As a final year student nurse, I’ve been through the lot. From staying up all night cramming and writing essays, to working three 12.5-hour night shifts and then a day shift two days later, I’ve done it all.
Nursing is an exceptional profession. I would encourage anyone to get into it! However here are some things I wish I’d known before I started:
1. Don’t compare yourself to other students.
While others are going out and getting wasted, you’ll probably be sleeping because you’re on a shift tomorrow or leaving for a night shift.
2. You’re going to be exhausted. A lot.
You’ll be expected to balance university life (exams, essays and everything that comes with them) with a full-time job (which you don’t even get paid for).
3. Self-care is important!
Find people to check in on, and let others check in on you. Nursing is so emotional that you’ll definitely need to be looked after, so rest and do things you enjoy!
4. You’re going to make a huge difference.
You may not feel it, but when a patient asks, ‘are you back tomorrow?’ it shows that they’ve enjoyed having you as their nurse and want you to come back!
5. You will see things that aren’t fair, and plenty of things you don’t agree with.
Why is this woman having a second miscarriage? Why does this 23year old have cancer? Other staff are very supportive, so use them. Chances are, they’re thinking the same thing and experiencing the same difficulty!
6. Prep those meals; you’re gonna be broke!
It’s so easy to just pop to the shops and buy something, but when you pay to get to placement and back, sometimes you just cannot afford it. Meal prep does wonders, and usually, hospitals, or wherever else you might be on placement, will have microwaves available, so use them!
7. Hang in there!
There will be moments when you want to quit: you’ll get fed up, and you might feel broken, but keep on going! There’s a website called Keep Going, Student Nurse!, and it honestly has so many wonderful pick-me-ups!
8. You’re going to do so well.
All the things that may worry you in first year, you will be able to do with your eyes shut in third year. So just stay calm and keep on going, you will get there!
9. You’re not going to enjoy all your placements, and you won’t get along with everyone.
You’ll forced onto each new ward for 6 weeks or so, so just stick with it; it’ll all be over before you know it. By the end of it, you might even be sad to leave!
10. You’ll be so glad you picked nursing.
Seeing the difference that you can make to a person’s life is extraordinary. So, cherish every moment and treat everyone with dignity, respect and kindness. It’ll all come back to you, trust me.