On Wednesday 2nd September (8pm-9pm UK time) @EBNursingBMJ is co-hosting a twitter chat on student nursing and midwifery with @RCNStudents
To celebrate the contributions our student nurses/midwives make – we are sharing blogs of their experiences in practice. Today’s blog is from Katie Eckert, a third year student nurse from the University of Derby
Before I started nursing I was a security officer who occasionally completed an Open University course to keep me busy. Matt, my husband, always told me “you would make a good nurse” and I would laugh the statement off. Don’t tell him but little did I know a couple of years on I would be following his advice and be about to commence my third year of studying. Although I had done Health Care Assistant work for a year before starting my course I still had no idea what to expect. University was very much the same as the Open University course apart from the fact that I actually went to a University for lectures. In the first year we learnt a lot of the “basics” in nursing around clinical skill and the government bodies that we needed to be aware of etc. Until our first placements were announced I hadn’t really given it much thought. I had been allocated a local district nursing team for my first year which both excited me and scared me. So my first day came and with my uniform perfectly pressed and shoes polished I found myself ushered into a small office in a clinic full of nurses in royal blue. I sat in the corner and watched trying to take as much as I could in so I could impress my new mentor. When the office cleared we focused on my paperwork that I needed to get signed off. This included an interview to identify goals. Then she said “Why do you want to be a nurse?” Now I had prepared answers for the obvious questions like, “Where do you live?” “Have you any children?” “What year of study are you in?” but this totally threw me. I couldn’t sit there and say “Because my husband thought I might be good at it” so I quickly responded with “I want to help people”. To this day I haven’t got a clue if she believed me or not as she simply carried on with the paperwork. The truth was, of course I wanted to help people, but at the same time I really wasn’t sure. I never dreamed I would get onto the nursing course so when I did it was a bit of a whirlwind and I hadn’t sat back and thought about how I felt about it all.
During my second year I have continued to develop my clinical skills and learn a lot more about myself and how I manage situations on a busy Emergency Management Unit in a local trust. I am sure you can appreciate the new fear I felt when I learnt that this would be my second placement, what a jump from district nursing to emergency nursing. During this year I have faced many challenges, from the increasing difficulty of University work, to the higher expectations of my clinical skills as a second year student nurse. However, it has not put me off progressing into third year. If anything I have a huge desire to see where third year takes me.
If my first year mentor was to ask me the same question again now that I have completed 2 years of study, with the experiences I now have, I wouldn’t give the same answer. Of course I want to help people – but I have learnt that being a nurse is much more than that. I want to fulfil my desire to learn so as I can help positively change people’s lives. I want to develop as an individual and challenge myself on a daily basis. Now in my third year of nursing I am realising that Nursing is more than a career choice – it’s a way of life for me and my husband, who I have to say has been very supportive. This journey is far from over and I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges it is throwing at me and can’t wait to see where the journey will take me once I finish my degree next year.
Katie Eckert StN @KatieEckertStN