I was recently interviewed by the Australian Teachers Magazine for one of their upcoming Student Guides. I was humbled and privileged to be a part of something that could potentially impact on the next generation. Part of the process was an interview in which a variety of questions were asked regarding my educational journey, my journey to becoming a nurse, and it culminated with the final question which was If you could give just one piece of advice to a student considering further study, what would you say to them, without hesitation I answered with Just do it!
This experience led me to reflect on the journey through Nursing to this point, the people along the way, the learning opportunities, the teaching opportunities, and the people impacted along the way. Before I even began studying my Diploma I had friends and family who were either currently studying the Bachelor or have been in the industry for a number of years offering advice on how I should go about my study, areas of Nursing to pursue, or even anecdotes of encounters with different patients. Even during this early stage I began to notice that nursing was more of a harmonious collective then a series of individuals. As I progressed further with my study this notion didn’t falter, of course there are the odd few that are the exception to the rule, but for the most part Nurses here in Australia are a fairly accomodating and encouraging bunch.
During the Diploma itself, I was with some 40 odd other students who came from a variety of backgrounds, and had a diverse range of skills. We had everything from the School Leaver to the Re-skilling Mum to the 30 something Career shifter. All of these different people made for a unique learning experience. We were at the University for three days a week, every week during the semester. This gave us all a lot of time to spend with one another. Friendships were formed, clicks began to emerge, but on the whole we worked as a class to get through the learning, practice the skills, and become better nurses accordingly.
These ladies and gentlemen and I would hone our nursing skills by using each other as patients, this gave us the unique opportunity to see what the care we were providing was like from the patient’s perspective. We practiced everything from bed making to hoisting to basic observations to administering medications via a mixture of routes. Some students came forward as natural leaders and teachers and subsequently lended themselves to assist the class when they were having difficulty. I formed a close friendship with two of the ladies in the class, Sarah and Michelle; we studied together, learnt together, and unwound together. I am thoroughly thankful for every single person in the class, without them I would not have strived to be the nurse I am today, I would not have the skills or the knowledge I have now. Ladies and Gentlemen I thank you.
As I entered the workforce I found that the same camaraderie that I found during my study continued into the profession. The nurses I work with every day have no issue taking the time out of their busy day to help out, and conversely know that if they need assistance for whatever reason I will be all to willing to provide it. I am currently on one of my placements for the Bachelor, it is in a facility I have never worked in before, and the staff have been great. They have taken the time to show me around, answer all my silly questions that arise in a new facility, and help me to stop thinking like an Enrolled Nurse and start thinking like a Registered Nurse. What I didn’t expect was the opportunity I had to share my knowledge. I was on shift when one of the patients required their Negative Pressure Wound Therapy, or Vac dressing, changed. None of the RNs on shift that day had changed one before, or it had been so long that they had all but forgotten. Given I work in an area that sees frequent vac dressings, as well as having spent a large amount of time with one personally, I was able provide the information required.
So why share this story? Sure its a nice feel good, heart warming piece, but what’s the point? The point behind this post is to encourage those who are considering taking up a career in Nursing to jump in and Just Do It. For those who are thinking of taking up an apprenticeship or traineeship, Just Do It. For those who are wondering whether or not they should study at TAFE or University and are concerned they might be too old, Just Do It. For those who considered study but thought to yourself I am not smart enough or I am no good at school, put the doubt aside, and Just Do It. No simpler message could I possibly impart.
Maintain The Rage