My name is Anna and I am currently a second year Student Nurse, adult branch. I am now officially over half way through my degree! I have wanted to start a blog for a while now to share my experiences and journey to becoming a qualified nurse.
I started my training in September 2017 after finishing my A Levels and jumped straight into two assignments. I quickly learnt that this course would require hard work and commitment from day one. Year One for me consisted of two assignments, a presentation, an anatomy and physiology exam, a medication calculation exam, two interdisciplinary learning days, three OSCEs and two placements. All of a sudden I had to figure out how to juggle the high demands of being a student nurse, spending time with family and friends, working a part time job and squeezing in some much needed ‘me time’ with only six weeks off a year.
I go on two placements a year; completing a total of 2,300 practice hours across the three years. So far I have spent twelve weeks at a dementia specialist nursing home, eight weeks in theatre at a private hospital and seven weeks on an acute medical unit.
Personally I found the first week of my placements in first year scary! It’s like starting a new job every three months. You have to quickly adapt to a new environment, learn people’s names, find out where things are and you really have to hit the ground running because as soon as you walk in you are working as part of a team and being assessed.
I initially thought placements would mean a break from academic writing, however, I have to complete an online portfolio including learning outcomes, reflections and new skills I have learnt in practice. I can go on Spoke days to enhance my practice experiences. I have spent days in a GP surgery with the Practice Nurses, in the Minor Injuries and Resus departments of Accident and Emergency, the Special Care Baby Unit and with the Community Psychiatric Nurses. I don’t just work Monday to Friday, I work weekends and bank holidays (I am yet to work the dreaded night shift!). Placements can be quite consuming, often working 12.5 hour shifts. That means coming home, eating, making my lunch for the next day, showering and straight to bed.
It’s hard but I love and am proud of what I’m achieving. Each challenging situation is matched with an amazing experience that makes those hard days so worth it, but I am also constantly reminded that a tough day for me is nothing compared to what many of my patients are going through.
In my next post I’ll cover my motivations for becoming a Nurse, talk about some of my experiences and go into more depth about the demands and daily life of a Student Nurse!