Don’t be so hard on yourself!

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

As human beings, we often fail to give ourselves credit for the good we do and achievements we make, but as nurses I think this is something we can struggle with even more.

You observed your patient working harder with their breathing, so bleeped the doctor who rushed them to the stabilisation room for rapid IV and oxygen treatment, but you were just doing your job. You sit with a mental health patient for over 2 hours playing a game with them so that they feel they can open up to you, but you were just doing your job. You did constant NG feeds every hour for the whole of the night shift, but you were just doing your job. You were the only member of staff who made any beds today, but you were just doing your job. You eyeballed your patient and had a gut feeling something wasn’t right, and you were right because they had surgery a few hours later, but you were just doing your job.

Since commencing this degree, I’ve realised we are all at fault of not reminding ourselves often enough of how well we’re doing on this rollercoaster ride. We can be far too quick to criticise ourselves and see the things we didn’t do, the things we haven’t achieved, or the things that didn’t quite go right, but I’m writing this to remind you that you are accomplishing or learning something new every day, which is an achievement in itself, even though you may not realise it.

You had to ask how to do something two times today, that’s okay, better to check and do it right than rush ahead and make a mistake because you were unsure. You checked your drug calculation four times just to be safe, that’s okay, keep doing that. You had to ask multiple times where something was on your new ward, that’s okay, you can’t be expected to have a satnav in your head. You can’t find inspiration for your latest assignment, that’s okay, you will. You gave yourself a day off to relax and do nothing, that‘s okay, you deserve to.

I think we can all agree that we are undertaking something really difficult and challenging. Yes, we love it, but that doesn’t mean it‘s always easy, or that we have to love every second. I’ve had times where I’ve felt guilty for not enjoying certain aspects of the course, because we worked so hard to get into university and are very lucky to be at such a good, respected one, but that is okay – youare allowed to have difficult days, and days where you wonder why you are doing this, or days where you don’t feel like you’re going to make it to the end of the degree. That day will end – every day is a new day, and every day is different than the one before. That’s one of the reasons why many of us chose this career path, because no two days are ever the same; I mean, what even is the word ‘boring’?!

Resilience is key in a profession like ours; we must dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up, reflect on what went wrong, or what we didn’t understand, or why we are feeling the way we do, seek out the answers, find a solution, ask for help and try again. We mustn’t focus on the negatives, but rather how we can turn them into positives and learn from them, to improve ourselves in our role as student nurses, but also just as people, developing our compassion, empathy and confidence. Why? Because we love what we do, and although we may not feel like we are good enough every day, we are. Why? Because it takes a certain type of person to be a nurse and we were chosen as those types of people, and just for that simple fact we should be proud.

So, take that pride, and remember to:

– celebrate every tiny victory

– try to see a little bit of good in even the worst of days

– remember the light that’s shining at the end of the tunnel, one day soon you WILL be a nurse

– believe in yourself

– keep trying

– learn from mistakes

– accept what you can change and what you can’t, and keep fighting to change what you can

– acknowledge how far you’ve come

– take time for yourself, and do the things that make you happy

– be patient, be open, be passionate, and be courageous.

Laura x

Author: Laura Meadows, 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.
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