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  • 01 May 2020
  • 8 min read

How to develop your confidence as a Student Nurse

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Play video: "It's really about improving as people, and therefore, that will seep into all areas of our lives"

Student Nurse, Claire, gives 5 tips on how to improve your confidence as you journey through your three years as a student nurse.

Topics covered in this article

0.18 Introduction

1.16 Practice makes perfect

2.42 The more you know, the more confident you'll be in your abilities

3.18 Prepare for your exams

3.54 Ask how you can improve

6.19 Remember, confidence comes from within

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0.18 Introduction

Today, I want to talk about confidence as a student nurse.

Confidence is something I've struggled with since the very beginning actually, because it really comes across if you don't have confidence.

There's a difference between being under-confident, and overconfident.

Sometimes they can get confused, because sometimes people come across as maybe overly confident, but actually they just have self-belief.

So that fine line I want to talk about today, and just things I've learned along the way to make myself feel more confident throughout placement.

And then, because I'm ready to start my job now, which is terrifying, but ready to take the next step, and to have a job, and not be that student nurse anymore.

So I want to talk about that.

1.16 Practice makes perfect

So the first thing with confidence is practice.

It always comes back to the more you do something, the better you get at it.

But with confidence, I feel like that's how you truly build confidence is just by learning, by doing placement, by doing the hours, getting the practice.

The more practice you have, the more confident you'll become.

I think confidence is huge because it's so important for you, as a student, and as a nurse, but also your patients.

I think if your patients don't feel that you're confident in yourself, that's very worrying.

I remember, in first year, I used to come across quite nervous, and obviously I look quite young, but looked even younger three years ago.

Patients would kind of say to me like, "Oh, are you still in school?" and say stuff like that.

And that would knock your confidence in itself.

But I think they said things like that because I came across as so young and immature and not confident.

So obviously, you can't help how you look, and if you're a shy person, you can't really help that.

But I think being confident in your skills is huge.

Because you don't want to go into a patient's room and have to ask to change the dressing or something, and for them to not want to trust you.

I think that all comes down to your confidence and your self-confidence in yourself.

And then they'll obviously start to maybe agree with you a bit more and stuff, if you feel like you're confident yourself.

So my number one thing would be practice. With time, confidence will come.

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2.42 The more you know, the more confident you'll be in your abilities

Also, if you don't know something, looking it up, researching in the background.

Because the more you know, the more confident you'll be in your abilities.

Like you don't often see lecturers not being confident, because they've been doing it for so many years.

They know what to do, they've been through it, they've had the experience.

There's a reason why they're lecturing in the subject, is because they're experts at it.

They know what they're talking about.

So just remember that it will come with time but also, actively try and improve your confidence because it's not just going to happen overnight either.

3.18 Prepare for your exams

Another way confidence can be improved is exams.

This might sound strange to some of you because it's like, "Oh, exams is when I feel the least confident".

But it kind of comes back to what I was saying about making the effort to be confident, making the effort to make that extra move to get that grade.

That will all add to your confidence.

Then if you prepare well for things like exams, essays, which are really, really difficult, if you prepare well for them and do well, that will then improve your confidence.

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3.54 Ask how you can improve

I would also say, while coming back to placement.

So this my third thing... So first, improve confidence with regards to placement, acting confident with time, it will come.

Number two, definitely through exams, studying well, doing the best you possibly can.

And if you don't do well, then at least you can say, "Okay, well, I need to improve because I tried my best and I still didn't pass," or whatever it may be.

And third, when you're on placement, I used to find this so difficult because it's kind of asking for criticism, but it's not, in a way.

It's asking for things you can improve on.

Sometimes people don't like to ask this because everyone wants to think they're good at something.

And yes, we all want to be good at things, but if you don't learn from your mistakes, or not even mistakes, your negative side, or your downfalls, then you're not going to improve.

So I, in placement, if I finish a shift or something, and the nurse is like, "Oh, thank you for today. You did well".

I'd be like, "Okay, but what can I improve on? Can you give me one thing that maybe I wasn't so good on?".

And they may be like, "Your confidence".

Which often came up, to be honest in, definitely, the first year and a half, two years, just because I didn't have self-belief that I could do it, which is really sad.

But it does come down to that.

And definitely, hearing someone say that, you're like, "Oh, okay, so I really do need to work on that".

Because if somebody else is noticing it, then it's not just me, secretly plodding along.

If the person assessing you has noticed, the person working with you has noticed.

And if they've noticed, then the patients definitely have.

So that's something to take into consideration, because it's easy not wanting criticism and not wanting things to improve on.

But if you don't know what you haven't done well, then how can you improve?

So that definitely builds confidence.

Finding maybe your weaker points and then working on them.

Then maybe the next time you work with that nurse, you can be like, "Oh, so what did you think of me now?".

And they can think you've improved a lot, your confidence has grown, and that all has come with time, which is pretty cool.

So I would recommend that if you want kind of like a point for placement.

And that's really helped me.

6.19 Remember, confidence comes from within

I think self-confidence comes from inside you. It doesn't come from external things.

So therefore, if we want to be self-confident, it doesn't matter whether it's in nursing or in life, I think working on your inner belief is definitely something that would be beneficial.

This seems like really wacky and maybe a bit hippie-ish, but it honestly will really help.

So working on your inner feelings towards yourself.

Because if your inner feelings towards yourself aren't where they need to be, then your outer confidence is going to be portrayed like that.

So how I improve my inner well-being, inner confidence, inner voice, definitely by meditating, by going on walks.

Obviously, at the situation at the moment, it's really difficult because there's a lot of isolation, a lot of loneliness, which is really hard, and I hope you're all doing as best you can with that.

But honestly, definitely meditation, reading books, listening to music, going on a walk, just having time with yourself.

I think becoming happy with your inner thoughts will then shine on the outside.

So that is definitely the biggest tip I can give you.

Work on yourself, and therefore your external will come too.

My battery is flashing, so I'm going to have to wrap this up quickly.

But thank you so much for watching, and I really hope these four tips have helped your self-confidence in regards to placement, life in general, really just your whole life because it's not all just about nursing.

It's really about improving as people, and therefore, that will seep into all areas of our lives.

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About the author

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.

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