It’s been a while and I hope you’re doing well.
Where have I been for the last 6 months? Grab a cup of tea and I’ll fill you in.
So since I last posted in June, a lot has changed in my life. In September, it was confirmed I had achieved a first class degree in Child Nursing BSc (Hons) and I can honestly say, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. All the hard work, stress and countless moments of self doubt over the last three years made it all worth it!
In September, I also received my (very long awaited) NMC pin number which allows me to practice as a registered children’s nurse in the UK and has allowed me to start my dream job at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I’m currently working in Neurosciences and I can honestly say, I love it. But it’s not been completely plain sailing (which I’ll get on to in a minute…). But first, if you look at the photo at the bottom of the page – I finally got my blues! This was taken after I had run (literally, soooooo excited) home after a full day of study in my induction period, but I could not wait for the moment where I could finally put on that blue staff nurse uniform. As soon as I put it on, I rang my mum and felt on top of the world. I was so proud. I am so proud to wear this uniform and be a children’s nurse. Honestly, I am.
However, I’m not going to lie, being a nurse is hard. When I was a student on my final placement, about two weeks before I got signed off, I thought “yes, I’ve got this. I can do this” which was the mentality I went to work with on my first night shift as a qualified staff nurse. When I was sat in the staff room, waiting for handover I was still thinking “yes, I’ve got this. I can do this”. But when I walked out onto the ward and was allocated patients of my own, it suddenly dawned on me that those patients were now solely my responsibility…. no mentor to fall back on. WOW. How was I going to do this?
The first month was difficult. It took me a while to accept that I was actually a registered nurse and I was capable and competent. I felt very nervous and like I didn’t know half as much as I should know. I felt I wasn’t ready or good enough to take care of these very unwell, complex patients on my own. I felt like there wasn’t enough hours in the shift to do all the jobs I needed to do in order to provide the best care I could for my patients. But slowly, I realised I can do this. I have learnt not to be so hard on myself and as long as I do my best and ensure my patients are safe, that’s all that matters. As a lot of the nurses on my ward say “It’s 24 hour care and if you need to pass a job onto the next nurse… that’s fine” which I do still struggle with, I have to admit! But the great thing about nursing is, you all work as one team and have the patients best interests at heart 🙂
However, I was not alone. I’m very lucky I’ve started on the ward with an incredible set of newly qualified nurses and we’ve become like a little family. It is so comforting to know there are other people who are feeling how you are and you can go to each other for support. In saying that, I am so lucky to be part of an incredible team of nurses on the ward I work on who are so supportive and at the end of the day, everyone has to start somewhere and every nurse has been newly qualified at some point. So my biggest piece of advice is whether you’re a first year, second year, third year student nurse, newly qualified yourself or haven’t started your training yet – don’t ever be afraid to ask silly questions, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and don’t ever be afraid to say “I don’t know” because the great thing about nursing is, you’re always learning and developing.
Anyway! Onto the more positive end of my job. I’m learning new skills every day. I was signed off as competent to administer oral medications two weeks after starting, signed off as IV (Intravenous) medication competent after two months and I have just been signed off as tracheostomy, blood sampling and central line competent. But don’t let that fool ya, I still ask a million questions every day and I’m still working on my confidence as a registered nurse. I have been able to work with students and try to be the role model I would have wanted to work with as a student. I have been able to expand my knowledge of neurology, neurosurgical and craniofacial conditions and learnt how to tailor my nursing care to meet the needs of these patients. However, on occasion, I have moved wards for a few shifts to new specialities which boosted my confidence as it showed despite working in Neurosciences, I can apply my nursing knowledge to different specialities and provide excellent patient care. I have been given so many amazing opportunities to learn and develop and I am very excited for that to continue.
I have been privileged to work and care for some amazing children and their families and believe me – many of them have taught me a lot more about nursing than many books have over the last 3 years! It never fails to amaze me the power of children’s resilience and the pride it gives me caring for them in their most vulnerable moments.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days where shifts are hectic and I have moments of self doubt. At the end of the day, I still have a mountain to climb and so much experience to gain. But thing’s are getting better and I’m excited at the nurse I am developing into.
I suppose my biggest piece of advice is, no matter how hard things get or if you find that self doubt creeping in – take a step back, breathe and think to yourself “I can do this, I’m going to make an incredible nurse” because you will. And when that patient or family member appreciates the work you do and tells you thank you for the excellent way you’ve looked after me, it makes it all worth it.
In my next blog post, I’ll have officially graduated from City, University of London 🙂 But don’t worry, I’ll still be around to fill you in on life as a registered children’s nurse…. Happy nursing.