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  • 27 January 2020
  • 14 min read

How to get involved and feel motivated with nursing

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Claire gives some tips to students and nurses on things you can do outside of nursing to help keep you motivated, feel good and on track in your nursing role - which can often be stressful.

Play video: what do you do outside of nursing to help you cope with the challenges of your job?

Topics covered in this video

0.00 Introduction

0.43 Research - overall other activities keep you focussed

4.34 Why get involved in additional activities when you're already busy?

6.11 What activities should you get involved in?

6.43 Do something fun

7.29 Do something different to take you away from work

8.05 How to get started on finding other activities - student nurses

8.59 How to get started on finding other activities - nurses

10.16 Push yourself to go and meet new people

12.08 Oh my god! I don't like this and need to back out! What to do...

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0.00 Introduction

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are in the world, whatever you're doing, hello and welcome back to my channel. My name is Claire Carmichael and I am a new qualified nurse but I'm way in my NMC pin registration.

In today's log I'm going to be talking all about extracurricular activities or even extra activities that you can do around this and to keep you motivated on track and actually make you feel good about yourself because it can be stressful being a nurse. It can be really tough and you do need that motivation and extra thing to keep you going.

0.43 Research - overall other activities keep you focussed

Firstly I wanted to get into the research side of this. Just a quick brief research. Don't worry, I'm not going to bang on too much about research but just happen a quick scroll through research on the effects of extracurricular activities on studies is actually if it has been found that it's positive and that it does keep you motivated as a student.

If you take part in extracurricular activities and it can keep you motivated on the course and keep you focused. However, many students don't actually like taking part in extracurricular activities.

Actually I think like is the wrong word to use there. I think a lot of people feel like they haven't got time to do this or they would much rather be resting and so I wanted to go out and have a look at some research that back this up.

I want you to see, okay is there any research out there that's been done that actually says this is why students don't take part in extracurricular activities and I actually found something, I found something really useful.

You can have a read for yourself but it says that people would rather rest on their days off and they also think that taking part in these extracurricular activities is going to have a negative effect on their studies because they obviously want to pass the course and being distracted from that might have a negative effect.

However, overall does have a positive impact. It keeps you motivated, it keeps you on track and it keeps you wanting to go back to university and do more and it sort of lifts your mood as well I think. Not only that, but it gives you a sense of satisfaction. It can bring out your confidence and it can really help a thing with things like that.

If you do struggle with things like that, like I did when I went into university, as some of you may know from my channel, I do everything. I threw myself into university. I got involved with as many things as I could as my lead volunteering things that I could. I did 101 things and it did keep me motivated. It kept me on track and it made me feel good and I've met so many people and so many friends from it.

It's a huge satisfaction knowing that I've done that in university and I can come out after the three years with no regrets. In just my own personal opinion. You have to make the most of these three years, you have to make these three years count because if you don't, it's going to be a very long three years that might drag a little bit for you.

So you have to do what you love and it doesn't have to be extracurricular activities, but go out enjoy yourself with friends, family, and just make them boast of your three years and it's just going to make a massive difference I think what you do in this degree.

As always, I'm just going to throw in this little disclaimer before I say anything else, but obviously all of you are individual. You've all got your own circumstances, your own different family life, your own different abilities, your own different skills, your own different interests in what you do and don't like doing. It's up to you to see what's out there, what you physically can and can't do, and don't do too much that you burn out.

Just use all of this information wisely and adjust to it adapt it and just do whatever you can do and whatever you can't do, obviously don't do.

If all of this makes sense. I don't know, but what I'm trying to say is make the right choices for yourself because just because I've done so much over these three years doesn't mean that you physically can. I don't have a family to sort of depend on me at home or anything like that.

I have had the time and the opportunities to do all of this so it's about winding what's right for you and your family and your life that surround you and just adapting and changing and adjusting things if you can. If you can't, that's okay as well.

If you are happy just rest in at home and having those days off to recharge, please do that as well because that's really important and you do need that as well. But I just wanted to show the extra activities can also lift your mood and motivate you.

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4.34 Why get involved in additional activities when you're already busy?

Why should you get involved with extracurricular activities when you already have so much going on? That's a really good question and trust me, I've been there and I've asked that. Why should I be getting involved in this because I've already got all this work to do. Haven't got time to do it, but do you know what? It's been amazing if you get involved in just one little thing like a volunteering position or if you just help out at uni for just one event or something like that.

Not only does it look good on your CV because you're doing more on your CV, you're going to add those bits to help you stand out when everyone's got the same degree, everyone's got the same experience. You are just using that little bit extra to throw into your CV or your application, job application, whatever you're applying for.

It'll just help boost that up, but also you do get a real satisfaction from doing these things. I genuinely, genuinely go home and I sleep well at night because I know that I've done all of these different things. I've helped out where I can and I've made friends along the way.

So not only is it going to help get you that job, but it will also boost your confidence. You're going to make friends, you're going to get motivated, you're going to feel good at the end of the day and you're going to be sleeping well at the end of the night because you know you've done amazing and you've done all that you can to make this journey amazing.

And it's so nice to get involved with other departments at university as well. So I didn't just do nursing related things, which is another important point that actually I have to make.

6.11 What activities should you get involved in?

That last point that I made actually takes me on nicely to my next point, which is if you're asking and wondering the question, what activities should I get involved in? I mean only you know that answer. You know what your interests are and what sort of things you're going to find fun and enjoyable. That is my main tip.

Find something fun and enjoyable that you are going to like as a person individually because you're going to get so much more from it. Then something that you really don't like, but you're just doing it so it looks good on the CV if that makes sense.

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6.43 Do something fun

Do something fun. Do something enjoyable. You know if you've got in your CV, "Okay, I helped out in a choir." "I was playing the spoons at the front." That's going to help you stand up. They're going to laugh at that because that's a great skill to have.

Something that not many people would probably put on their CV so they can bring it into the interview maybe and say, "Oh, so you play the spoons?" "Have your spoons ready?" Give them a show.

I hope that you understand what I'm getting out there. Something that really stands out. It's a little bit different is more of a bonus I think, but my second tip towards this is do something different. Like I've just said, because you are so focused on nursing, this degree is full-on nursing, caring for others, helping other people.

7.29 Do something different to take you away from work

Do something a little bit different that just distracts you from that. You can shut off and it sounds like a really selfish thing to do, but it's not. You have to be focused, like in my spare time I do my blogging. Okay, I'm talking about nursing related things, but sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I'm talking about other things.

I do photography on the side as well. Purely for myself, not for anything professional because I'm not that good and it just really does make a massive difference, but just find something that you're going to love, you're going to enjoy and it's just going to be a whole lot of fun for you.

8.05 How to get started on finding other activities - student nurses

Where do you start with these extracurricular activities? It's a really good question because people aren't going to come to you and say, "Do this, do that, do this." I mean some people might introductions at uni, sometimes you have the different societies and things at open days you'll have the different societies and things. But overall you don't find out about these things unless you go looking for them.

Pop into your SU, pop into and have a look on social media at Facebook groups. Have a look at your SU pages online, have a look on Twitter at your university because sometimes they post things, check your emails, check your newsletters from the universities.

Have a look at your university website as well at all the different societies. Just really explore the opportunities that are out there because you're not going to get handed everything on a plate and you do have to really look for things sometimes, but just make use of all of the resources.

8.59 How to get started on finding other activities - nurses

If you are a nurse watching this, you're qualified, you're not university anymore. Have a look at what's going on in your community. Have a look at different volunteering positions, have a look at even paid positions. So then you're going to get enjoyment from something you really love doing. So if you really love doing a particular activity, have a Google for it, see what's in your area that you can get involved in and that you can join.

Like knitting for example. A lot of people are doing knitting at the minute. They're making the little baby hats for hospitals and blankets. It's really, really cute and lovely. I love it. But if you want to get involved in something like that but you haven't got a clue like how to knit, Google it.

Google knitting classes! I don't know. I haven't googled in classes but I'm sure there's knitting classes out there for you if that's what you want to do or sewing or photography or cooking and baking. Oh my God. People make the most amazing cakes.

I think I'm going to look into that when I move on, when I've started my job and things. That's going to be my next thing I think is cake decorating because just get involved. Have a look at Google, ask your friends, ask your workplace, have a look at different charities and it doesn't have to be a nursing related charity. It could be absolutely anything.

10.16 Push yourself to go and meet new people

If you are that person that doesn't like doing things alone because your confidence isn't great and you'd rather have a buddy with you, but none of your friends want to do the activity that you want to do. That's a tricky one. You've got two options, I think here. Maybe more.

But you've got two options. One, push yourself, push through the fear and just go and you'll actually be surprised at how much fun you have. This was me. That was the thing that I did. I'm terrified. I used to be so terrified of going to be crowds and I still get some anxiety about it, but I pushed myself and the more you push myself, the more you'll be confident because you'll get there and you realize actually it wasn't that bad. It was all right.

The more you do that, the more you get used to it, the better you're going to be at it and the confidence will come. I promise you. The second option is beg your friends to come with you. You will find some family member or friend that will come with you, bribe them if you want to maybe offer them some tea and cake or maybe say, "Okay, come to this with me and I'll come to that with you."

Do it together in that sort of way. The other thing you could do is also ask your Facebook groups, actually it's a third option. Sorry, I've just thought of a third option.

Post in Facebook groups in Twitter pages because you might have like I've got a lot of online friends that I speak to you on social media, in boxing and things like that. I don't personally know you, but if I thought, "Okay, I'm in that person's area, why don't we do something?" I would message you and I'd be like, "Let's go do this."

Post on Facebook groups, post on your cohorts Facebook group. If you're a nurse post in your nursing group message your work colleagues. Someone I'm sure will want to come with you and if they don't, you're going to get off to go back to number one, push yourself. You can do this come on.

12.08 Oh my god! I don't like this and need to back out! What to do...

My last tip for this video is going to be all about what if you show up and you don't particularly like it. So what you've tried you don't like it, carry on. It doesn't matter. At least you've stepped outside the box and at least you've tried something new.

Be proud that you've done that. It doesn't mean that you've failed. It doesn't mean that you're a bad person. Just try do something different. Try look out for new things to do. You don't have to do something you don't enjoy, please don't do that and don't feel guilty about it.

If you didn't like it, well done. Well done for trying. Well done for pushing yourself and Well done for going and giving it a go because that is amazing I think and something out there is going to be good for you. You just need to trial and error these things and you'll find something amazing hopefully.

Also if you have children, get your children involved, go to things that you can get your children involved in.

You don't have to worry about them. There's stuff you can do in the school holidays as well when they're off school, get them involved and have that really nice family time together. I think that's brilliant. That's it from me. Thank you so much for tuning in and watching. If you haven't already subscribed, go here to subscribe to our newsletter.

I hope this video's been some sort of help to you. I hope that I've inspired you to go out there and have a look what's around in your area and if not, don't worry about it. I hope you have a well rested day. See you later.

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About the author

I am a Registered Nurse with over 12 years healthcare experience including: elderly care, orthopaedics, sexual health / family planning, qualified GP nurse, transgender healthcare and now in my new role as an assistant lecturer (as of Nov 2022). I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

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