|The view from the hospital|
With the end of my exam, came a return to hospital. All the way through this course we alternate betwen a couple of months studying at University and a couple of months working on the wards (or in the community). The mixture is good - we can apply the theory to practice, and we come back to University enthused to learn more about the situations we've come across at work. We are usually given new placements each time we go back to hospital so that we get to experience many different sorts of nursing - surgical, medical, district nursing, palliative care, care of the elderly, acute and emergency nursing, specialist clinics and GPs' surgeries.
This variety is both stimulating and also challenging. Although I am now officially a second year student, on my third placement, and at a hospital I've worked at before, I feel brand new and rather ignorant again, as this placement is so very different from either of my previous ones. The conditions are ones I've not come across before, there is a new team of staff to work with, and a whole new set of terminology and abbreviations to get my head around.
On my very first day I was thrown in at the deep end: supervised and supported, but essentially giving one-to-one care to a very unwell patient for large chunks of the day because all the patients that day required a great deal of nursing care, which kept all the nurses, healthcare assistants and students relentlessly busy. At the end of the shift (a long thirteen hours), one of the sisters smiled at me and said "if you're a nurse, you have to be able to provide good care under pressure - you did well today".
So much of nursing is about change - there are new patients bringing unexpected challenges every single working day. And yet your care and your technical knowledge must be consistently good and of a very high standard. As I go through my training, I am starting to realise that it is this combination of adaptability and consistency which makes nurses so amazing. Being good at both those things is what I am training to do. It's hard.
As my work changes, and challenges me, I find I need to keep life at home stable and predictable. On my days off I like that I can be with the children after school, bake bread, do some knitting and wonder what to do with my egg glut. Things I've been doing for a long time, and that I will always do.