When you first qualify as a nurse, its easy to forget about all the other students that have qualified, and not just those from your cohort but also those from other cohorts and even other universities. It’s not like all of these brand-new nurses suddenly have jobs to go to, everyone is fresh and keen to get a nursing job and put into practice everything you have learnt.

It can be very disheartening applying for job vacancies and not hearing back from any of them, especially not even being offered interviews. It was a couple of months of applying before I eventually got a job offer, I was prepared to work full-time and went for the interview for a general/vascular surgical ward. However, things were not going to go as I had planned. I received a call from the ward manager offering me a part-time position, I wasn’t ecstatic but I was pleased to get a position and a foot in the door, so to speak, I was given my start Date for mid-October of 2005. However, shortly before my start date my world was turned upside down.

On 4th October 2005 my eldest child who was only 12 years old was hit by car on a pedestrian/cycle crossing and suffered a traumatic leg injury. During his 7 days of hospitalization the ward manager called to offer a change of contract from part-time to full-time, unfortunately I had to decline, explaining that I would need to care for my son whilst he recovered so continued with the part-time contract. After eighteen weeks of treatment including external fixation and casts my son finally healed from his injuries, this took us right up to February 2006, shortly after in March 2006 while attending a family funeral in Northern Ireland I received a call from a friend looking after my youngest child who was 3 years old to be told she had been mauled by their family dog suffering with a facial wound that required surgery. I flew straight back home to care for her. I continued working part-time but in may of that year my marriage broke down when I found my husband (now ex) with my ex next door neighbour.

Needless to say, my first year as a registered nurse was pretty traumatic and my memoires marred by the events that occurred. However I do have some memories from that time, e.g. I remember learning about maggot therapy in wound healing, I remember patients experiencing phantom pain in amputated limbs, I remember my first experience of performing last rites  on a patient that had passed, I remember losing my first patient, I also remember having to drive all the way back to work after reaching home on Christmas eve with the medication keys in my pocket. So few but so precious memories.

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