The big countdown! Preparing yourself to become a student nurse is exhilarating and nerve-wracking.
I can still remember the increasing feeling of nervousness and, more importantly, the excitement as the date of actually becoming a proud student nurse approached closer. The hard work to get myself into university had been all worth it. The late nights,the early mornings,the numerous visits to college to retake subjects.
Oh, not to mention the lack of social life!
However, all these sacrifices didn’t matter as they had helped me reach this very moment (which I’m sure a lot of new students can relate to) that I had wanted so badly.
”I knew what I was getting myself into”
But of course, the next part of the journey as a student nurse was not going to be an easy ride. The hard work up to this point had been just the tip of the iceberg. Not trying to scare you all, but I knew what I was getting myself into; the lecturers said on the opening day that it is a stressful course, thus making the end prize of becoming a qualified nurse even sweeter.
Luckily, I had some some good friends who had started their nursing training before me. They shared some useful advice on what I should do before I start to put me on good stead, which I am going to share with you all.
”Just working with people in the field will gain you valued skills”
First, if you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to get some experience within the health and social care field. Just working with people in the field will gain you valued skills, such as team work, problem solving, etc. At some universities previous experience is a must but it is not always essential everywhere. Volunteering is a good way to get an insight into how healthcare services work, with the added bonus of working with people, which is what a nurse does day in and day out.
Second, start reading. Get yourself reading on basic anatomy and chemistry. I did an access health science course a year before starting my nurse training and when it came to the anatomy lectures I found that I had forgotten most of the material. Frequently looking at old class notes, books or online resources is a good way to keep information fresh before you begin your studies.
”The workload can be intense at times but this can be overcome”
Third, get yourself a planner or a things-to-do pad. The workload can be intense at times but this can be overcome if you are well organised and note down assignment dates or upcoming training sessions. I tend to write down the most important thing first and make my way through.
Fourth, keeping myself updated on the latest trends and issues in healthcare via reading journals or online news has always served me well, especially in group discussions in class. Healthcare is constantly evolving to improve patient care and so is nursing. Therefore, it is good to be abreast of what is going on.
Lastly, enjoy! Enjoy being a student nurse and grab every opportunity there is to learn something new. Meeting and helping fellow nursing students is one of the best ways to have fun and expand your knowledge. You will also find that their support will help you through every step.
Shere Bruce is in his first year studying mental health nursing at Sheffield Hallam University