• 31 December 2019
  • 7 min read

The second half of my first term as a student nurse

  • Janet Mensah
    First Year Student Nurse

It’s been a busy 5 weeks since I last posted, so much has been going on. I'm about to go on placement, I have my new nurse's uniform and modules are going well. Here's what I've learned...

I attended an RCN Safe Staffing team SE Regional conference. It was educational, and I was able to meet different student nurses from Portsmouth and Winchester

How have you all been? It’s been a busy 5 weeks since I last posted about being a student nurse, so much has been going on.

My brand new nurses uniform

The first bit of news that I am ecstatic to tell you is that I have finally received information about my first placement. At long last!!

In a few days time (I start in January), I will be heading to the Urology & Hepato Biliary/Pancreatic Surgery in my brand-new student nurse’s uniform.

Is it possible to feel so overwhelmed yet so eager?

I’ve been learning vital skills before placement

For the past couple of weeks, my university has been teaching us vital skills that we are required to know before heading out to placement such as vital signs, infection and prevention control and physical care and delivery.

To further our skills, we must complete a mandatory self-assessment test on each skill we learn, that reminds me I need to complete mine by this Friday. Oops! 😕

Self-doubt is normal for student nurses

I do recognise no matter how much practice I receive from the university I am bound to still make mistakes once at placement, it just takes patience and more practice.

If anyone can advise me what to expect in a ward like this, I would be delighted; as well as any opportunities I should ask for!

As time draws closer to my first placement date, I am slightly worried whether I have chosen the right career, although I do acknowledge that it is completely normal.

I am so glad that I know people who are in more senior years than me.

They told me there would be times during my placement, and even throughout the university, that I would question whether or not I am doing the right thing but if I came to university with the intention of wholeheartedly doing nursing, I should never give up.

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Progress on my modules

I've practically completed my essay, the one I talked about in my previous blog, just need to make sure that the referencing has been done properly.

I can’t afford to have marks taken off.

To be honest, having the autonomy to choose my own essay question has made me want to put so much effort into the essay, that now I’m doing it as a pastime.

On the whole, Fundamental Aspect of Care (the module title) has been my favourite module so far.

The Anatomy and Physiology module is a different story altogether.

I had to make sure I caught up on revision during these Christmas holidays,.

But the good thing is that now that I have my presentation, essay and soon all my self-assessment test completed, I’ll be able to solely focus on the anatomy and physiology module.

Conferences and more conferences

Last week, I attended an RCN Safe Staffing team SE Regional conference.

It was educational, and I was able to meet different student nurses from Portsmouth and Winchester.

I also met other nurses from various health and social care settings, which was fascinating to hear about a day in their life.

I remember meeting a nurse who was explaining how she is currently in EUPW (Emotionally Unstable Personality Ward) and what her responsibilities include.

In the conference, we discussed the importance of safe staffing and the impact it has on patients from different healthcare settings.

It also made me realise that this attending conference is something I would love to pursue in 2020.

I am extremely delighted I attended; a fourth-year adult and mental health student nurse was attending the conference by car and asked if anyone wanted a lift, and two student nurses (including myself) from Southampton decided to take the offer up.

If you ever want to attend conferences like this, ask around, there would always be one or two people who would want to tag along.

This means you would have a travelling partner and would not necessarily be by yourself.

Upon this, I’ve made the decision to apply to become a student ambassador so we will see how that goes, I will update you guys.

Spoons theory

It is funny to think that this time last year I had researched the five universities I wanted to go to and had applied through UCAS and four had gotten back to me.

I remember spending my Christmas holiday practising what I was going to say for my interviews and going over GCSE maths.

A word of advice for those going through this situation is (as corny as it may sound) do not worry about the interviews just try your hardest, normally your dedication is shown through your words.

The lecture which I enjoyed the most this year must've been from the health science module; a patient suffering from a chronic health problem discussed how she self manages her condition.

She also explained the ‘spoons theory’, which is such an interesting theory that I need to explain to you.

It is a visual theory explaining the amount of energy an individual (normal those with chronic illness or mental health problems) has throughout the day.

We start the day with the same number of spoons.

Every action causes spoons to be lost.

People without chronic illness can rest and recover – so they have an abundance of spoons.

Those with a chronic illness, who cannot recover, only lose spoons.

Once all their spoons are gone they cannot be retrieved. It made me realise that we take things that we can do for granted, and that there are people who need to plan their time very carefully through each day.

My hopes for 2020

As the year ends and the new year approaches us, I am excited to see the new modules I would be learning.

To be honest, I’m unsure what my hopes are for 2020, but I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for me especially regarding placement.

I’ll let you know! As always I hope this has been insightful for anyone already studying or nursing, and inspirational for anyone thinking about nursing school.

Read Janet's last blog post

What I’ve learned in my first four weeks as a First Year Student Adult Nurse

About the author

  • Janet Mensah
    First Year Student Nurse

I am a first year student studying a BSc in Adult Nursing at the University of Southampton. I decided to step into the world of nursing due two events in my life. One was being in hospital myself for a short period of time and seeing how lovely and kind the nurses were to me. The second event was watching my cousin go into nursing and listening to her stories about the patient care she was able to give - it really inspired me.

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  • Janet Mensah
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About the author

  • Janet Mensah
    First Year Student Nurse

I am a first year student studying a BSc in Adult Nursing at the University of Southampton. I decided to step into the world of nursing due two events in my life. One was being in hospital myself for a short period of time and seeing how lovely and kind the nurses were to me. The second event was watching my cousin go into nursing and listening to her stories about the patient care she was able to give - it really inspired me.

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