New beginnings, new lessons…

On my last blog, I discussed how it felt to be shielding and awaiting to return to the placement and finishing my management hours. So, I finally went back to the ward, and the first thing that I noticed was that everything was different. Personal protective equipment was more abundant than it was in March, infection control was a lot clearer, and it felt safe.

That being said, all I can see were eyes as everyone had their masks on throughout the shifts. It was interesting because my brain had to quickly learn to recognise facial expressions by just looking at the eyes. For example, when the eyes get narrowed, and creases start forming on the sides, then there’s a high chance that the person may be smiling. This, of course, depends on the context of your interaction.

The noticeable changes aside, it was great to be back in the ward and adapting to the phrase we all despise the ‘new normal’. I was happy to completely engross myself into having my own patient workload and develop my prioritisation skills. It felt great to be back in familiar grounds from the patients to staff members. One of the advantages of training in a small trust is that you very often get to see the same patients that you have met in different contexts—for example; the ward, emergency department or neonatal units.

However, right now, I want to fast forward you to 2300 long placement hours later, which fell on the 27th of November 2020, and the day that I completed my last shift EVER as a student! It seemed impossible three months ago but let me tell you, time really does fly when you’re having a whale of a time. All the doubts that I had of how ready I would be to qualify have vanished. 

Today as I start my new career as a children’s nurse, I feel hopeful and have faith that I will be able to fill in gaps of any knowledge deficits that I may have. I am grateful that my Trust has given me a comprehensive induction and supernumerary time up until January when I will officially be in the numbers.

I am a bit nervous about starting in a new environment to the Trust that I trained in, albeit mostly excited to learn new ways and conditions. I am ready for the challenge and looking forward to meeting the new team this week. 

Judging from the many polls that we run within the @RCNNQN Twitter account a lot of our newly registered nurses often disclose that they feel overwhelmed. Therefore, I have mentally prepared to go back to feeling like my first day as a student nurse on placement. A mentor once said to me, ‘learning starts once you have officially been registered’.Therefore, cheers to new beginnings and new lessons. To my fellow Cohort 2017, also known as #ClassOf2020, I want to say let’s keep learning, be easy on ourselves and continue to grow, we can overcome anything.


Published by RCN Newly Qualified Nurses

The voice of newly qualified nurses within the Royal College of Nursing. Providing support from six months pre-registration throughout preceptorship.

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