Getting to know you, getting to know me…

I thought I would do a very personal blog. Mainly because, as health professionals we know our patients inside out. But do they know us? Really know us? We know everything about our patients’ history, we know where they live, who they live with, medical history, what they ate for breakfast, what type of faeces they had that day or last week even (all depending on what area you work in). We never take the time to sit and let them get to know us, because we physically don’t have the time sadly. Everyone is focused on making the patient better, which is priority of course. As a student nurse, I am quite lucky to have the time to talk to patients, spend that extra moment with them building that rapport with them. However, even this isn’t long enough. It is important (in my opinion) for the patient to get to know you, as a health professional as it builds a good rapport with them. It will enable the patient to trust the care they are receiving from you.

So, I shall start with why I wanted to become a nurse. I can’t lie and say I was born wanting to be a nurse. However, there are things that lead me to where my passion lies today. The first thing was; I was 7 years old and I watched my grandad die at home of cancer. I was young and had no idea what was going on. I watched the district nurses come and go and I admired them. The second step was; I was 15 years old and my nan had terminal cancer, she didn’t chose to die at home, she passed away in hospital. My nan had brought me up from the age of 2, which is a whole new blog completely. But my nan had become my mother and it was hard to see her sick. I chose to ignore the awful disease and any reality surrounding it, I blocked it out. I spent time with my friends to avoid it all. Sadly, she passed away on Boxing day (which I now make a celebration day, a happy time and a happy memory for my nan). It was hard not being able to help, not being able to make her better, not being able to look after her or have the knowledge to do so. I needed to do something with my life to help others. I just didn’t know what or how. Nursing didn’t enter my head as I didn’t think I was smart enough, I didn’t think I was capable of being a nurse.  I never saw nursing as something I could do when I was younger, I saw it as a high profession and that you had to be well educated and extremely clever to go into it. I am not saying it’s not all those things, but this was something I was not. I was just me.. A simple girl with a simple life and not what I would class as a great education. I went to regular school with regular friends. I did go on and realise that anyone can be a nurse, or anything you want to be in life if you work hard at it.

I had ZERO idea what I wanted to do when I left school. Growing up I had a little post office, I loved stamping things and scanning things haha. But my first real job, was working in hospitality. I got a waitressing job at a hotel. I hated it, I take my hat off to anyone who is a waitress / waiter. The tips were lovely, but the job itself was tough! I moved from waitressing to housekeeping, which was one of my favourite jobs. I used to put the radio on and dance around whilst making beds and cleaning the rooms; loving life. I eventually just wanted a complete change, I didn’t know what to do. After looking around, I found a care assistant job in a residential home for the elderly. The year was 2005 and this is the year I found my passion for nursing. I fell in love with elderly care. I sat with the district nurses whilst they dressed ulcers and wounds and knew I wanted to become a nurse. I wanted to be that nurse who helped so many people every day, making a difference to someone’s life. The problem was, I left school with terrible GCSE results. B – art C for French and D’s and E’s for the rest… I didn’t think I could ever do the nursing course. I didn’t have the confidence to do it either. Until one day, I was working with another care assistant and she told me she was going to do her nursing diploma (when they still had the diploma). This girl wasn’t someone from a high educated background and she didn’t even know how to boil an egg!? So, I thought;

“if she can do this, so can I.”

I enquired about the diploma and what I would need to get onto the course, back then you could get onto the diploma with NVQ level 3. I had nothing. So, I went and got my English and Maths qualifications, completed my NVQ level 2 in health and social care. I then went to work with adults with learning disabilities as a team leader, I could then complete my NVQ level 3. I was ready to apply for the course yay!

The government have decided to pull all the diplomas out. Everyone will now have to complete the degree to become a nurse.

“Wow” all my hard work and trying to get onto this diploma has not paid off for me. I then had to call up and see what qualifications I needed to get onto the degree course. A level’s or equivalent… Here we go again; I don’t have those. I started my access course in 2010 and finally completed it and started my degree in October 2011. But sadly, I could only complete a few months of the degree and had to withdraw from university and move away. I had a lot going on and to top it off my so called ‘best friend’ had kicked me out over an argument about rent. She knew I had zero money and nowhere to live. I had to move back in with my mum, who lived in Milton Keynes at the time but in the middle of moving to Suffolk! So, I commuted from Milton Keynes to Birmingham every day for my placement; trying to do the best I can. However, I was slowly going overdrawn and it was draining me, emotionally. I took the decision to withdraw from university, I couldn’t do it anymore and was far too proud to ask for help (a mistake I will never make again). I moved to Suffolk and went back into a care home for the elderly but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to be a qualified nurse, it is what I had worked so hard for and nothing was stopping my dream. I applied for university in Ipswich and was rejected. I tried for a few years to get back into university but my confidence had completely gone. I’d become a quiet and unconfident being. I had my first interview back in Birmingham, and I was asked ‘what are 2 of the 6 C’s and how would you explain them’ a question I will never forget… My mind went blank, I said one and completely forgot the rest.  I knew when I walked out that room, I didn’t get the spot and I was right. But this didn’t stop me, I applied straight away again for the following year. LUCKILY, I was prepared, I had practiced and got in yay! Which brings me here today.

It has taken me a long road to get here, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I would be a completely different nurse today if I had completed that diploma back then, or the degree back in 2011. Those were not my years. Now, is exactly the year and place I am supposed to be. My advice to other people, always ask for help! If you’re struggling, please don’t suffer alone. Never be too proud to ask for help. Whatever dream you may have in this life; GO FOR IT. Because anything is possible if you work hard at it. I have come so far to be here and grown stronger each minute. My confidence is growing and I can feel a change in myself for the better. It was only the other day my work colleague said to me “Claire, since this course, you can really see the confidence is coming out in you.” This made me so proud. I wouldn’t change any part of my history for the world. I only want to change that we allow patients into our history to create a better future.

 

care

Google Image: Care (2017)

 

 

About

34 years old and finally achieving my dream of becoming a nurse.

6 Comments

  • C.E.Robinson December 16, 2017 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Claire, your personal story will inspire other nurses to keep going in spite of setbacks. I now know you live in England. I went to a 3 year diploma school in th US back in 1957-60 to be an RN. Then in later years completed the BSN, MSN, and Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program. As a board certified NP I worked in Psychiatry. I would encourage nurses to get help (student loans, etc) to go as far as they want in nursing. It has many rewards! I loved nursing. As a 5 year old I told everyone I was going to be a nurse someday!! And I did! 🎉 Christine

    • DiaryOfTheStudentNurse December 17, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply

      I really hope so, thank you! I love to encourage others on my course who are struggling, I like to bring the passion back and motivate people to keep going. It’s a tough course but the end results will be so worth it all.
      I would love to see how the courses compare between US and UK, I bet there is so much to learn from each country. Do you have 50% Practical and 50% Theory out there like us?
      I am so glad you did your nursing, especially after knowing from the age of 5! That is amazing to hear 🙂 Claire

      • C.E.Robinson December 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm Reply

        Thanks, Claire, for your comment. I can read the passion for nursing in your words. Back in my US nursing days (1957-60) the practical percent was higher than theory. We worked on the hospital units from day one, had no vacations for the three year diploma program. The docs wanted to work with the diploma students more than the degree ones. We had so much more practical experience. I thought it was the best experience to assist docs in the operating room & the emergency suite. We were allowed to suture, etc., under supervision of course. Today none of that is allowed in hospitals due to policies & liability. Love remembering my nursing days. Enjoy following your nursing path. Merry Christmas! 🎄🎄🎄Christine

        • DiaryOfTheStudentNurse December 17, 2017 at 8:29 pm Reply

          Oh wow! You could suture?! That’s amazing. I would love to be able to do that. There are a lot of restrictions now sadly. It’s really good that the doctors wanted to work with the diploma students too! Must of been such a great experience back then. Sounds marvellous to me anyway haha. Keep those memories alive 🙂 Thank you Christine. Merry Christmas to you

  • Anonymous December 4, 2017 at 12:05 am Reply

    Oooo Claire, your story has inspired me. I find it so hard to ask for help as I feel I’m bugging people. I will take your expound board, thank you. You keep pushing and let’s finish this degree. 😘

    • DiaryOfTheStudentNurse December 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm Reply

      Thank you!! I’m so glad it’s inspired someone 🙂
      It is so hard to ask for help! I know it is. But you HAVE to. Everyone in this life needs help at some point so we need to take the opportunity to get help when we can. Never feel like you are bugging anyone, bug away until you get the help you want. Someone will listen to you. Just don’t turn down the help when it comes 🙂 take it all.

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