Reflections on being a S.T.U.D.E.N.T
I have now been a registered (adult) nurse for just under two years, and find myself looking back on my time as a student nurse (StN) very fondly, and with great pride. It is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure, what with trying to constantly balance the course workload, placement and attempting to have a social life too. Look at your time as a student nurse as ideal practice to ready you for a career in the nursing profession. Balance good time management and prioritising the needs and requirements of your patients; as a nurse you’ll need to practice having this ‘homeostasis’ in your work ethic. It’s very similar to juggling, you must be attuned to your abilities and have good self awareness. This allows you to focus on what’s important in that moment. This will shape you into a great organizer.
I have, I had, and will continue to go through phases of ‘imposter syndrome’; this is just natural in our line of work. One day you’ll think ‘I can’t do this anymore, I’m not good enough’ and the next day you’ll think ‘I was made for this.’ You’re allowed to feel both ways. This will aid you in becoming a better nurse, always learning and recognising your own limits.
S is for self-care
The number one rule for getting through your nursing training and life as a nurse is good self-care – if you are not looking after yourself, how can you expect to look after others?
T is for time
Balance is the key! Finding time for yourself in a career in nursing can be challenging, so make sure you fit in time for family and friends around your placements, coursework and revision. If you feel you are struggling – tell someone, talking about it doesn’t make you a lesser person, it means you’re brave enough to do something about it. Support is available if you need it.
U is for utilise
As a nursing student you will have many opportunities to engage with different aspects of the profession, so make sure you use them. This will stretch into your career too, you will have opportunities you just need to take ownership and seek them out for yourself. From clinical skills to publishing articles and travelling to conferences and engaging in politics, the list is endless. Make the most of your nursing career and explore as much as you can.
D is for doubt
It is inevitable that you will stumble and experience self-doubt, but this can be a good thing. It will help improve your practice and self-development in an ever-changing profession. By embracing the challenge when things go wrong, we grow and become stronger from our mistakes.
E is for exercise
As a nurse it can be easy to lose sight of your own needs in terms of health and well-being. Try to take regular exercise and eat a well-balanced diet. It’s so hard to ignore those chocolates at the nurses station – why not change the narrative and bring in a fruit basket for your team.
N is for nurture
It is important for you to be nurtured in your learning, no matter how long you’ve been in the profession, we all have mentors throughout our careers. Please remember that you also have a responsibility to help your peers and nursing colleagues as well. Look out for each other and learn from each other – we can all learn something new from others’ expertise and experiences.
T is for trust
Building trusting relationships with your fellow nursing colleagues, academics and mentors is vital. Always practicing honestly and integrity will put you on the right path and help you stay on it.
Charlotte Jakab-Hall is a Chief Nurse Junior Fellow and Safe Care Sister at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She qualified as a Registered Nurse (Adult) in 2018 and has worked in healthcare for over 10 years in various settings and roles. Charlotte is also the founder of @BloggersNurse, and is helping to deliver the #NurseBloggers2020 challenge for the year of the nurse and midwife.