Epilogue: Newly qualified children’s nurse.

I did it. It took blood, sweat, tears (a lot of tears) and an iron will to get through 3 years of paediatric nurse training. Would I do it again? Absolutely not. Was it worth it? I desperately hope so.

I went into nursing because I wanted to make more of a difference in children and families lives than I did as a support worker – not that support workers don’t make a difference, but for me I wanted to be the one who made the decisions rather than the one who was doing all the work, spending the most time with a child/family and feeding back information to others who would then make important decisions. I often felt extremely frustrated with the hierarchy in my workplace because I knew what needed to be done for a particular child or family but would be met with derision from some professionals. I think having the experience on the other side has been really valuable for me to reflect on as a student nurse when working with other staff. (What is funny is that I then chose to enter a profession which had an extremely clear cut hierarchical system!)

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I digress. My last blog post was in my first weeks of my final placement. Unfortunately, that placement was the final nail in the coffin for me regarding hospital nursing. The ward was particularly tough and wrought with staffing issues although the team were absolutely amazing. I really admired their resilience because there were some weeks which were incredibly difficult. I think I was lying to myself in the hope that I would eventually enjoy working in hospital but I just know deep down that I won’t. A lot of nurses and other people have said to me that I should do a year in a hospital for experience but I just cannot see myself surviving the wards. Would it be worth taking the chance? I don’t know.

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I did apply for a student health visiting post and I was due to start next week but that has collapsed because I need to pass my driving test to start the course. I am nearly at test level, but quite frankly the enormous amount of pressure on me to pass has rendered me into a blithering mess every time I step into the car. It has been non stop since I finished the nursing course – we moved to Hampshire and I needed to learn to drive in a short space of time. It has made me feel like a failure and my confidence has been knocked. However, onwards and upwards, I do feel much better this week because I am not settling for any old job just because I am newly qualified. I have worked for many years before nurse training and I undertook the training in order to have better job satisfaction. If I went through three years of hard graft to end up in a job I disliked then I just think none of it would have been worth it and I’d be doing my patients and their families a disservice.

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Maureen from Driving School. Pretty close to her level of driving at the moment.

The good thing about nursing though is that there are a lot of opportunities to branch off into different areas and environments. I am looking into children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and other community nursing type roles. I developed an interest in policy , legislation and sociology during my degree which has really shaped how I want to nurse. I have always had an interest in CAMHS having liaised with them in my previous job  in social services and constantly trying and failing to organise placements in a CAMHS service during my training. It is funny that I have come round full circle to wanting to go back to working with children with autism, severe learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and mental illnesses. I really miss the satisfaction of working in a disability/mental health service, despite the slashes to services, because I just found it so challenging and extraordinary to work with such amazing children and families.

So I have found myself in the laughable position of being unemployed when there is a nurse shortage. What I have found is that it is not as simple as a “nurse shortage” it is more a “money shortage” with many places wanting the nurses but not having the money for the job post needed and if they do they then do not have the money to train staff when they are employed. Anyway, I keep banging on doors in the hope that one may open!

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Channelling the crystals like Spencer when I feel like I’m going round in circles.

I will be interested to see what happens by Christmas. I am very bored of being off and would love to be working! Then I may have a cheerier blog post in which I navigate the newly qualified nurse transition…!

Has anyone else had the same issue where they haven’t gone straight into employment after completing their nurse training?

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