- 22 July 2022
- 10 min read
How I Found My Confidence By Becoming A NurseSubscribe To Advice
Prescribing Nurse, Sophie, explains how she developed her confidence and self-esteem during her journey into nursing, and gives some tips for when you’re feeling low.
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Hi, everyone. I wanted to reach out to those of you who are struggling in your role as a Nurse or are thinking about going into nursing.
How I Became A Nurse
Seven years ago, I trained to be a Nurse, and I never thought I could be a Nurse ever. My self-esteem was rock bottom, on the floor.
And one day someone said to me "I think you'd be a great Nurse. Why don't you just see if you can, if you can do it, and if you can't, at least you tried and just be true to yourself."
And that was the push that I needed. I found out what I needed to do to get into uni, and I didn't have the grades.
I paid a tutor to help me with my maths 'cause it was absolutely rubbish. So I did that alongside college and I retook my GCSE, and I passed.
I applied for three unis and I got two. Couldn't believe it, and this was a push that I needed in itself because it was like, wow, a university wants me. It was amazing.
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Support During My Nurse Training
Throughout my training, it was stressful, but the support is there. Throughout my theory and my practical, there was support, which improved my self-esteem and my confidence.
I often got feedback from patients, mentors, nurses, doctors to say how great I was doing. I was only in my first year, but they thought I was in my third year. Lovely comments and that pushed me to do more.
I wanted to do more, wanted to be a better, and I collected all my thank you cards and feedback, and I kept it all. And when I was feeling like, oh my goodness, I can't do this anymore, I read through all of my comments and all of the feedback when I was having a bit of a rubbish day, and it really helped spur me on.
Keeping In Mind Why I Got Into Nursing
I had to keep in my mind why I had gone into nursing, and I had gone into nursing because my nan had a bit of a rubbish time when she needed someone to care. It was a bit rubbish, and I didn't like that, and I wanted to change that.
So every time, even now, I have a bit of a rubbish day at work, I think, "Sophie, why did you go into nursing? Because you wanted to improve. You wanted to change." And I keep that in the back of my mind, and it does help.
As I went through my training, my confidence picked up and not only in my role as a Student Nurse did it pick up. It picked up in my outside life, in my personal life.
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Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone
Then I applied for my first job, and everyone was applying for A&E and all these amazing places, and that was a bit scary for me.
Even though I knew I could do it, I felt I needed to go somewhere that I could not really pick up skills but learn my confidence a bit more as a Qualified Nurse.
So I went to a local hospital, and it was a day surgery unit, and it wasn't very exciting. My friends and my peers were a bit like, "Oh, day surgery, what are you gonna learn there?"
I needed to learn confidence, and that's what I did. I learned other clinical skills, but ultimately, I learned "you can do this." I did my mentor training, which I couldn't wait. After a year, I did it. I went back to uni and I did it.
Things are a bit different now, but we had to go to uni at the time, and I couldn't wait to be a mentor and make them feel valued and empowered because a lot of the times, as a student, I didn't, and I wanted to change that.
Becoming A Band 6
After two years, I went to another surgical unit but it was an acute one in a university hospital, and I went there because I was ready to take the next step.
And with it being a university hospital, I thought I could learn more and there'd be a bit more funding for me to do all the courses, and it would be a stepping stone, and I wanted to get my band six as a sister.
I got the job there, and I was there for about a year, I think. And then the sister's post came up and I thought, "I'll go for it." So I went for it and I got the job and that was brilliant.
That was a confidence push. And I put my uniform on and I was chuffed, absolutely chuffed, best day ever. 'Cause suddenly within three or four years, I was a band six.
How I Found My Current Role
I had a look and there was a job going for a substance misuse practitioner. I had no experience 'cause I just spent all that time in surgical, but I thought, "I'm gonna go for it." So I went for it.
I went to the interview and they said, they asked me about my experience and I told them, and said: "I'm a blank canvas and you can paint me how you want me to be. I have no bad habits. I'm willing to learn."
They really liked that. So I got the job and I'm still there, and it's in a prison, and it's a completely different world to hospital life, and it was hard to adapt.
Once I did adapt, I found my feet and I found myself to be a lead, not only doing substance abuse but also a lead in sexual health, so hepatitis, sexual health diseases, and I love that.
I also wanted to do my prescribing and I'd heard so many people say how hard the course is, but it just spurred me to do it even more 'cause I thought, "I've done all this. I can do it. I know I can."
And it was in the height of COVID lockdown, so it's a bit scary doing it then because hard to access support and things like that, but I passed last September.
Push Yourself & Believe In Yourself
The moral of the story, guys, is if your self-esteem or your confidence is low, you have to push yourself and believe in yourself.
Think about why you went into nursing or why you want to go into nursing, and all of those times where strangers, patients, staff have said to you, "Thank you for today. You're amazing. You're brilliant, thank you".
Because that's what matters. When you're having a rubbish day, think of that.
You can do anything that you set your mind to and the more people that you meet, the more experiences that you have, the more training that you do, the more practice development that you do, the more you're like a sponge and soak up all of that knowledge and information, the better your confidence will be.
You have to seek support. If you're struggling, you have to reach out because how can anyone know that you're struggling if you don't say that you're struggling? And you'll find that the support is there if you just reach out.
We need to support nurses because we need good solid nurses to improve patient care because ultimately at the end of the line is the patient, and if we are flapping about and we don't know what we are doing and we say things like, "Oh my God, I've never done this before" or "What's this," it reduces the patients trust in us.
And I think as nurses, we have got quite a good reputation. We're quite trustworthy as professionals go. But it's little things like that, putting trust into your patients also improves our confidence.
Feedback as well, feedback is great. So guys, I hope that's helped. Think about what I've said and reflect on it in your own practice. Thank you.