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    11 Reviews
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      12.04.2009 00:01
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      I love being a nurse, but it's a tough job, give it some real thought if you are considering it.

      I have been a registered nurse for almost 8 years now. I began my training at 18, qualified at 21 and have never looked back. I think I always new this was what I wanted to do, my family tell me that I told everyone I wanted to be a nurse when I got my first dressing up outfit at about 5 years old.

      The academic requirements for the advanced diploma which I did were at least 5 GCSE's at C or above, and to be 17.5 years or older at the time you start studying. If you follow the link I will paste underneath this site can give people wanting to be a nurse some good information on all the options available to you.

      http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/Default.aspx?Id=1941

      I stayed on at school and did my A levels in biology and chemistry, and although they are not required for training it really helped me with the course. I found the academic requirements of the course challenging as it covers such a wide range of subjects. This includes Biology, Psychology, Sociology, management, communication skills, Pharmacology and many other subjects. To be honest I think I scraped through the academic side of the course. I worked in a nursing home for 2 years part time before I applied to university. This time confirmed to me that nursing was the path for me.

      If anybody asked me what was the one key requirement for any nurse it is that you have to be able to adapt to any situation, and quickly. Nurses are not the hand maidens of doctors, we don't spend much time bathing patients and changing beds. Unfortunately many jobs which were traditionally done by nurses are now done by our brilliant support workers, without who the NHS would crumble and grind to a halt.

      I should start off by saying what I love about my job.

      You get to meet new and different people every day. When you pass someone in the street or see them doing their shopping you have might make assumptions about them and never think twice if you are wrong or right. When you are a persons nurse you are privileged to know them in a way that their friends and possibly family never will. Its not easy to trust new people in your life when you are an adult, but as a nurse this happens every day because people have to trust that you can provide what they need.

      No two days are the same, there are always new challenges, new people and new conditions to learn about. I don't think you ever stop learning as a nurse, its not a job you can walk home from and switch off for the day. If I meet a patient with a condition that I don't know much about, I like to research the condition so I can be better prepared the next day. I have had several pieces of work published since qualifying, and for a dyslexic girl who's primary school teacher told my mum I would never pass any exams, I don't think that is to bad.

      I love the responsibility you have as a nurse. I am a sister now but even when I had just qualified there isn't always somebody there to tell you what to do. It takes time to call for help of other nurses or a doctor, you have to know you will be able to respond in the right way to an emergency situation. There is no way to prepare for every situation as the human body can be so unpredictable. I think some student nurses worry that the wont know what to do in an emergency, I think you only really know what you are capable of when you are tested in a real situation, being stuck in a lift with a fitting relative of my patient when I was a student taught me that I worked well under pressure.

      Teaching is a huge part of nursing, there are always nursing and medical students on the wards who are eager to pick your brains. Unfortunately we now have to do lesson plans for teaching students. I absolutely love the teaching part of my job, its also really important to be able to teach patients how to look after their conditions. I don't dare think how many times I have given myself an injection to prove to patients that its not that bad and they can do it!

      What I don't love about my job is all the paperwork and red tape. You have to have meetings about meetings to plan meetings to get anything done half the time. If you want to become a nurse be prepared to learn about policies and procedures you will have to follow. If you want to become a good nurse be prepared to know the policies and procedures well enough to know when you need to try something different.

      My real advice if you want to be a nurse it to try and get some work experience, it really helped me prepare for my training and meant it wasn't such a shock when I first stepped on a hospital ward

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        21.01.2009 11:51
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        Adult Nursing

        Nursing a vocation not a career!!!!

        How to Get involved
        ---------------------------------
        I undertook my nurse training after many years of soul searching and wondering what my actual purpose for being on this earth actually was. A bit of a wild one in my younger days i actually went into this profession as a mature student. By then i felt that i actually had a bit of life experience to take with me and i am glad that i had. Living in Scotland i had to apply via the scottish system of undergraduate nurses. I believe that the english system is slightly different although as i am unsure of what that is i am unable to comment. Hence i filled out my application via a government website called CATCH which was relatively straight forward. You are given information on all the institutions in Scotland that offer nursing either in the field of adult, mental health, special needs or childrens nursing. This was the most difficult part choosing the speciality that i would want to do. In the end i chose adult nursing as i felt that i could relate better and quite frankly the thought of some of the other categories scared me to death. I applied to an institution in Glasgow and much to my amazement recieved confirmation of an initial interview only four weeks after the application had been sent in. This is quite unusual as you normally have to apply the year before you wish to start your training. The reason for this was that the university for which i applied operated a clearing system and through people dropping out or not meeting the required qualifications opened up a few places.

        Qualifications
        ---------------------

        The qualification criteria for undergraduate nurses wishing to undertake a diploma/ degree in nursing. Applicants must be able to prove that they are numerate and literate. Each institution lays down its own criteria for admission however as a minimum standard grades and highers are required, or an access to nursing course qualification which are run by several establishments. ( you would need to check in your specific area were these are run).The criteria has changed since i completed my training so it is probably worth looking at the Catch website for up-to-date qualification criteria. The access courses can be carried out on a full or part-time basis often at the establishment that you would wish to complete your formal nurse training.
        It is also important to note that a Disclosure Scotland must be gained to ensure that you are a suitable candidate to deal with vulnerable members of society. This can take anything up to 8 weeks to arrive however the institution for which you are applying pays for this to be done.

        Interview
        -------------------

        I got myself all worked up over this and to be perfectly honest needlessly. I was interviewed by three members of the faculty and i must stress that i was not grilled. They just wanted to know why i had chosen this career path and asked me what my thoughts were on a number of current issues of the day. I was very soon relaxed and actually quite enjoyed it. You also get a guided tour of the facilities on offer. After interview you are told that they will be in touch to offer you or decline a place, and on a satisfactory clearance of a disclosure scotland check.

        The Training
        -------------------

        This is were the im glad to be a mature student comes in to play. The course itself was very rewarding. You spend half of your time in university doing theory and half the time on practice placement. The university side of things was quite hard work psychology, sociology, anatomy and physiology, social sciences. It was all interesting and there was a fair bit of essay writing and examination. This is manageable if you plan your time well and discipline yourself. A few did drop out of the course for being unable to do this. As a mum i got very good at juggling everything and ran my household like a military operation some days. From this perspective i think it would be beneficial to go into this before you have a family, although with hard work and determination those with families can do this too. I am living proof of that. Practice placement was the best bit. From personal experience i managed to get placement in day surgery, a general medical ward, home for the elderly, infectious diseases unit, intensive care unit, community with both district nurse and health visitors and the acute coronary care unit to name but a few. Lucky to have a very varied knowledge base which has stood me in good stead as a staff nurse. Being older i found it much easier to relate with the people in my care and also other members of medical staff and the wider multi-disciplinary team. Initially i was pretty scared some of the clinical areas (wards) as they are are quite hi-tec and i was petrified to touch anything. (believe me this eases with time and confidence). You are given a mentor on each placement a qualified staff nurse who teaches you and shows you how to perform practical and nursing related skills. I was fortunate that all my mentors were extremely helpful and very supportive. Others were not so lucky on my course. But hey my philosophy is you get out of something what you put in and treat others how you want to be treated yourself and you cant go wrong!!!!All placements are assessed and you have to pass these as well as your uni course work to be able to proceed to the next modules. Once you get to your final year you do a management placement and a 14 week rostered service placement. On completion of these you get your diploma or degree whichever you have signed up to do and hey presto thats you a qualified RGN.

        Advantages
        -----------------

        You get out what you put in. This is so rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, nurses dont just clean up vomit and wipe bottoms for a living. They are advocates for the patients in their care and as such enjoy a very privileged role. Remember that sick and vulnerable people need a high standard of care and if you are the right type of person can be empathetic and caring and be able to respond to the needs of others you will do well. Good communication skills are vital as sometimes you have to turn into a bit of a detective. The rewards are amazing and you really do feel like you are making a difference in the lives of patients and their families. You will never walk away from your job daily feeling you havent achieved something. You meet wonderful people who will have a positive influence on your life.

        Disadvantages
        -----------------------

        The course is not for the faint-hearted. You will have to be prepared to work hard to achieve your goal of becoming a staff nurse. The workload can get on top of you if you dont plan and organise effectively. Placements are hard-work especially when you are learning. Trust me you will be tired!!!especially if you have essays and or exams to prepare for as well.
        Dont expect to become a millionaire as a result of completing this course. First level nurses get around £20000 per year. I have lost count of the number of times i have laughed and cried you see distressing things however it is all part of the circle of life and you have to be able to take the good experiences with the bad. It makes you a stronger person.

        This career choice has made me a better person and i am proud to be a nurse.

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          09.01.2009 00:21
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          A worthwhile career if you can deal with stress and lack of money

          What can I say about adult nursing?
          It is a career that I have chosen and a profession of which I am proud.
          To the rest of the world out there, nurses are people who make beds, clean patients and make doctors cups of tea. In by gone years, this was well the case, however, in these modern days of the NHS, nurses are getting involved in a lot more procedures than ever. We are a highly skilled profession and are somewhat under rated by the general public although most of us work very hard because we do genuinely care.
          Sadly, yes, there are nurses out there who let the side down but in my personal belief I believe this is because they have lost the passion for the role. To nurse, you have to have good if not excellent people skills, you have to be ablke to hold back judgement, be a genuinely caring individual and be prepared to run around like crazy with a heavy work load and be severely under paid.

          * What do nurses do?*

          This depends a lot on which setting you are based in. A ward setting like myself will see you work between shift patterns.
          The day is based dealing with patients and their relatives on a professional, physical and emotional level. There is a great need of skill in a nursing role whether it be anatomically or emotionally. Aswell as for physical healing, support and gyuidance, it is also our role to reassure our patients and be there to help them deal with situations or point them towards someone who can if we do not have the firm answers.

          *emotions*

          There is no doubt that within this role, a need for inner strength is required. As mentioned by the Nursing and midwifery council, the adult nurse is a role in which it is important to attend to the needs of the patient, assist in health promotion, aid patients towards a good recovery and ensure help towards a dignified death.
          Sadly, it is part of the role in the respect that we do lose patients. It is always a sad event and one where we have to show the upmost of strength and compassion for the family. The skill of reflection is heavily required for this career otherwise a heavy load can be carried around on your shoulders.
          As one of my mentors once said ' A good nurse is allowed to cry and fel for their patients, if they didn't care, they shouldn't be in nursing'.

          *Nurse training*

          Still intereted in the career? I love the career and would recommend it to anyone that is thinking about giving it a go.
          Here in England, the government currently provide funding for tuition fees and pay out a monthly bursary for those on the course.
          The duration of a nuring diploma or degree spans over three years and is a combination of university led theory and skills lessons whilst learning about anatomy and physiology in great depth and completing competency based practice in nursing settings whether it be a ward, GP surgery, in the community or many other areas. Nursing is a worthwhile career and a skill that you will have for life whether you decide to stay as a basic band general nurse or decided to specialise in a particular branch of medicine or look for promotion.

          To summarise, if you're signing up simply for the money, don't bother as firstly there isn't much of it and secondly, it will make you a terrible nurse!

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            22.10.2008 12:09
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            its not a job, its a vocation

            Currently I am a third year Adult branch Student Nurse, due to qualify in March 2009. I have recently gone back in June of this year following 6 months maternity leave to have my second child.

            I got into nursing when i was 18 and took up a job in a nursing home. Prior to this i worked in telesales and really didnt feel challenged or fulfilled. I loved my job as a care assistant and never woke up dreading to go to work. After 12 months or so, although i loved my job i felt i needed more so i applied off to universities through NMAS to do my Nurse training. I got in to my preferred university and here i am 3 years later almost at the end!

            I have loved the last 3 years although admittedly year 2 was emotionally demanding. I was too far from the beginning to quit and too far from the end to see graduation and this was a low time for me. I found out i was pregnant with my son and the 6 months i had off for maternity leave were just what i needed. I have 2 children and as much as i love them, i couldnt be without nursing. I went back in June of this year and start my last placement in November.

            Basically, the course consists of equal amounts of theory and practice and now students are sent out on to the wards after 6 weeks of starting university! Basically you do 6 weeks theory then 6 weeks practice followed by 12 weeks theory and 12 weeks practice and so on. Due to the hours requirement, we get 7 weeks annual leave a year plus 'reading' weeks and you must do 30 hours of nights a year.

            Ive done placements on an acute surgical admissions ward, nursing home, operating theatres (fabulous placement!), dermatology and rehematology, community and my last placement will be on an orthopaedic ward.

            The practice side i have truly loved and feel really at home caring for patients the job satisfaction is immense. Ive had lovely mentors who have been a true support.

            The theory is the bit i struggle with. Im not academic and get myself into a real state when assignements are due (like now!) but ive done enough (so far) to pass first time. But you do get a second attempt and in special circumstances the university will give you a third and final attempt.

            Ive secured a job on the Gastro unit at my local hospital specialising in endoscopy and other procedures for when i finish and i cannot wait to get started. The opportunities for nurses to develop professionaly and expand their skills and knowledgs has never been greater and in my view, although there are issues with pay, staffing, support from the government and trust debt there has never been a better time to become a nurse. Anyway, after receiving a bursury of around £6.200 for the past 3 years a jump to earning £20,000 (or near enough) is a welcome one!

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            14.07.2008 22:15
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            Could be a fantastic career if respected more by governments

            I wanted to become a nurse all my life and did my training 14 years ago. I went into the profession thinking that nurses were all 'angels' really caring and dedicated and I wanted to work with those people, what a shock I got when I did it!!!

            During my training I found that these 'angels' were horrid towards student nurses, in all fairness this was because we were all overworked, underpaid and understaffed and the stress of working in those conditions gets to you after a while.

            I have vivid memories of patients being left in soiled beds because we didn;t have enough staff to look after everybody and there just wasn't enough time to keep on top of all the jobs to be done each shift. You went home feeling demoralised becuase you do the best you can but you only have one pair of hands and 30 odd ill patients needing your help.

            I left the NHS 4 years ago and haven't looked back, I feel very sad to have done this but couldn't have worked for the rest of my life in those conditions.

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            28.05.2008 21:45
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            It's not all bad

            I started my training in 1984 and I have seen a lot of changes in the last twenty odd years, some good some bad.

            The training for a start. In my day you did 13 weeks in school then were let loose on the wards. Students were counted in the numbers and you really were thrown in. In some ways this was a good thing after training for 3 years you had loads of hands on experience, however it very much depended on the ward staff and the time they had how much theory you learned.
            Things seem to have reversed somewhat, you can now have students qualifying who are academically brilliant but fairly useless practically.

            The NHS itself has changed a huge amount I think my employers name has changed about 6 times in as many years. It's all about budgets and saving money, everywhere is short staffed.
            There have been times when I feel very undervalued for the work I put in and the stress I sometimes work under. My colleagues are great it's a very supportive culture, it's the management that gets you down.

            But it's not all bad I love my job, I now work on the community, thats one of the great things about this career, there are so many different aspects of nursing. I hated surgery as the patients don't generally hang around long enough for you to get to know them, whereas I loved care of the elderly.

            It is also a very family friendly career, I have 3 children but have never given up work as i've always been able to find hours to fit around the family.

            The pays not awful either, I know that compared to other careers where you do at least three years training and have at least a diploma if not a degree it could be better, but it's a lot more than a lot of my mates take.

            Hope this hasn't put anyone off!!!! There are times (a lot of times actually) when the care you give and the appreciation you get from patients gives you a real boost and makes you realise you really are doing something worthwhile.

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              19.12.2002 20:41
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              I am writing this opinion for any of you reading this who are considering a career in nursing. I started my nurse education (they don't call it training anymore, although I had a few lecturers who resembled the late Barbara Woodhouse), in 1993, as green as the proverbial grass, and as keen as a jar of colmans dijonnaise. I was one of the 'guinea pigs' of the new style nurse education, and embarked on a 3 year diploma in Adult Nursing. After spending an arduous year (yeah right), at university, studying all manner of things (we once spent a whole lesson on how many different words we could come up with for male and female genitalia!!!), we were let loose on the wards in our starched white uniforms with collars even Biggles would have been green with envy of. One of the first sights I was greeted with was an elderly lady who had fallen onto the floor being manually lifted into a wheelchair by two care assistants. Being a good student, I asked them why they had picked this lady up off the floor (we were told in uni that under no circumstances should we manually lift a patient, not for our health but for the arse pocket of the nhs trust we were allocated to i'm surmising, litigation and all that), to be met by icy stares only Medusa could muster (or so I thought). This was my first encounter with the massive practice/theory gap in nurse education. The university take an idealistic stance of how things should be done, but in reality it just doesnt cut it, I mean if I was an eighty year old arthritic lady I wouldn't appreciate being put in a hoist to be picked up off the floor either. So throughout the rest of my education I had to juggle with my conscience on a regular basis, and lying to my tutors (also on a regular basis, gulp!). I did eventually qualify, through hard work, bloody mindedness, and a great deal of bending the truth to the powers that be (and hoping my back didnt give out to all
              the lifting i'd been doing). My first job was on a womens surgical ward, nothing spectacular, a lot of hysterectomies, hysteroscopies (and hysterics but that was mainly my colleagues). I eventually got a job in Accident and Emergency as a senior staff nurse, working my way up to the dizzy heights of Sister. This is where the real fun began. I did all manner of things during my time here, bandaging sprains (tasking stuff I know), to holding vomit bowls for the regular drunks, to being threatened by a junkie with a syringe full of god knows what, to being strangled by a bloke who I asked to put his cigarette out in the cubicle, to telling parents that their child has died. The latter is the worst thing you could imagine having to do in a job (nothing to what the bereaved are going through I might add). But trying to keep yourself composed under a professional facade in these circumstances is on of the hardest things I have ever done, and no matter how many times you do it, it never gets any easier. You do your crying when your shift is over. I eventually did my degree (it took 18 months as I already had a diploma and got a Bsc in Women's Health) which led me to the job Im currently in which is Lead Practitioner in Sexual Health at a local drop in centre. Its a nine to five, no working christmas etc, and most importantly fits in with my family life. I earn £28,000 which does seem like a lot but someone with my level of responsibility and accountability in another profession would probably earn 2-3 times this amount. In the 10 years I've been a nurse, I've had some terrible experiences, but the good ones have far outweighed the bad. Would I do it all again if I had my time over?? a resounding YES. Although the job is physically and emotionally demanding, the hours are antisocial in most nursing jobs and they pay is abysmal (a newly qualified nurse earns £15000), I couldn'
              t imagine doing anything else. you have to have a sense of humour (its a prerequsite when you consider the pay at the end of all your hard work, lol), be able to make snap decisions, have good organisational and motivational skills (especially at a senior level, there is nothing worse than unhappy colleagues, it reflects on everyone in this type of job), and the ability to empathise with people from all walks of life (being judgemental just isnt an issue in this type of work). I hope this opinion has been useful to anyone who is considering a career in nursing. One last bit of advice, keep an open mind, narrow mindedness, and "sticking to the rules" wil only stop you being the type of nurse that is truly inspirational. Thank you for reading.

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                14.07.2002 04:49
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                • "Long hours"

                This opinion is designed to assist anybody who is considering a career in nursing and doing their nursing training. I began my training in March 2000 and am now in my final year, due to qualify in 8 months. To be quite honest I have my up days and my down days. During my up days I wonder how I could ever do any other job than the one I have chosen. On my down days I wonder what on earth possessed me to start my training in the first place. Often I find the down days are more frequent when I am engaged in a block of study and am not on the wards, which is where I find my greatest reward. When I began my diploma the set out was different to how it is now as six months after I started curricular changes were implemented in an attempt to rectify perceived difficulties with our version of the course. The course I am doing is modular. We spend 2300 hours over 3 years in the lecture and exam rooms and 2300 hours, spread over nine placement units on the wards. We get two attempts at each exam and can then re enrol on the module for a further two attempts if necessary. My marks are not spectacular but I have thus far done enough to pass first time each time. During onward placements as a student you are supernumerary meaning you are not a rostered member of staff but additional to the numbers. You are also assigned a nurse to be your mentor, they sign your paperwork, you spend the majority of your placement with them and they should be your first point of call in difficulties. The new diploma, which is what anyone now considering their training will do, involves 1500 hours in theory and 3100 in practice giving a ratio of 66% of the course spent on the wards. Discussing this with the people doing the new course it seems that there are some advantages and some disadvantages to this. Although an obvious advantage is more on ward experience, they only have 6 placements meaning they see less of a range of specialties than our year and have
                to do more self study. I thought I would give you a brief walk through of my last two and a half years on the course to give you an idea of what to expect. My first year was far more theory orientated than the second and third. I started the course in March but did not get to see the inside of a ward until July. By this time the whole year was raring to go and rather frustrated. I had begun to have doubt about the course but had resolved to give it until the end of the placement. I did a four week placement on a cardiovascular surgery ward. Whilst I had to problems with the practical aspects of the job I found the emotional aspect took some getting used to. Seeing a man in his early fifties being told he had terminal cancer was the hardest sight of this placement and the smooth handling of the nurse was something I thought I would never gain. When my placement ended however, I found I did not wish to return to the university, I had found somewhere I felt I could make a difference and it was a strong drawing factor in keeping me on a smooth track and continuing my training. I felt an increased sense of confidence and my place in things. Once I got back to university, however, the frustration set in again. Once again I set myself a time limit to make a decision about the course ? this time it was Christmas. In October and November I did a split placement. I did five weeks with the Health Visitor which I found immensely frustrating as I was not physically allowed to do anything but watch. As a person who has a preference for rolling up their sleeves and pitching in I found this excruciating with the only highlight being my two days with the district nurse. Following this I went back to my first placement for another four weeks. Once again I felt like I could understand what my training was leading me too and enjoyed my on ward experience so much I had no wish to return to university. Christmas came and went and by January I fo
                und myself back out on the ward for a four week European Union required mental health placement. I was put onto a ward that specialised in care of the elderly and rehabilitation. I found this deeply offensive as it reeked of the implication all elderly people are mentally infirm and actually voiced this to my head of year. I was told there was little choice as not enough mental health placements existed for all of us. I went to the placement and enjoyed the rehabilitative aspects of care. There is something deeply satisfying about a ward where patients stay longer than most, giving you a chance to really get to know them. There is also a satisfaction in seeing a patient with difficulties walking or dressing themselves come to the ward and, upon discharge go home independent. Of course this is not always the case but whatever happens you feel you have had the chance to make a change in that persons life. I entered my second year back at university but was finding it hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The first year had been very long and I seemed to have an eternity left on my course. I decided that by my half way point I would make a concrete decision about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I spent eight weeks in June and July on care of the elderly placements. Despite many peoples reservations I enjoyed this time. I did four weeks in a nursing home where I found I developed a deep affection for many of its residents, in particular one elderly lady who I loved to walk with in the garden (One advantage of not being counted in the rostered numbers was the time I had to do this). I also returned to the Rehab ward for a further four weeks. I have developed a very close working relationship with these staff now as I often work weekends as an Auxillary Nurse there. During the summer I was working as an Auxillary Nurse to earn some extra money when the most upsetting sight of my career occurred. Working on a gynae war
                d a young pregnant woman had a miscarriage and I saw the foetus afterwards. I went home that night and cried my eyes out. This made me once again wonder at the skills of the nurses. How could I ever be good enough to deal with a mother in that situation? By September I was back on the ward for eight weeks on award specialising in Respiratory medicine. It gave me a chance to overcome my biggest squeamishness: Sputum and Phlegm. It also allayed some of my fears about my ability to interact with people as I became very close to a young woman with advanced cancer and, as time went on she began to tell me of some of her fears ? for herself, for her family. I could offer no practical solutions but that didn?t matter. All she wanted was someone to talk to. This was an insight for me. Sometimes I cannot do anything but listen and that?s enough. I realised I tended to approach things from a practical point of view too much and feel my approach to people improved as a result of this remarkable lady. This placement was however very difficult for me as my granddad had died six months earlier of lung cancer and I was not dealing very well with caring for two patients on the ward with end stage lung cancer. I ended up having to see my mentor about it as I could not cope with it. The support I received was fantastic, I was not made to do anything that caused me any more upset. By the end of the placement I managed to work through my feelings but this would not have been possible without the support I received. I went back to University on a high. I had no down days but looked forward to getting through exams and getting back on the wards. In January I went to A&E. This had been the placement I had looked forward to since the start of my course but found I was disappointed. The work was everything I expected and more: Challenging, Rewarding, Shocking Varied and Exhausting but I felt unsupported as I had no mentor for half the placement and the sta
                ff seemed sometimes at a loss as to where to put me. As I hoped to end up working on A&E post qualification I found this disappointing. I also realised that maybe I would end up in A&E eventually but it certainly was not going to be immediately after qualification, I needed time to build up confidence and competence first on a ward. I returned to university for theory feeling rather unsure about myself as what my plans had taken a U-Turn and I was not sure where to go next. My third year started and I was rather worried that I still had no long term plans for my future. In May I went to a Trauma and Orthopaedic ward for eight weeks. This was quite possibly the most challenging and rewarding placement I have done in two and a half years. My mentor had never mentored a student before and her enthusiasm was infectious. Before I knew what was happening to me she had me thinking like a nurse, making decisions, talking to doctors and physiotherapists and facing my fears about my competence. By half way through my placement I asked the senior sister how good my chances were of taking a job on the unit next year. I was told that if there was a space for me it was fairly good. I also had a very rewarding experience in taking a shy first year student under my wing as it were and by the end of my placement she told me she did not want me to leave. That placement ended two weeks ago and I am back at University taking exams and handing in essays. I hope that if you are still awake by this point (I know its long but the words just wouldn?t stop, so I hope I have not bored you). Writing this has brought back many emotions to me, I have smiled and have had tears in my eyes. I also hope I have not painted you a black picture. I have tried to be honest and frank and point out my the bad experiences I have had but also the immensely good experiences I have had. From talking to my friends I am not the only one who has had these fears and doub
                ts. I often doubt myself and my choices but the support of my friends and staff members on certain placements has kept me going. I still have my days where I am unsure about my future but I realise how much I love my job and the thrill I get from feeling I can make a difference in people?s life, which is why I entered nursing in the first place. I have two placements left now ? six weeks with the district nurse and a final unassigned nine week placement where I have requested to go back to Trauma again. ++UPDATE++ I have seven months of training left and have come to a very hard decision. Once I finish my training I will be leaving the NHS and trying a new career direction. I have told my parents and am looking into other career opportunities. There are many reasons behind this, both personal and professional and emotional. Please do not allow this to put you off if you are making the decision to enter your training yourself. I am not representative of the whole population and if you have made the considered decision to enter nursing I am sure you will excel. If on the flipside you are considering the same decision as myself you have my support and thoughts.++ If you do your training be prepared for peaks and troughs. Sometimes you will feel you will never reach the end but you will, just stick it out. Make sure you have a good support network in place, there will be many times when you need to laugh or cry with someone else. Also get used to the blood pressure machine, it will become your constant friend and companion for three years! I wish you all the luck in the world. Happy Hunting Annalisa

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                  06.07.2002 05:05
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                  I am currently doing my adult nursing diploma at Oxford Brooks Uni. It lasts 3 years full time and I am enjoying it through and through. I have to say some opinions of what nursing about gets my goat it is not just about changing beds and washing people. However I do find this an excellent way of getting to know the individuals within our care.How to juggle staff, making sure that you know exactly whats going on in the ward and with every client is gospel. Student nursing can be a great way of getting to see the whole picture without having the responsibility. or stress of what the trained staff do. Adult nursing can be a rewarding job if you are motivated and enjoy being with people, you can gain loads of knowledge through individual clients and have great fun, if more people come into nursing the pressure will be lifted from those that are trained but the government needs to give so much to the profession to get it recognised in the light it should be. I find it hard trying to juggle 3 children and a husband on shift work with the little money I get, it doesnt cover childcare so all I can say is help us to get onto the so needed workforce and give us a little more help and encouragement. Out of 55 students who started the course we are now down to 42 within a year and that is not down to people just leaving because they wanted too (except for 2) it was down to the fact of being unable to juggle finances the bursary is not considered as a wage so working tax family credit cannot be applied for but niether can help with the childcare grant given to uni students with children. Please just give us some slack and then maybe the NHS wouldnt be in such a mess as it is.....

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                    01.01.2002 23:00
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                    I qualified as a nurse in 1983, at this time I had the opportunity to work in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, in any department that I wished. I remember the senior nursing officers face when I stated that I wished to work with the elderly. (Geriatrics is no longer a politically correct term) My friends all thought I was mad, however I have found this to be the most rewarding part of my career. The elderly can teach us so much, they are interesting to talk to when people take the time to sit and talk to them. Even those who have debilitating illnesses such as Alzheimers can still provide us with a wealth of knowledge and very often complete job satisfaction. Caring for the elderly has never been seen as the cutting edge of nursing but I have worked in all departments including working in medical centres and in the community and overall I prefer the elderly. They are so appreciative of what we as nurses do for them, It is not an easy job, it can be stressfull and heavy work although with the increasing use of hoists and other lifting equipment this job has been made much easier. It is disappointing to hear young newly qualified nurses stating that they do not wish to work with the elderly. They are missing out on so much, working in a private nursing home a newly qualified nurse will gain more medical experience than she will on a busy ward. She will gain confidence, as you are often given much more responsibility in nursing home environments than in a hospital and you have much more autonomy. Many people still see homes for the elderly as the old geriatric wards with rows of beds and people sitting round the edges of a room sleeping or staring listlessly at a television with a stench of urine pervading the air. This is no longer the case, many nursing and residential homes set very high standards of care, they promote continence and many employ activities therapist to stimulate residents. I would recommend
                    to all newly qualified nurses that they at least try working with the elderly before passing judgement and I am sure many will find as I do that this is a very rewarding experience.

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                      19.09.2001 01:21
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                      I promise to be positive, I promise to be positive, I promise to be..... Ok I'll do my best, a kind of warts and all look at being a nurse. I qualified far too long ago just before the Nursing profession decided it really needed to go academic, this gave way to University based nurse training with a RN ( Registered Nurse) qualification and a diploma in higher education - equivilant to the second year of a degree course, now you can go the whole hog and get a degree as well. Back in the dark ages of the mid 80's there were degree courses, but the poor degree nurses were looked on with a suspicion akin to demonic status - well they weren't one of us were they? There's alot of "one of us" I can tell you in nursing! At the tender age of 19 after much nagging from my Mum I applied for my Nurse training. A 3 year course based at the Hull District School of Nursing attached to the largest hospital in Hull. Now alot of people enter nurse training because it's some thing they've wanted to do since they were 5. I did it mainly because my Mum nagged me and I really didn't know what else to do. I thought I'd do it and then find some thing else to do. 16 years later I'm still waiting to find that elousive some thing else! My Nurse training was the old traditional hands on training after 8 weeks in a classroom we were let loose on the sick and infirm of Hull. What followed were blocks of 16 weeks out on the wards, two weeks in school followed by a fortnights holiday this went on for 3 years. Throw out this training we did not get the status that is now given to Student Nurses of being supernumery we were part of the ward team and as it was cheaper to employ Student Nurses on a weekend you soon got used to working every weekend and at least one other late shift during the week. Off duty rota's were scanned before making any kind of social commitment. The two allocations to night duty were hell on earth
                      student nurses worked a rota of 8 nights on and four nights off. By night 7 I was normally physically sick as I'd worked 77 hours without a break apart from being in bed all day. What made it worse was the fact that both my allocations were done in the summer. The day before my finals - a Sunday I spent in the pub I'd decided I was going to fail so what was the point of trying to revise any more. With a hangover I spent all day doing the 3 part papers. We needed to get a pass mark for all in order to pass. On night duty yet again I worked the night before the results were out coming home at about 9am I found my result envelope on the door mat. given that brown envelopes with results in our family normally bought tidings of great grief I really couldn't be bothered opening it, I wanted my bed and to be left in peace! My Mum stood over me as I opened it. Poor Mum was under the impression it was going to be O level and A level results time again and hadn't bothered to tell anyone that it was another results day again! For the first time I'd actually passed some thing first time no resets - I do a mean reset exam I can tell you! So there I was with this bit of paper saying I was a qualified nurse as were all my mates but what do we do now was the commom theme due to the fact that there weren't any jobs in Hull for us. In the end we all got a variety of jobs up and down the country. Today I work as an ophthalmic specialist nurse - posh title I know! I gave up working weekends and late shifts in order to get a life basically after doing them for over 10 years. So what is it like being a nurse? The publics image of a Nurse is that of a hard working angel who admisters cold compresses to fevered brows. Yeah we've been know to do that and make a mean bed with proper hospital corners as well but reality is some what different. At 20 I held a dying woman in my arms she was only 5 years older than me. When
                      she did die I was expected to finish off the shift without any thought to how this experience might have effected me. I've been up to my elbows in bodily fluids in an attempt to clean people up and restore their dignity. I've had drunks screaming abuse at me and I could only smile sweetly when in my head I've repeated thought I must not tell them to bleep bleep off. I can do the vomit thing but give me any thing to do with noses and I'm outta there! But I've also had positive experiences, the little old lady who by me spending 2 hours convincing her to have surgery didn't go blind. The teen mum who thanked me for presuading her to talk to her mum about her babys future I cried when she said "my mum says I can keep him". Nursing is not just about doing physical things to people. If you look at the day to day running of your average ward you'll find that a nurse is a multi skilled person. Running a ward safely is a job and half. Skills needed range from the ability to be able to problem solve,supervisng other staff, budgeting, teaching, crisis management, excellent communication skills - well who else would think to make sure you've got all your results prior to actually getting into that awful theatre gown? Nursing isn't just about doing the odd temperature, making a bed and taking someone to the loo and carrying out the Doctors orders! Due to the cutting of Doctors hours, nurses have been able to take on more tasks that were once demind the role of the medical profession. It is now very commom to find Nurses that actually treat patients with in guide lines and thus avoid any contact with a Doctor. I worked for over 3 years as a nurse practioner in an ophthalmic ( eye) A&E unit only 30% of patients actually saw the Doctor on duty. At the moment I'm undergoing further training to be able to perform minor lid surgery. Years ago this would have been deemed unthinkable. Nurse
                      9;s are a highly trained bunch of people. Having completed a period of basic training most nurses then under go further post basic traiing course. I did my ophthalmic course to specialise in ophthalmoloy. To be honest if I hadn't of done this course I really don't think I'd still be a nurse today. I found any area of nursing which even after 12 years still fascinates me,still gives me a challenge and I've still got loads more to learn! Years ago I was out shopping in my local shopping centre up until then I'd never witnessed a cardiac arrest ( where the heart stops beating) suddenly a man pole axes to the floor about 10 feet away from me. Without thinking I'm there - the classroom training suddenly becomes a reality and I'm on my knees doing CPR ie keeping this man alive. This is what my training did for me. I can remeber as the crowd gathered around someone saying don't worry love the first aiders on his way! In between mouth to mouth I can remeber saying just get a bleep bleep ambulance. Someone in the crowd muttered some thing about well she can't be a nurse can she? Nurses don't sware! That was prehaps the longest 10 minutes of my life. Being a nurse was always seen as a vocation and a profession full of woman hence the pay is still utter crap! If you analyse what we actually do and compare it to what others do then we are poorly paid! If you look at the average nurse working on a ward doing weekends, nights, late shifts and Christmas day the pay is awful. I've done my fair share of Christmas days I can tell you and never again! I once worked five Christmas days on the trot ie every Christmas day for 5 years. Don't get me wrong most of the shifts were actually fun but when everyone is at home and your at work it does get to you a bit. When I lived in the Midlands I never saw my Mum over Christmas due to the fact that the off duty rota just wouldn't accomodate me having more than two days off o
                      ver Christmas. Would I encourage some one to become a nurse? To be blunt no. The way the NHS is at the moment its about crisis management. Wards lurch by with say one qualified nurse and two health care assistants looking after say 30 patients. Doing any thing but the basic care goes out of the window on some of these wards and how can you feel proud of that? Moral is low and understandably so as staff are streched to the limits. The management structue goes from one fad to another - we're getting Matron back! I've worked with some wonderful people over the years and some equally awful people but if I had my time again I can honestly say I wouldn't do it again. To anyone contemplating doing there nurse training I'd advise them to go in with their eyes firmly opened. Try doing some voluntary work or even getting a temporary job as a health care assistant to actually see what nursing is all about and remeber a good sense of homour is definetly needed and not just for looking at your pay slip on the last Friday in the month.

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