Someone once said life was like a box of chocolates. I disagree. If there’s one thing these past 6 months have taught me it’s that life is more life a motorway.
Yeah sure you think. Well let’s examine it a little closer. You’re driving along, people overtaking, people undertaking, you miss your exit and you’re stuck. You have to deal with the consequences and resort to plan B, continue to the next exit and backtrack. Like life the motorway has rules, it has risk takers and it has enforcement. It looks relatively straight forward to an onlooker but really we don’t known what lies ahead. You can drive that M9 daily and then one day something on that road changes your perception forever.
That’s where I found myself 7 months ago. Previous to the dreaded day I admitted it had all gone wrong I had assumed that as long as I stayed on the route and drove straight ahead I would reach my destination. What I didn’t bank on was the road works along the way. Yeah, it’s tough being a student nurse but perhaps now reflecting on it I can see that a detour wasn’t such a bad thing.
For those of you who followed my previous blogs you will have a good idea of what went on and more importantly the reaction to them. I just want to set the record clear. I never ever wanted sympathy, nor to portray myself as a victim. The simple truth is that just like a driver I got distracted, I took my eyes off the road for a second and bam…I crashed. So yes I totally agree with the cynics, those who questioned my commitment and worth to this course. I was also thankful for those who realised that there was still potential there. I’ve had my MOT, I’m already to go and I have to say that my time spent in the garage (aka the call centre) wasn’t such a loss.
You see the call centre job served two purposes. 1) It reminded me on a daily basis that I didn’t want to be there longer than necessary 2) It allowed me to save money so as I’m not so financially pushed this year (huge weight off the shoulders!)Although some were critical of my decision not to seek a fulltime position as a nursing assistant, I needed something that didn’t allow me to stay comfortable and believe it or not customers meant patients were never far from my mind.
Customers vs Patients, you may ask how they can possibly be similar. Well they are both consumers, they both require a service and both deserve the highest customer experience. Unlike customers patient don’t always have the choice of who delivers that service. A customer can choose a fridge from Dixon’s, Argos or a number of other electrical goods stores. A patient on the other hand has very little control of whose hands their life is in. On reflection maybe it’s more so important that patients have the best possible “customer service” they possibly can. Can we be more courteous? Can we try and be as honest as we possibly can when it comes to waiting times? Perhaps using the autonomy skills we are taught at university really could enhance a visit to hospital. A customer can return a product or service under a guarantee, with health there are no guarantees. That is why it is so important to make each shift count. We should feel privileged to be working along side these patients, playing a part in their recovery. As student nurses we should be paving the way in high standards and exceeding expectations. Just because patients have little say in their health provider does not mean they should expect anything less than a first class service.
I know we’re tired. Overworked. Undervalued. Like customers, we have a choice. And we chose to nurse. So let’s make sure we are the best we can be and anyone feeling a little demotivated…..I recommend a weekend job on the phone, you’ll soon be begging for early shifts!
So it’s back to university tomorrow. Back to the essays and the placements. This time I am absolutely determined to stick to the speed limit and call the AA before the timing belt goes!
Erin Docherty is a student nurse