Bit of a dramatic statement, but it is genuinely how I feel this year is heading. With five weeks to go until I lose the safety net of being a student nurse, the fear of the unknown is becoming all too real.
Being part of a cohort that has completed all placements of 3rd year during a pandemic, in a health service that was previously so understaffed the nurses of Northern Ireland had already felt the need to invoke industrial action to address safe staffing issues, we are no stranger to the unknown and uncertainty that we face daily in practice.
However, I found myself having moments when I ask, “why am I doing this?” I hear from those who came before me who tell me nothing prepares you for the day you stop being Student Nurse Cairns to Staff Nurse Cairns, and again I ask “why am I doing this?” thankfully though these moments are few and far between.
As I reflect, I found the reason why I am doing this. It is at the end of every busy day I go home knowing I have learned something new and often fascinating! It is when I am with my patients, and we share an anecdote and a laugh. It is when I can hold a patient’s hand and give comfort when they are afraid and uncertain about their future. It is when I am waving a discharged patient off the ward with a fond farewell knowing I contributed to the smile on their face, that is why I do it.
Yes, the fear of the unknown is strong but not as strong as the inherent want to help that lies within each nurse.
I know it has been said before, but a good support network is invaluable. I find myself surrounded by amazing people, my peers have just or who are about to qualify beside me, the staff that have supported me through my learning both in practice and academic, my friends who have understood why I have cancelled yet another lunch date, my family who give me that boost when energy levels are low and, my husband who has proofread my work and listened and share my ups and downs with an encouraging nod. I thank you all.