3rd Year Student Nurse Essays

This is probably going to be my longest post for Explore yet!

Although the life of a student nurse has “no rest for the wicked”, I have some time off now to reflect on my time at uni so far…

Looking back on it now, it seems amazing to think that I am in my last semester. I wonder at how I have passed so far at all…with relief. From the very first day of 8-6 lectures, my first laboratory dissection of an animal lung and the very first time I gave an injection, it all seems a little blurry.  Three years have gone so fast…

With about 7 clinical practicals (pracs) under my belt and some clinical experiences in a few wards, I am still nervous about graduating at the end of this year. In less than a few months, I will no longer be the ‘student nurse’ but an RN (Registered Nurse) and it does kind of scare me!

Over my time, I have done pracs in rehabilitation, vascular, mental health, urology, endocrine, community and I’ll soon go on to another two pracs before the year is up. They have been all interesting in their own ways. Rehab, with a lot of patients from nursing homes who need help with basic activities such as walking and showering (and a lot of manual handling with hoists, slings etc)… Vascular, with a lot of wounds. I thought wounds would gross me out, but no!

I remember a client who had Compartments syndrome on his whole leg and his wound was down to the bone! Every time his heart beat, you could see small flecks of blood coming out and muscle twitching. Gory, but interesting. It was my first time seeing a Vac dressing being done by an experienced nurse and I was amazed. In case you don’t know what a Vac dressing is, or you’re medically inclined, check out the video below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88XHwSty9jw

Mental health was slightly draining but all the nurses I worked with were passionate, kind and helped you get though… Urology saw a lot of cases of prostrate cancer, tumours or prostrate surgery reductions and I remember the first time I assisted with catheter insertions and watched bladder irrigations… Endocrine with diabetic medications and intravenous antibodies… Boy! Going back to that was a challenge, as I had a 6-7 month break between previous pracs… I could go on and on about all the stuff I have been able to learn and have seen during my time as a student.

Although these are only a few of the places I have been, I realise there is a lot more I have not seen and I cannot wait to increase my knowledge and clinical experience when I become an RN. I am beginning to find some routines and know my way around things, but every time I do something procedural I still get a little nervous. I suppose confidence comes with time…

So many things are and have been happening, and this year is coming to an end quite quickly.  Soon I will go on another prac, but at the moment the library is starting to feel like a second home to me. I have even had dinner there on a few occasions!

I am relieved to believe that I have nearly finished my degree without one cup of coffee and only a handful of all nighters… Considering how much I am always on campus, I am surprised I don’t have my own ‘private area’, study sign and all. Haha 🙂

Right now, I’m busy with several essays and applying for graduate jobs. But I am  also looking forward to attending another CLEIMS  scenario workshop down at the new Griffith University Health Centre with other health students. The CLEIMS is a great experience  as you get to interact with scenarios, with real actors and all, with other multidisciplinary team members. It has been an eye-opener and something I definitely recommended to any second/third year students if they have the chance.

What’s it really like to study nursing? I don’t think I have been asked that question and sometimes, I don’t know how to answer. It has been stressful, yet exciting.  You have to stay positive and practice lots. A lot of time sitting and writing essays. But it is worth it in the end, you just need to hang on.

The biggest tip I would give to other nursing students would be, that when you do have some time off, make sure you get involved with uni-life. It’s easy when you’re away for weeks on end because of pracs etc, to get caught up in never-ending exams and essays; to forget about what uni has to offer. It’s a time where you meet new friends, take new opportunities and it’s something that will never be forgotten.

Even if it’s only been a short time, being a part of mentoring and Griffith Mates has really been wonderful. I have gained more friends, tried things I have never done, been able to give back, and have gained slightly more confidence (I hope). Too many nursing students, I feel, don’t get to experience these things because of the stress.  Nursing is not for the faint-hearted. It is hard, but worth it if you can keep your head above the water. There may be bad days, such as those when a patient suddenly massively bleeds and you don’t think they will last the night; to the good times, the ones who say thank you because you took the time and effort to talk to them and feeling content because you took the initiative to find things out and prevent things from deteriorating…

This has been a long reflection and  I cannot believe my time at Griffith University is coming to an end soon. One more semester to go, so for the next few weeks I will be studying hard but also having a little bit of fun, before the last push. I hope to see you all on campus for International Trivia and the Cultural Gala, before I officially leave uni, never to come back, due to 8 weeks of solid prac…

I look forward to being a 2014 Griffith graduate and can’t wait to see my other fellow nurses on the other side of that stage…

Now if I can only survive the next 3 months…

Take care, and sending all my best wishes to my fellow students…

– Larissa

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Larissa

My name is Larissa, I've just recently turned 20 and I have just recently graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing. Its 2015! Great new things are ahead.

On Wednesday 2nd September (8pm-9pm UK time) @EBNursingBMJ is co-hosting a twitter chat on student nursing and midwifery with @RCNStudents 

To celebrate the contributions our student nurses/midwives make – we are sharing blogs of their experiences in practice.  Today’s blog is from Anna Jones, a second year student nurse on the children’s branch, from the University of Leeds 

My name is Anna Jones and I am a second year student nurse. I am studying at the University of Leeds and my branch is children’s nursing. I am currently on my summer annual leave and I have to say, I’m enjoying every minute! As much as I enjoy my course, it’s a relief to have a break! To say that second year has been difficult would be an understatement. Continual deadlines whilst working on placement all year has been exhausting, but a challenge I am proud to say that I have overcome. Being a student nurse brings many challenges every day. Whether it’s completing an assignment, frantically trying to get a certain skill signed off or ironing your uniform after a twelve and a half hour shift ready for another the next day. What I would give for my own fairy god mother!

However, these challenges do not compare to the ones many patients encounter daily and I am forever putting my own life into perspective to realise how truly lucky myself and many others are to have good health. Working within the field of paediatrics is incredibly rewarding and a joy to meet and care for so many courageous children and families. The strength and resilience they have to face each day is remarkable and gives me the motivation to deliver the best care I can, because my patient’s deserve nothing less.

Like I mentioned, this year has been a tough one – I thought first year was difficult but nothing can prepare you for the jump to second year. I first worked on a day case surgical ward which I loved. Whilst the no nights and weekends were a bonus, meeting so many children and families every shift was a delight. I was able to accompany patients throughout their short stay in hospital, from their admission and the journey to the anaesthetic room to bringing them back to the ward and saying goodbye as they were discharged. Although this was a short experience for patients and their families, do not underestimate the fear and anxieties that are experienced and how valuable the role of nurses are to lend a comforting smile and words of encouragement as children prepare for their surgery.

Being a children’s nurse means delivering the upmost care to that patient, but also ensuring family centred care is encapsulated within practice because they are also on this journey, experiencing a vast range of emotions. Comforting a parent who was crying as their child had been anaesthetised and taken to surgery, having only known them for a few hours seems a bit of an awkward situation. But when you are in that role, that caring role of a nurse, you pat them on the back, lend them a shoulder to cry on or even give them a hug, all with no hesitation. Because if you cannot show that level of compassion and empathy, how can you truly fulfil your role as a nurse?

The rest of my placements this year have been based in the community, one of which was health visiting. Students often have mixed reactions about health visiting but for me it was very different to life on the ward! 9am starts was one of the best perks, an extra two hours in bed was bliss! Working 9-5 Monday to Friday was also a very different routine, and one which I actually found more tiring than 3 long days on a ward. Community placements were slightly more relaxed compared to the busy pace of a ward, but do not doubt the workload. One baby is born every forty seconds in the UK, and each one needs a health visitor. But I enjoyed the placement and an area of health care I would certainly consider further along in my career. Another placement within the community was based at a SILC school. These are Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres for children with special needs. This was a special placement for several reasons; meeting children with specialist and complex needs was so valuable as a student nurse. To see the small yet significant impact you were making on these children was endearing and a valuable learning experience for future practice. The school was also where my grandma had nursed for 20 years; I had quite literally stepped into her shoes! As you can see, nursing runs in the family…

I found that working in the community was a valuable experience to ascertain the care that is delivered outside of the hospital setting. It was also important to become aware of all the services available for children and families to ensure that you are working as part of a wider team to ensure that the care you deliver is holistic within the context of that patient. I realise I sound like I’m writing an essay but it is so important to deliver effective, person centred care. To put my job into perspective, I always try to imagine if it was my younger sister or brother being cared for which gives me the drive to deliver the care that my patients deserve. If my parents or grandparents had to go into hospital, I would want the best level of care delivered to them, as would everyone. This is why the notion of ‘person centred care’ should resonate throughout the nursing workforce and an aspect I will channel within my career. At the beginning of my nursing programme I discovered a quote by Maya Angelou that encapsulates this well within the context of nursing:

‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

I have one more placement of my second year, 4 weeks on a respiratory ward which I begin in a few weeks time. It’s been nice to relax and have some time off but I am looking forward to being thrown back into the whirlwind that is nursing. I will then continue straight into third year. My final year. With so many assignments and placements, qualifying has always seemed like a lifetime away, but now it’s only 60 weeks away (to be precise!) Am I apprehensive? Yes. I can already feel the huge weight that is third year beginning to rest on my shoulders with the prospect of dissertation and applying for jobs. Am I ready? Sometimes I’m not so sure, but I’ve got this far so there is definitely no turning back now! Am I excited with what the next few years will bring? Absolutely.

Anna Jones @AnnaJones6

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