11 January 2018
For as long as I remember I had dreams of becoming a nurse. I wanted to provide others with the same excellent care that my mum had received when I was young carer.
I spent a large portion of my childhood and adolescence caring for my mother who was disabled through an accident, so spending time at the hospital and with healthcare professionals just felt natural to me.
Becoming a patient myself, being looked after by wonderful nurses and supported through my health needs, really cemented the drive to become a nurse in me. I wanted to provide others with the same excellent care. Human biology, health and human experience have always been fascinating to me and I thought nursing would be the perfect opportunity to begin a career in an area of much interest and passion.
I applied to and ultimately chose Anglia Ruskin University to study nursing for many reasons. Attending open days, being able to talk to staff and students who were so approachable and full of enthusiasm and knowledge for their subject, made me feel it would be a very supportive place to study. After researching I found that ARU was one of the top universities in the country to study nursing, with an impressive employability rate and very positive feedback from current students. I would be able to travel into the University easily and my local hospitals were within the Trusts used by ARU, so I had easy access to my placements. Overall, ARU was the best choice for me and I am very glad I chose to study here.
By far the best thing about being a nurse is interacting with my patients. I have come across so many different people, personalities and illnesses throughout my training and it has been a privilege to work with each and every individual. Being able to provide immediate care to those in need, supporting people through frightening or emotional times, seeing the joy of people becoming well and sharing in their life stories and their journeys all add to a wonderful experience as a student. Our patients are definitely the ones that teach us most.
One of the more challenging aspects of nursing that I have had to contend with is the emotional aspects of the job. Sometimes we are faced with death, trauma and life stories that can impact our emotions; it can be difficult to deal with objectively. Attachment to patients can happen and grief may even play a part, depending on the area of nursing you are working in. Over time you learn ways of coping and moving forward. The staff and the University are wonderful for supporting you through difficult times.
When facing difficult times throughout this journey it has always been important for me to hold onto the reason of why I became a nurse. I think about my patients and how much they need me, how passionate I am about providing care for those in need, and how I feel in the best moments of nursing too.
Through studying nursing, I have learned that nurses do more than just providing for hygiene needs and giving medication. So many skills are required and you must be adaptable and prepared to face anything. Some situations may call more upon your medical knowledge, others your communication skills, others still on your management and personal skills. Nurses are more than nurses. We have to understand the roles of healthcare assistants, doctors, counsellors, managers, surgeons, prescribers, advisers and social workers. There is definitely more to nursing than meets the eye.
Nursing is about more than caring for people. It’s about using your knowledge and skills to cater for each patient as an individual and provide the best experience for that person. Nursing is about compassion and empathy, about being brave enough to stand up and advocate for those who need you. It is about being competent and your patient being able to trust your knowledge, and believe that you will look after them as if they are the most important thing in the world.
The wonderful thing about nursing is its breadth and variety of roles. There is no single type of nurse and the range of opportunities out there is endless. You will never be stuck in one place for the rest of your life. Nursing opens up many doors into other areas of work, too. Anything from nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, general wards, specialty wards, intensive care and emergency care are just a few examples of different areas. You can go on to become a doctor or a health visitor or work in research. Nursing will never stagnate, it is developing every day.
So what do I think makes a good nurse? Nurses must have empathy and understanding, they must be professional at all times. Having patience and the ability to listen is essential whilst having the scope to adapt and learn from each experience. Reflecting upon experiences, learning from them and bettering yourself are the ways that patients will ultimately have better care. Plus you always need a smile!
To anyone thinking about nursing as a career, I say if you have the passion and determination to work in a demanding but highly rewarding job then you should go for it. Make sure you understand what the role is and that you will be the best person for the job. It is a privilege to care for those in need, you will see strangers in their best and worst moments and they will remember you forever. You have the ability to make a difference, change and save lives.