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Wishing I was a student nurse now

  • Comments (8)

I spent a day last week experiencing the adult student nurse programme at City University in London. The student nurses on that programme will be spending time on placement on the same wards that I trained on 35 years ago. Without a doubt I know who is getting a better deal – the patients now.

There is a myth that some hold that it was good to have trained as a nurse before Project 2000 which actually took place in 1986 not at the turn of the century. That it was better to have trained when you were based at a hospital, when after only 12 weeks of preliminary training school you went straight to work on the wards, not supernumerary but on the rota. And before long you found yourself as a second year in charge on nights.

And the often-touted belief that in those good old days you really learnt to nurse not like now when it’s all theory and no practice.Well on my visit it was very clear to me how well supported student nurses are today. And how better prepared they are to look after a patient then we ever were.

“it was very clear to me how well supported student nurses are today”

Their course includes experiencing patient care in a simulation lab where there is time to practice, reflect and think about how best to care. The lectures were interactive and stimulating and include the use of patient stories told by real patients. They will be many months into their training as a nurse before they are expected to look after a patient and their supernumerary status allows them time to grow and develop their skills.

So if I was a patient now and had to choose between being nursed by me as a student as I was 35 years ago or by one of the students prepared by the programme I witnessed last week. Well as a patient it’s an easy choice. And as a student nurse it’s the same answer.

If I could have my time again I would love to follow one of the programmes offered now.

  • Comments (8)

Readers' comments (8)

  • Liz Charalambous

    I agree.

    I trained 30 years ago and it was very much learning by copying people without understanding the reasons why. I see marvellous young people coming through almost on a daily basis with such passion and enthusiasm for the job its refreshing to know the future of nursing is in safe hands.

    Its up to us 'oldies' to make sure we support them and give them help to develop into excellent staff nurses. As for the comments about degree nurses being 'too posh to wash', I have never found this and we are lucky that the profession has matured into a degree level profession. Its better for the patients and its better for us, we should be proud of what has been achieved over the last 30 years, I know I am.

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  • Agreed !

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  • Anonymous

    I fully support the degree, as nursing has evolved from what it was 30 years ago and will keep changing.

    However students need to be thrown in at the deep end, in order to learn, how can you expect someone to go from Student to Registered Nurse and take charge. They should still be taking charge under supervision of course and shouldn't be expected to do anything unless they are comfortable. I don't think mentoring is great either, a lot of times the students get ignored.

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  • Anonymous

    i have been qualified two and a half years now and glad that the training recieved was at a high level. Mentors were very good and would supervised you and discuss and issues that you may have. But nursing is about critical analsysing there is no point in carrying out a task when you do not know why you are doing it. I love my training .

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  • I trained 49 years ago, I enjoyed my hospital based training, first year the pan room second year the dressings. Third year the medications, and learning to make decisions, and how to time management. I had no qualifications, only the then G.N.C entrance exam. I an still practicing as a Mental Health Nurse on an acute mental health unit. I would not have got to university. Thank you to all those co-nurses who taught me the art of nursing. It was reality based nursing from the word go.I did my General first at Huddersfield Royal I nfirmary, and my Psychiatric nursing at Saxondale Hospital Nottingham Bob Kaye

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  • I started my general training in January 1966 and by the August was in charge of a small paediatric ward at night, which included giving children insulin. The following year I was in charge of a women's medical ward of 28 beds at night and the December same year I had sole responsibility for a 32 bedded male medical ward (remember no ICU in those days) with just one auxillary nurse to help me. Would I want to have been nursed by me -NO! Would I want to go through it all again -definitely NO! Would I like the chance to be a student today - definitely YES!

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  • I trained 60yr. ago and to compare todays hospital treatments then and now is not possible in a useful way. The opportunities to learn and develop skills and knowledge over my nursing career have kept me up to date with changes in my various roles and specialities. We live in a totally different world;it's changed and continues to do so. Training /education should fit a nurse to meet the needs of the present, and those won't be unchanged for long.

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  • Anonymous

    David Smith | 13-Mar-2014 11:17 pm

    male nurses, 60 years ago?

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