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So I have a job now!

24 January 2015

As part of my final year as a nursing student, we have to do mock job applications. This is to help us prepare for the kind of questions they will be asking at interviews and to build confidence in the transition from student nurse to staff nurse. I wrote a personal statement and sent it off to my tutor, ready for the lecture later this week.  Then I trawled through the NHS Jobs website to see what kind of jobs are out there for newly qualified nurses. I won't qualify until September but it is good to see there are plenty of jobs at the moment.

Then I spotted a job advert for a staff nurse in a community hospital. Community hospitals are not like general hospitals. They tend to have only a small number of beds and their focus is on keeping people out of a general hospital and to help them return to their own home as soon as possible. So for example a patient might be ready to leave hospital but their care package to help them with washing and dressing themselves has not yet been organised. So they go to a community hospital until that is sorted. Or people need a few days of extra care whilst their symptoms are being sorted out. Such patients do not really need to see a specialist doctor as, in theory, they are healthy enough to be in their own home, they just need a bit of support. This means that the care for these people is led by nurses, not be doctors. Obviously this is a fantastic opportunity for a newly qualified nurse to build up skills and confidence in her own decision making. And I love the focus on community nursing. I already know I am not born to be a hospital ward nurse. My heart is in the community, helping people in their own home as much as possible. I love the feeling that I am working with the patient as a team to get the best out of life for them, rather than in a hospital where the power is firmly in the hands of the nurse and doctor. However, ward-based nursing does offer great learning opportunities for newly qualified nurses that might not be available if I was to go straight 'in to the community' as a community nurse. I would have close support for the first 6 months and a chance to obtain additional clinical skills such as IV therapy, palliative care training etc. It just felt like a slightly safer start. Seeing as my last experience on a ward in a hospital was a very difficult one (I nearly quit the course afterwards), I feel I need a little bit more reassurance about my abilities.

So this job seemed like the perfect half-way house: a chance for me get to grips with ward-based nursing and learn about discharges, working with multiple disciplines, different health professionals and increase my knowledge of medications and their use, whilst also keeping my eyes firmly on the community by making sure my discharges are well organised and in the best interest of my patient. not to mention the fact that they also provide palliative care. And that is where I really want to go: palliative care in the community. When JD was ill, the nurses I met back then inspired me to go on my nurse training. Without them, things would have been so much more horrible than they were. Good end of life care is vital, not just for patients but also for those left behind. I firmly believe that good end of life care saves money, even after death. Because I was not left traumatised. I was left sad but satisfied that the best was done for JD. I believe this helped me to quickly become a productive member of society again, confident that I was able to handle the world. It helped me to move forward.

Sorry, I got side tracked there for a minute (*climbs off soap box*). Anyway, I thought: well, I wrote this mock personal statement for my course, I might as well tweak it and apply for this job. You never know. I got invited to an interview, passed the maths and English tests before getting to the actual interview stage. I presume they liked me because they offered me the job on the spot. Even when I said I couldn't start until September 19th, they still said: that is ok, just let us know when you can start. I was so happy, I bounced home.

And then I had a small panic attack. With so many people telling me I would make a great nurse, what if I failed? What if I don't even get my assignments in on time? What if I am not actually as great as people think? I am caring and willing but I often lack eye for detail. Am I good enough?????? These worries are not new to me, nor are they unique to me. I think every single nursing student has had these thoughts. So I am just going to ride this out and see where it lands. if i fail, then so be it. On the other hand: I wrote 1000 words of the dissertation so I guess I was motivated for a little while....

I HAVE A JOB. AS A NURSE. Like, wow......

Reading that, I may have just felt a tiny amount of pride in myself. Me. A nurse.... unbelievable.

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