LFS Introduces…Rebecca, a student Nurse

Hello! Please introduce yourself, and give us a brief summary about what you are doing just now.

I’m Rebecca, [age] 20 and a student at the University of Surrey, England. I am doing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Adult Nursing Studies. The course is a mix of 50% theory in lectures and 50% practice in different hospital settings. The course lasts 3 years and I hope to achieve my qualification in July this year! 🙂

How is it going?

I would need a million hands to count the amount of times I have wanted to give up and just say ‘this is too much’. The course is tough and most nights keeps me up way past midnight to finish work, research and read up on nursing practice etc. In spite of that it has gone far better than I could ever have expected. It gets more rewarding and exciting as each day leads to my qualification. It has been a roller coaster of ups and downs but I would not have traded it for the world.

How did you get into nursing?

It all started when I was around 12 years old. At first I wanted to be a Midwife – pretty ironic considering I never want to be a Midwife now I am doing the Nursing. However, I first got into it when my Mum liaised with Nurses as part of her job. I was fascinated by their demeanour, their uniform and the medical terms they used in conversation. Even though I was really interested in their roles I still maintained I wanted to do Midwifery. I was confident I would be offered a place on the course at the university of my choice. Wrong. The University of Surrey felt that I was too young to become a Midwifery student and they offered me a Nursing position instead. It was safe to say I was very upset and I felt like I had failed at something I always felt was my ‘calling’ to do. I was then offered a Midwifery position at another university. But I found that I was not as happy and jumping for joy like I imagined I would be. It was a really confusing couple of days for me! As I was toying between a career I thought I had always wanted to do and another I had been interested in but never really looked into it as ‘suiting’ me. I found it hard to believe that a panel of people thought I could make a good Nurse. After deliberating, researching and many conversations with myself I made a decision. And 3 years later it remains the best decision I have ever made! Nursing is the career for me 🙂

Has it been everything you expected?

Yes and No. I expected it to be hard, be long hours and tiring. I guess I expected the whole negative side to it…typical huh?! I never went into this course blind. However, one of the things I didn’t expect was just how comfortable I felt easing into the nursing role. I remember before starting my clinicals/placements all my friends talking about the injections, wound dressings and the people they had catheterised etc.. I remember thinking ‘How on Earth can I do that? What had I let myself in for?’ Yet when I was asked by other Nurses to carry out those types of interventions I surprised myself at how incredibly easy and comfortable I felt doing them. It was those moments I thought ‘I can do this!‘ and I never expected that!

What is your favourite thing about your role as a Nurse/Student Nurse?

It may come across cliché but without a doubt the people I care for. I adore getting to know them, their stories, their background, their humour and not just their illness and why they need nursing care. I enjoy making them smile when they feel very unwell. I love doing crosswords, or talking by their bedsides when they miss their family. I adore learning new skills and for them to trust me practising on them is SUCH a privilege. I love the fact that they are my patients for that shift and I am their Nurse to care for them.

What is the most challenging thing about being a Nurse/Student Nurse?

The sheer workload is tough to deal with. We constantly have to apply our theory of nursing knowledge into our nursing practice. That in itself is very draining. As well as having to do a 37.5 hour week (no pay!), earn money at weekends, have a social life and somehow fit adequate sleep into the equation all adds to feeling quite exhausted a lot of the time. I guess the only difference to when I am qualified is that I will be paid 🙂

What do you wish others knew about nursing?

I wish people knew just HOW HARD it is. I am not waving the sympathy flag because I chose to do this and I LOVE it. However, people don’t tend realise the importance of the nursing role and the lengths we have to go to ensure EVERYONE who needs us gets the care they need. Nursing is 24/7, 365 days a year. It never stops. We never shut our doors. A lot of Nurses I have spoken with have said that the public doesn’t tend to appreciate the nursing role until they need nursing care themselves. We can so easily judge the drunk person who stumbles into A&E with a bleeding wound to the head and say ‘you had that coming.’ We could so easily condemn a patient who has cancer related to their smoking and say ‘well the amount you smoke we’re not surprised your ill‘ – but we don’t. We simply just don’t. On a personal level to me, a simple smile and a ‘thank you‘ makes my day.

Who do you have supporting you?

I have a personal tutor who deals with all my queries related to work, placements and any worries. She is amazing and has helped me a lot. We also have our module leaders who are trained in certain aspects of Nursing care. For example, if I need assistance about wound care there is a link tutor who is specifically trained in wound nursing management and we can go to them. They are fantastic learning tools. Plus, I have my family and friends who are wonderful in letting me vent, cry or simply ask how it is going. I love them for just asking 🙂

What piece of advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of becoming a nurse or other health professional?

If you want to become a Nurse and you feel it is something you would love to do then do your research, apply and enjoy the journey. It has it many bumps in the road but also some extraordinary achievements that will never leave you – ever. My advice to other health professionals and people who are student nurses is to turn every negative into a positive. There have been people I have not enjoyed learning from and fields/branches of nursing that I find dull. However, those negatives have made me evaluate my communication skills with others and how I perceive peoples personalities. If there has been a placement/clinical area I have not enjoyed then I say to myself ‘this area is not for you so you don’t have to work in it when you’re qualified.‘ As a result of it happening it has helped me realise that surgical nursing and blood giving are my passions.

If people wanted to pray for you, what would you like them to talk to God about on your behalf?

That I hope the Nursing role continues to grow and reach more people, particularly those in more deprived/under developed areas. My biggest hope is that every single person in the world should have access to health care that is affordable and easily accessible. It’s tough to achieve but I know it can be done. Furthermore, the rate of people applying for nursing courses is dropping – fast. I would love people to pray that this picks up. I can only vouch for myself, but I adore Nursing and the person it is allowing me to become. My only hope is that others follow into this amazing career field.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Rebecca! We will be praying for you, and look forward to celebrating with you when you graduate this summer. 😀

You can engage with more of Rebecca’s writings and video blogs at ‘Making Memories‘.



2 Responses to “LFS Introduces…Rebecca, a student Nurse”

  1. 1 Lori Wilhite January 10, 2010 at 6:01 am

    We just spent the week with my sweet father-in-law were amazing. So thankful for caring people like you who will serve people and their families in this way. Thanks! 🙂

  2. 2 Laura Anne January 10, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I have so much respect for nurses, several of my friends work as nurses and it is a job that is so needed and makes such a difference to people during challenging times. It is so clear that you are unbelievably passionate about what you are training to do, thank you for sharing with us Rebecca!

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