Nursing is definitely one of the most misunderstood careers and Nursing courses have one of the highest university drop-out rates.
This is because each year tens of thousands of students start their Nurse training without understanding what the job entails and how much time, dedication and love of the job it requires.
Below a is short and concise list of 10 Facts about becoming a Student Nurse alongside things you should consider before you start training as a nurse. I don't mean to put you off - I'm just trying to be honest!
- It's hard work. This is something I can't emphasise enough. During your three years of training you'll be working 37.5 hours a week plus doing coursework, research and evidence for practice. If you're thinking of becoming a Nurse because it's easy - think again. Besides, it doesn't just stop there, Nursing is a highly academic subject and you'll be expected to develop and learn throughout your career.
- You'll be expected to work shifts. Students Nurses will be expected to work long days (12-13 hours), short days (7 hours), nights and weekends. Your shifts will tend to match those of your mentors.
- You won't have much of a social life. Well you will but it will involve fellow student nurses, books, study and falling asleep by 9pm or drunkenly comparing stories of the interesting things you've seen today.
- It's an emotional rollercoaster. You will have the best and worst days of your life during your training. You'll make a lot of life-long friends but you'll also hold the hand of your dying patient as they take their final breath.
- You'll be cleaning up every bodily fluid possible. Urine, faeces, vomit, sputum, blood, pus and many, many more your can't yet imagine.
- Nobody else will understand. Your non-nursing friends will not understand your job. They won't understand why you've had a bad day and they won't want to hear about it. You'll also constantly dispel the myths that Nursing is "sexy".
- You'll start from the beginning. Don't expect to start giving out medications, placing IV lines and 'healing' patients on your first day. You'll start with the basics and progress as you master those. Good patient care is at the core of nursing values.
- You can't write your job description. Your job isn't just giving out medications and making people better, you're also a social worker, councillor, cleaner, carer, chef, riot police, negotiator, security, interpreter and a multitude of other things...
- You'll develop a weird sense of humour. You won't be shocked easily so Nurses tend to develop a weird and slightly odd sense of humour.
- Nursing isn't just a career - it's a lifestyle. You'll become a Nurse in every part of your life; friends and family will call you for advice and strangers will ask you to look at their bunions on the bus.
The above list is by no means complete - being a Student Nurse then ultimately a Registered Nurse will affect your life in ways you simply can't understand right now. You'll be present during the worst and best times in people's lives - a privilege you should never underestimate, people will hang onto every word you say and your actions can and will result in life or death.
Are you a Qualified or Student Nurse? Tell us the best and worst things about your job in the comments.