and lows are quite extreme. That being said, these are my tips on how to make it to graduation…


Know your boundaries. It’s important to know your limitations as a student nurse, especially when it comes to tasks that are a big no-no for us students.

For example, do not ever, EVER… EVER touch anything that goes into the veins. Think of veins as a little, red brick road taking you and your hard work all the way up the arm and straight to your broken heart, because you have lost your pin before you have even received it.

The same goes for male catheterisation, but we won’t get into that. Never be afraid to say NO. A huge part of nursing is honesty.


Attend your lectures regularly. You will get to a point in your course where you think: “Is there any point in even going to this lecture?” YES! Even if you feel sleepy and have to take a crafty nap at the back of the lecture hall behind your laptop or Starbucks cup. Do not forget, your lecturers will someday write you a reference for your first post as a staff nurse. Be good!


Now, if you’re going to be a writer, then at least follow the lectures to ensure you have some idea about the assignment topic.

There is nothing more soul-destroying than the tachycardia you feel the night before an assignment is due, as you sit yourself in the library, sweating with panic, Red Bull, Pro-plus and a bag of munch at the ready, to write an assignment you haven’t a single clue about.

At least, mentally prepare your assignment in your head in the weeks leading to submission. You will thank me later.

Your uniform

When you get your uniform, you will want to wear it home because you are so excited. Obviously do not. Definitely do not wear your uniform in public for two reasons:

First, once you have that uniform on, you are at work. You are an exposed, unsupervised student nurse on a bus. Don’t put your uniform on the line when you don’t need to.

Second, the germs you have picked up on your uniform at your placement might be passed on to the general public. This is a real-life infection control issue and you are expected to be professional. Be PROUD of your uniform and wear it appropriately! No bar stops in uniform!

Finally, enjoy your time as a student. Get to know your class, they will be your backbone during low points. You need one another. It is no walk in the park, but I promise, the day you take a sneaky graduation selfie will be the day you realise it was worth it!


Elena Jimenez-Gregory is a newly qualified adult nurse, about to study midwifery at Kingston University

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