My New Life as an NQN

#HelloMyNameIsTia and having studied at Surrey for the past few years and having run this blog for 2 years, it feels very bizarre to me to be writing this as an ex-student and a ‘guest post’. 

I have now been qualified for just over two months and in my new role as a registered paediatric nurse for 5 weeks. After much deliberation with myself, I decided to start out on a general paediatric ward in a local hospital to me but a different one to where I trained. For me it was really important to start off somewhere new, somewhere I wasn’t known as ‘the student’ and somewhere I could start freshly as an NQN and so far it’s been the best decision I made. 

My first day on my new job I was terrified, my stomach was full of butterflies and I was shaking trying to pour my drink into the bottle. The 45-minute drive felt like 5 hours and the walk to the ward up two flights of stairs felt like climbing Mount Everest (I did get lost on the way considering I had only visited the ward once and that was over a year ago). Pressing the bell to enter and saying ‘Hi, I’m the new nurse starting today’ was the most surreal feeling, I was guided into the staff room where I found my uniform and swiftly got changed into it, stopping to take a picture of myself in my blues and sending it to my family with a proud smile on my face. My manager then greeted me with my name badge, stating ‘Tia Dolphin, Paediatric Staff Nurse’ it felt like I was being given the most prestigious award, I think that was the moment the reality set in the most. I was no longer a student, I was a registered nurse. 

Everyone I’ve met along the way that works on the ward has been beyond welcoming and friendly. They’ve taken me under their wing and even after being inundated with a million questions from me they still smile and reassure me no question is ever stupid. This has been such a huge comfort considering there have already been many challenges and difficult shifts, it’s nice to know there’s a supportive team around me. 

My preceptorship runs over 12 months and compromises of many hospitals within the region. Thanks to covid these are being done over zoom, I had my first study day last week and became familiar with what the next year consists of. We’ve got a study day each month focusing on specialities such as oncology, respiratory and surgery. Alongside that, we are completing portfolios and competencies including medicine and IV competencies within the hospital (the learning never stops).

One of the strangest things I’ve found about being an NQN, but also one of the most enjoyable things is being able to supervise students. I’ve already been lucky enough to work alongside some great Surrey and Brighton students, and sign off certain elements of their portfolio! It’s amazing to be able to take some weight off those students shoulders and let them know I understand the stress and pressure and often we end up working things through together, which is a comfort to us both. 

Although I’m only 5 weeks into my job I am already so excited for the future and starting to plan where my career is going to go. However, for now, I am focusing on getting through each shift, embracing every challenge and continuing to learn every day!

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students and teaching fellows 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 Chloe Thomas ( or Aliya Stratford ( – we’d love to hear from you!