Memories of being a student nurse brings happy thoughts and sad thoughts and I want to share just one each for you.


Having a great mentor helps…

Learning to inject, hmmm sounds scary and funny when you put an orange in the mix.

Funny as it sounds, having a nurse show you how to inject a needle into a fruit may sound strange but its one of those memories I will never forget. I was on my first placement in my first year on a gynae ward, it was a fairly quiet (yes I said the Q word) evening shift and I had been asked to give a patient a subcut (S/C) injection, I was petrified and so declined stating I would rather watch. Afterwards the nurse asked me why I declined, I didn’t really have an answer other than I didn’t want to do it wrong, hence the orange! Back then we didn’t have dummies to practice on. So learning how to inject S/C and IM was shown and practiced on an orange. I will be forever thankful for that nurse, her patience with me and that very soggy final orange.


Again as a first year student on an acute assessment ward, I remember looking after a palliative patient, a fairly young female. She was surrounded by family and friends at her bedside and was on end-of-life cares. The family had pressed the nurse call button and I attended to see what they called for. When i walked into the room the patient was Cheyenne stoking, I had never seen or experienced this and remember thinking I couldn’t see no breathing and thought she had passed. I told the family I would get the nurse and left and reported to the nurse my thoughts. Saying how I thought she had passed away. The nurse attended the room and came back to inform me that the lady had not passed away and proceeded to explain the dying process to me. I felt so sad and upset that the family were watching this lady pass away not knowing when her last breath would be, I requested not to attend this patients room for the remainder of the shift due to my inexperience and upset with the known outcome for this lady. I went home and wrote a reflective diary about my thoughts and feelings around nursing and death and how nursing is not just about healing, recovery and happy endings. I learnt a lot that day about nursing and how I fit in and just wish I could have provided more support to all of those people in that room that day. The patient passed away later that day and it still makes me sad to think about them all.

Becoming a nurse is not for the faint hearted, during my student years I saw many a student come and go, some leaving due to personal issues, financial issues, family commitments and some just because their expectations did not match what they experienced or what they dreamt of. I am happy that I completed these very tough years, even though sometimes I still cannot believe I finished, I was commended on our badging ceremony on completing the course with 5 children without s ingle complaint about the workload (I kept that to myself haha) and I am proud of that achievement.

I will always cherish the memories of my student years, making friends and meeting some fantastic mentors and sharing four years of my life across two cohorts of students at Oxford Brookes University, Swindon campus


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