And so the end is near…..

So I thought it was about time to get back into the old creative writing spirit. My studies have flown past and it feels like only yesterday we were sitting in front of the lecturing team telling us;

You will blink and it will be yourselves graduating.

Well as hard a pill to swallow as it is, they were right! The last three years have been some of the most stressful and emotionally difficult on both an academic and personal level. They have also been some of the most interesting and growth filled, helping myself to evolve into the person and nearly qualified practitioner I am today.

I have been very pleased to have done as good as I have this year so far, as it just shows hard work does pay off in the end. I have had some brilliant opportunities during my time studying including, getting an article based on my work with individuals with dementia published in the university magazine. I have also been part of some exciting student forums and have just been chosen to represent my year within a new student forum, this one being chaired by the chief nursing officer. I feel this one will be a good opportunity with the other students to provide feedback of the nursing education system, to those higher up and be able to influence things for the better.

I think my biggest bit of advice on reflection that I could give to individuals just starting out within their degree is, get as much experience of these things as possible. They will not only help you to progress within your position as a student nurse but can also provide opportunities to improve things for yourself and others within nursing. It also has given me and hopefully will provide you with a deeper understanding of the other aspects of nursing, out with the actual patient care part. Oh and make the most of your time as a student! I cannot believe that by the end of August I will be the one in charge of a caseload myself, with no student safety net around me. The buck stops with you when that PIN comes through the door.

Don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to getting out there and starting my career. The plan at present is to focus on obtaining that band 5 position and from there I will do my masters in dementia and international policy, with that and a good number of years of clinical experience I will reach that goal of becoming a dementia nursing consultant.

I will leave you all with the below image, which I feel sums up the privileged position ourselves as nurses/ student nurses have within other’s lives.

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Ups and downs

My last post on here was pertaining to the looming job fair in Glasgow, I attended and was met with some positive feedback and offers, I was also met by some rudeness from certain stalls which I won’t name out of professionalism on my part.  Overall it was a good insight into what is out there for me when I qualify next year.  

So what is currently happening in your trustmeimastudentnurse writer’s life, well if I am honest it feels like not a lot yet things still seem to be piling up. I am once again class representative and have rejoined the nursing fundraising society, if you get the chance to do things out with your studies take them after all any experience helps when you are sitting there against others for the same job. 

I have been feeling so low in motivation the past few months, add to this dealing with my anxiety/mood issues it has not been easy to keep on top of things. I am finally feeling like I am getting there though and have things under control. It is interesting when you are studying in this field you become so much more aware of reactions by others to you having such issues. Some of those who are supposed to be the ones who are educated in understanding and compassion are not always the ones who are the most accepting.

I am starting to feel so unsupported within my studies due to the current academic semester being heavily based upon increased online working and reduced face to face time.  I get they are supposed to be starting to cut the support cords on us but I think there should be more support given at present as I know I am not the only one in my year across the branches that feels this way.  

Instead of ending on humour as I usually do I though I would end on something a bit more personal to myself.  I am currently writing one of my assignments on the effectiveness of music therapy within dementia care. If you are a regular reading of this blog you will know that I am heavily involved within music and reminiscence therapy through my volunteering with Alzhiemers Scotland. In fitting with this I wanted to leave a recording of the musical minds when they played their Christmas single last year in Edinburgh.  Enjoy and as always comments are encouraged. 

 

 

 

 

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Two pages to rule your life.

If you are anything like me you have typed up your fair share of CVs in the past and done the rounds of the businesses local to you in order to find a job, countless hours emailing and putting them in envelopes to be posted away.  Well I have never felt so terrified of my CV in my life as do now,  I am attending a nursing job event this month and the thought of two pages pretty much ruling your future is a terrifying thought! Two pieces of paper have never been more important to me until now, 

It got me thinking though how much help is out there for final year students and also recent graduates with CVs and getting a job. I have had a quick look and the RCN seems to have a pretty good employment area regarding such things as does the nursing times. I suppose though the best way to get good feedback is to possibly ask a ward manager or team leader when on placement if they have time to would they check over the CV for you or indeed ask one of the lecturing staff / academic advisor to do the same.  A bit of advice to anyone just starting out in nursing or in second year, get your portfolios in check the earliest you can cause believe me it makes it so much easier when you get to this stage and you can just take things out or add things in without having to organise the whole thing.  I have found my portfolio to be really useful in helping me identify areas that I may lack in and as a result I have been able to action plan it and discuss with my mentor in placement leading to me getting to spend a day somewhere or at least talk to someone within the area. Use this time to build up as wide a knowledge base as you can within your placements and studies cause it will help when you get to third year and eventually qualify in whatever branch of nursing you are studying. 

On a more personal note relating to my studies though,the fortnight has just finished of my final year and so far so good. I can already see the modules I am going to enjoy and hopefully do well in and the ones that I already do no like and will have to work harder in as a result of this disengagement.  Assignments are all marked on the calender and the ideas have started running around my head for possible topics. As ever organisation is the key to getting things done and being able to juggle working and studying at the same time, you can NEVER be to organised when it comes to being a student nurse! 

 

In the usual fashion of this blog let us end on a bit of humour this time in honour of Grant and I getting our two wee fish. 

 

 

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Nurse Down!

So the first day of the final year is looming, Monday will see the start of the final steps of student nurse turning into staff nurse. The magnitude of qualifying next year has not really hit me in quite the way I expected yet, I am aware of it but at present I have been so wrapped up with other things in my life that it has not really sunk in yet. In other words I haven’t had the full on “HELP I am going to be qualified next year!” moment.

During my time off from university stresses something unexpected has happened which had the ability to really hinder my future career as well as pose certain difficulties within my current job as a community carer. So while others have been enjoying the time off university and catching up on some much needed social time with others or if I know most student nurses catching up on their sleep or trying to earn more cash by upping their hours at work, your confessions of a student nurse author has instead been seeing a physiotherapist for the last couple of months.  That’s right ladies and gentleman after years of working the care profession my back has decided to act up and be a total git! I awoke on a Friday with a tinge thinking nothing of it I got on with my day, I was working a late shift at my work it did start to get a bit sorer as the day went on but as a typical health care worker I took two pain killers and got on with it. On the Saturday it was still rather painful but I battered through but on log rolling someone at the end of my morning shift, my back decided it had enough and I can tell you I have never been in so much pain in all my life!  Sciatic pain is literally the worst thing I have ever experienced, so after umpteen physiotherapist visits and being twisted in positions I didn’t think my back could go it was cracked back in place and the relief was unbelievable.  Unfortunately since Monday all has not been so good, the pain is back and now residing in my left hip and on consultation with the physiotherapist I have been diagnosed with a rotated pelvis.  Thankfully that has been clicked back into place and although the pain today is pretty bad I am hoping it will die down before Monday for university and my return to work on Thursday.

This situation has made me realise how much we need to as not just nurses but all health care professionals be fit for our jobs. When moving patients about we need to be strong enough to do so, in order to prevent injuries it is not just about the technique used.  This thing with my back is going to be an ongoing thing until I am able to get to the strength level needed and improve my core muscles enough.  Just goes to show no matter how young or fit you are (I am only 24) things like this can happen to you.

With a new batch of student nurses starting this month as well I think it is really important that we all know our limitations in practice when moving and handling, and work within them in order to prevent injury. After all we don’t want to look this in a few years’ time do we?

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The End…..

                                             

 

After 15 weeks of sleep deprived nights, exhaustion, stress and so many new things to learn that it could make your head explode placement is finally finished.  As well as placement we have received our final set of results for second year and I am happy to report this student nurse is on her way to 3rd year.

Reflecting back on the past 15 weeks I can see that I have definitely improved within my nursing skills.  Especially when it comes to my knowledge of medication and my injection techniques specifically intramuscular.  I have also learnt a great deal more about the different medical conditions and the most appropriate nursing interventions for each.  All in all this placement within acute admissions/ ARBD team has really been the turning point in my training, it has made me more confident in my nursing ability on the lead up to starting my final year in September.

A piece of advice I would give to nursing students reading this no matter what stage of training you are at is one my mentor gave me;

You are never going to know everything and the day you think you do is the day you will make a mistake.

Nursing is one of those professions that you are constantly learning new things in and will continue to with each person you care for or professional you work with. I think that is the beauty of working in such an environment, an example of this would be the amount of information I ended up learning from just speaking to those health care professionals that came into the ward all the time such as dieticians, OTs, junior doctors, consultant, RT staff and even workers from advocacy/ external services. It gives you a new perspective on the work you are doing with patients in the ward and alters the way you think about them and your approach to their care.

I am extremely excited and if I am honest a tad terrified that this time next year I will be finishing my training and hopefully secured my first nursing job.  It definitely does fly past sooner than I ever thought it would. So it is time for those grey tunics to be hidden from the light of day in a drawer till the next placement and for myself to stop hiding from the light of day and enjoy what is left of this wonderful Scottish summer before I need to retreat back into the domain of the university library.  

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I can see the finish line!

Well things have been needless to say hectic since the last blog post on here. I finished up my two week stint with the ARBD team and went to Finland for a week,  I am now back within the hub placement at the hospital.

So my two weeks with the ARBD team were extremely interesting, this being my first taste of both community mental health nursing and addiction services. I had come across patients in my previous placements who had addictions issues but never actually had a placement within this area. I was admittedly a bit dubious before I went but my mind was soon changed when I spent time with the team and met some of the service users. It was an eye opening experience and I now feel I am better equipt to deal with someone who may be presenting with ARBD.

Now on to Finland, the reason I mention it within this blog is because even though it was a holiday it is an interesting country in regards mental health and in particular alcohol addiction/abuse. I was visiting the country with my friend and staying with her dad and step mum. While speaking to her step mum who is a Fin she said in regards to alcohol there is a heavy drinking culture and there had been research papers written about the effects it has on the abuse levels. So I have found such an article which can be read here.

Another interesting thing they do in Finland to tackle such abuse is that you have to buy your alcohol if stronger than 4,7% from special alcohol stores called ALKO  like the one below which I found in the centre of Helsinki which are Government ran, unlike in the UK where you can buy it almost anywhere.  I wonder if something like this would encourage a reduction in our alcohol abuse statistics in this country, but I doubt our Government would every do such a thing fearing the backlash from the corporations.  I also heard of such a thing as a card you had to show within the store and if you were known to have alcohol issues but I couldn’t find anything to back that up as of yet. If I do I will post about it on here. 

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I would advise anyone if they have an interest in mental health look into Finland as they have some really interesting things there in relation to it,  as well as being an absolutely beautiful country to visit as well.  Also read into addictions as it is an area which you will come across in many presentations within your placements and future practice, it is always good to have a basic knowledge in as well as other areas.

On a final note I am just currently completing the last ever bit of coursework of second year and the last 5 weeks of my placement. After that come September I will be in my final year and to make it even more terrifiying this time next year I will a 5 weeks away from being a qualified RMN, let the final hurdles be tackled!

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A summer within four walls

So I am currently on my fifth day within this new placement, and I have to say I have settled in quicker than any other placement except my last one within care of the elderly. I am not sure if it is because I am becoming more comfortable within my skills as a nurse or if it is just that I am so used to working within healthcare now that it has become second nature within any environment, either way it was a surprise to me. I usually take about a week at least to get used to a placement and the patients but on this one it seems to come really quickly, although I am still learning some of the patients names and spend most of yesterday delving into their care plans and getting to know their medical situation more. That is one thing I found throughout my nursing training, you can find all sorts of things within someones notes sometimes the things some have been through can be quite shocking. Once I read about something that just showed that stigma against mental illness is still rife within our society no matter how much we deny it, really saddening to read it and even more so when you remember that it happened to that person you have had countless conversations with in the day room.

I am currently within an acute area ward and it came as quite a shock to the system. I haven’t been within an acute ward since my first year and it has really cemented the truth that it is not an area I want to work in. Nothing negative to do with the staff as they are all brilliant and have supported myself and my fellow students since we got here but I miss the contact you get within dementia care, within this ward everyone is totally independent and are out on pass or time out. You can converse with them and listen to their stories which even though I have only been in since Monday have fascinated me so far, but I do miss my oldies though. I suppose everyone has their chosen areas and for me it is not acute mental health wards it is over 65 organic/ dementia care.

I am getting to go to the depot clinics though within this placement which I am really excited about since I have not had the opportunity within my previous placements to practice my IM injection techniques. Something I was really worried about since next year will be my final year and I did not want to qualify within being adequate in administering them. A word of advice to students take advantage of all learning opportunities during your training and even if you have seen something before go see it again, I am getting to see ECT for the second time. I wonder if this time it may change my mind about it since although it can have amazing results for people I still find the idea of it horrible.

Anyway so far so good on this placement bring on the rest of it 🙂

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