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From office work to nursing: a year that changed my life


Reflecting on her first year as a student nurse, Sacha remembers how her friends and colleagues reacted when she first announced she was leaving behind her office job to join the nursing profession.

sacha dutta

sacha dutta

Sacha Dutta

”Oh! I could never be a nurse! I couldn’t stand the… (insert horror movie-esque scenario here)”

That is the reaction I received when I proudly told people that I was making a huge career change. I had worked in an office environment for such a long time. I was a whizz at Excel spreadsheets and an expert at PowerPoint presentations.

But, I’d had my fill of office work.

I decided, if I had to work for a living, I wanted to put my energy to good use. To truly make a difference, I wanted to become a nurse.

”During the past year, I’ve been exhausted and exhilarated, in equal measure”

Today, as I write, I’m reflecting on a year that has changed my life. I’ve completed my first year as an adult student nurse. During the past year, I’ve been exhausted and exhilarated, in equal measure.

As a first-time university attendee, and a mature student at that, I wasn’t sure what to expect in college. On my first day, I jostled for a seat in the squashed front row. A barrage of excited voices chattered behind me. I felt as though I was the only person in the room who didn’t know anyone.

However, now by the end of year one, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I can sit down for a lecture. I don’t care how squeezed and up close to my fellow students I am. It is a luxury for a nurse to sit down!

”I felt as though I was the only person in the room who didn’t know anyone”

My first day on placement provided the tightest learning curve of my life. I felt as though I did not know what was going on. And I didn’t! I was lost in a whirl of people who knew exactly what they were doing.

I didn’t even know what the acronyms stood for on my handover sheet. “Can you do that patient’s obs?”, my mentor asked. My mind raced with “I’ve only ever practised this on another student at university,” as I meekly answered “Oh, sure.”

”I had trouble walking to my car, and each step burned the soles of my feet”

By the end of my first day, I was exhausted. I can’t overstate this enough! My feet were so sore, I had trouble walking to my car, and each step burned the soles of my feet. Thankfully, by the end of my first year I had gained some stamina and perfected the art of comfortable shoe shopping!

Over the weeks that I spent on placements, I saw things that most people will never have to see. I’m someone who cannot watch gory scenes on television without covering my eyes. However, when I have a patient in front of me who needs my help, all thoughts of squeamishness leave me. I’m there for them.

I sometimes wonder if the people who told me that they could never be a nurse were in a roundabout way telling me that they didn’t think I had it in me. Well, I’m working on it. As a student nurse I learn something new, every day.

I congratulate you on your choice to become a student nurse, and I wish you the very best of luck.

Sacha Dutta is a second year adult branch student nurse as the University of Greenwich



Readers' comments (2)

  • Hello,

    Thank you so much for a great article. I'm currently working in an office environment and starting my nursing degree next February. I'm really excited but there is some anticipation around leaving paid work and a career for the unknown, great to hear that your are thriving. It makes me feel much more at ease!


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  • Oh wow Sacha you are amazing , please get in touch ,I am head of Clinical Services for a private company and your mum was my best friend years ago at school xx

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