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Opinion

You know you’re a Nurse when…

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Being a nurse is unlike any other profession in the world. You will develop and hold traits that only other nurses will understand.

We though we should lighten the mood a little. So we put our heads together and created this fantastic list – purely for entertainment value. Don’t forget to share your favourite “you know you’re a nurse when…”  on the comment section below.

You should also take a look at; 9 Ways Nursing is NOTHING like on TV and 10 Facts about being a Student Nurse.

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You know you’re a Nurse when…

  • You are never quite sure what day or date it is. The night shift started on Sunday the 21st but it’s now Monday the 22nd or is it Tuesday?
  • You clean your house with Chlor-clean. Oh, the deliciously clean smell of a hospital.
  • Either LOVE or HATE television programs about hospitals and nursing. Why isn’t nursing anything like Holby City or Scrubs?
  • You can talk about bodily fluids and still eat. It might gross other people out but nurses have an iron gut.
  • You can drink a litre of coffee and still sleep. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, coffee is always a good idea.
  • You sometimes forget some of your friends are not healthcare professionals. You talk about the norovirus outbreak, diabetics leg ulcer or infected wound like its normal.
  • You hear familiar sounds in your sleep. Wait. Why can I hear the IV pump or patient call buzzer at home?!
  • You judge people by their veins. I could EASILY get an orange cannula in there.
  • You have the Bristol Stool Chart on the bathroom wall. Good gastrointestinal health is the key to a healthy life.
  • Everyone tells you about their ailments. Your family, friends and even the people on the bus come to you for advise.
  • You know what a ‘Code Brown’ is. It’s a healthcare secret.
  • You have shoes you won’t wear at home. You know exactly where they have been.
  • You’ve seen people at their worst. It doesn’t change your opinion of them – life has highs and lows.
  • You have pockets full off… It could be anything; gloves, enemas.
  • You can’t remember when you list celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day. You get creative with holidays.
  • You love your job but hate the politics. You want to provide the best care for your patients but need to wade through the red tape.

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Opinion

‘Student nurses graduate with £54k of debt, shouldn’t we pay them a wage instead?’

The Government claims students are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care”.

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Student nurses are the unseen workforce and vital to patient care.

While I am pleased for the thousands of students who will soon be starting their journey to become a registered nurse, it comes with a stark reminder.

In November 2015, ministers announced the NHS Student Bursary and tuition fee payment would be cut in a plan to increase the number of available student places.

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Suffice to say, this hasn’t worked.

Instead, we have seen a consistent decline in the number of student nurses qualifying. Official figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show an overall decline in applications of 8% since 2015.

There is no debate that nurses need to be degree-level educated – but are student loans the best way to fill an ever-widing gap in our workforce?

The unseen workforce.

Student nurses are the unseen workforce and are sometimes vital to the delivery of safe, compassionate, person-centered care.

Completing over two-thousand hours of hand-on, direct clinical practice over three years – is it fair to ask them to accumulate up to £54,582 (plus 6.3% annual interest) of debt?

With a starting salary of £24,214, this is a debt the majority of nurses will never pay off.

The Government claims that because student nurses are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care” they need to be treated like all other higher education students.

While is it true that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) mandates that student nurses are considered ‘supernumerary’ – how realistic is this expectation? We hear stories of student nurses, trainee nursing associates and healthcare support workers being used to fill nurse staffing gaps on an almost daily basis.

A self-perpetuating cycle.

With an estimated 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS alone, health and social care services in England are stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Chronic under-investment in services has led to an increased demand on staff and subsequently affected recruitment and retention rates. Universities then fail to recruit enough nurses to meet the current demand and so the cycle continues.

The Royal College of Nursing has called on the Government to invest at least £1b per year into nursing education and come up with a long-term plan after its plan to increase numbers has failed to work.

Matching the proposed apprentice wage while student nurses are on placement would go some way towards alleviating the financial burden the government has placed on student nurses.

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Opinion

A fresh start?

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RCN Congress

I’m excited and I’m nervous. I qualified as a nurse just 15 months ago. I left a career in IT of “quite a few years” – I decided I needed a fresh start.

Now I’m sat on a train heading to my first ever RCN Congress. I’m a voting delegate and will be honoured to carry that responsibility for my branch.

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I’m also excited to finally be meeting people that I’ve solely (or mostly) only ever connected with online.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the various debates and resolutions. Listening to the speakers will further inform my views and I might even share a thought or two myself – fortunately speaking in public does not generally worry me (I’ll be the one with the ukulele).

A brief glance back to this time last year when certain “irregularities” were noticed by some members around the pay deal and communications regarding it.

The train of events that followed uncovered a number of poor practices regarding transparency and accountability and our current council were elected to address these.

I also mentioned I am nervous.

Recently, it has become clear that further “irregularities” have occurred – and questions will be asked.

Tomorrow morning is the Royal College of Nursing’s Annual General Meeting – an opportunity for members to ask questions. An opportunity for the council to demonstrate its commitment to openness, transparency, and accountability. An opportunity for a fresh start.

I genuinely hope the answers to the questions I raise are clear and dispel the concerns many of us have.

And if they don’t? Well, that’s why I’m nervous.

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