When you compete with no one, no one can compete with you.

#HelloMyNameIs Ellie, and I am a third year student children’s nurse.

All things that work together often achieve a greater outcome for example Ant and Dec, Ben and Jerry, wine bottle and straw. These things work because they are united, they are a team. This isn’t to say that each individual thing is not good on its own, but it’s the power of using each individuals’ qualities and skills and combining them together in order to make something stronger, greater and more positive. In case you hadn’t already realised, I am now referring to people – although I am just as passionate about the togetherness of a wine bottle and a straw.

It’s important to remember that we all started our course at the same level, despite all bringing different experiences and knowledge to the table. Some of us may have already worked in healthcare for years, others may have just left school; some may have kids, others may never have held a baby; for some, independence comes naturally, for others this concept is new…but this is okay. These are the things that we should embrace together to build a stronger team and encourage and empower each other when we’re working together out on the frontline in placement.

Placement is an amazing, exciting and opportunistic place to be, but can be made better and richer when you embrace the opportunity to work together with other students, after all we are all in the same boat. Placement can also be a very daunting experience for all kind of reasons! Being in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar role can be so intimidating that sometimes we doubt our abilities and feel totally out of our depth. These vulnerabilities can sometimes make us feel like we need to prove that we are capable of doing things and can be interpreted as a level of competitiveness existing between students. Recognise that this is something that happens, and we can all be guilty of it, but take a second and remember how much better your time at placement is when you’re working with each other, not against each other.

Let me set the scene for a second: you’re in A&E resus and your mentor has just asked you to run and get a piece of equipment which you have never heard of before from the gigantic stock room, which is shared with adult A&E. She doesn’t know where exactly this piece of equipment is but she’s ‘sure you’ll find it’ (good luck!). You can’t find it. You’re now overthinking how the scenario will play out when you go back to resus empty handed and how incompetent you will look to everyone after not being able to complete a simple task…UNTIL you bump into another student who knows exactly what you’re talking about and exactly where to find it, lifesaver!

Okay so this was actually me right at the beginning of second year *facepalm. I’m sharing this with you because after this happened, me and the other student naturally worked really well together, we built a really strong working connection as well as friendship, demonstrating the importance and value of working unitedly with fellow student nurses and not in competition with one another.  We hear about ‘teamwork’ a lot throughout our course, but I never really appreciated the value and benefits of it until being on placement. It can transform your entire placement and make it easier, less stressful, funnier and those 12.5-hour days will fly by!!

To those of you reading this last sentence, thank you for sticking around until the end and I hope I haven’t rambled on for too long! Be kind to yourselves as well as each other, its going to be a fun one!

El x

Author: Ellie Mee, Year 3 Student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

If you’re interested in writing a blog post for us – whether it’s a one-off about something in Nursing you’re passionate on, or as a regular contributor, please email Beth Phillips (bp00183@surrey.ac.uk), Ellie Mee (em00607@surrey.ac.uk) or Maddie McConnell (mm01664@surrey.ac.uk) – we’d love to hear from you!