All student nurses you will be familiar with the 6 C’s, the areas which the Francis report said nursing should concentrate upon. To be able to look after others though us student nurses must treat ourselves with those same 6 C’s that we afford our patients. This blog post is about how we can use those aspects of nursing we practice for others daily to get ourselves through the three gruelling years of nurse training.
1. Care; easy for me to say with no immediate deadlines at the moment but take care of yourself, eat and drink enough and not just energy drinks they won’t sustain you to write the essay you are capable of writing. Enjoy your time at university, have fun but remember that nursing isn’t your average degree and you will struggle to work a long shift if you are burning the candle at both ends.
2. Compassion: We must show compassion to ourselves, to pat ourselves on the back for our achievements rather than simply berating ourselves for leaving our academic work too late or not knowing the answer to a mentors question. Being a student nurse is tough and we need to allow ourselves time to reflect upon the job we do and be proud of ourselves.
3. Competence; Sometimes when still studying at 2am it seems hard to remember why you are doing this course of study but you are doing it because you are good at it. You are going to be a nurse because you felt the vocation to do that, lets face it none of us are entering nursing for the fabulous salary are we? Developing confidence in your competence is something which will happen naturally over the three years you are at university so try not to worry, skills develop over time. I can’t believe how much more confident I feel in third year than in first and second year, its like all the pieces of the jigsaw are starting to fall together finally.
4. Communication; Talk to everyone and anyone, network, tweet, speak to your mentor in practice and your tutors at university. Absorb their knowledge like a sponge. Use twitter to help you keep up to date with developments and current ideas, this will enable you to join in conversations as a knowledgeable professional and will ensure you are prepared without having to cram before interviews as that time comes around faster than you can possibly comprehend.
5. Courage; Be brave and ask questions, don’t let fear stand in the way of an enquiring mind. Before long you will be a professional required to use your judgement everyday so getting into that mind-set now will inevitable help that transition.
6. Commitment; this one goes without saying! I am a mature student nurse and have been through uni before but wow this has taken a higher level of commitment to stick at whilst still trying to be a mother, a wife and all the other roles I have in life. My finances will take years to recover and I am not sure my stress levels will ever return to pre-student nurse days but even after a long 13 hour shift on a ward I head home buzzing knowing that I have found my niche and that my commitment to nursing is 110%
So that in essence is my advice for you during your time as a student nurse, take care of yourself and enjoy it. Enjoy being supernumerary and being able to use this to visit areas and view procedures you may not find it so easy to access once qualified. Question things, take an interest in health politics and have opinions. Enjoy developing as a person and as a nurse whilst looking forward to a hopefully long and satisfying career which can take you all over the world if this is what you want. Me? I just want to be in employment again, to be able to afford to take my daughter out without wondering if I will still have enough money for milk and bus fares at the end of the week. I feel ready to finish now but the three years have flown over and I have loved every moment.
My confidence has grown and my knowledge base has grown, when I receive my NMC pin later this year I know I will deserve it as I have worked so hard with every sleepless night and bead of perspiration having gone into that qualification.