Getting a job

The end is in sight, you’re in the last year of your nursing degree and everyone’s either talking about dissertation or if they have a job or not?

Dissertation aside – what if you haven’t got a job offer yet?

 

Students will get job offers at different times through out their final year some may not get an actual offer too. Either way it’s ok! We are all different and have had different journeys through our degree, it does make you a better nurse if you have a job offer and it certainly does not mean you are not as good as your friends if you don’t have an offer!

Try not to feel too pressured on getting a job after all there are lots of reports and figures out there suggest that around 90% of nursing graduates are in work six months after qualifying (obviously stats do vary on location and year to year but it mostly stays a high percent currently). Lots of students get job offers on their last placement but don’t be disheartened if you are not one of these either, every team is different.

Don’t be afraid to accept a few offers too. You don’t have to just take the first thing that comes along. Remember you can always say no at a later time if something better comes along. Ask questions about a job, where it can, what support you get, your first job may be a bit daunting so you want to feel safe and secure in role too.

There are more options out there as well as the NHS to consider too. Some students go into private sector nursing places, agency or bank work, plus there are also options to work abroad, in schools and  local councils employs nurses as do charities. There are voluntary organisations that need nurses and prisons and the armed forces. Lots of options so keep an open mind on your options and location for employment.

Universities offer a career service support, they will be able to help you with interview techniques, applications and support and signpost for job hunting no matter what sector you want yo work in. Help is out there. Check the NHS job site plus general job pages too.

Jobs fairs are usual held in your third year so go along and see what employers are there. You might even get recruited there!

Lots of NHS trusts hold open days. Check their social media pages/accounts for events, go along and find out more, they often recruit on the day there too.

As a newly qualified nurse you are a great asset, you are fresh and ready to start your journey in nursing  and hopefully don’t have any bad habits! You are up to date with new and recent information, research and strategies that will bring a new pair of eyes into a role or department. You choose your job that’s right for you!

 

Advertisements

You’re a Qualified Nurse!

Congratulations!! 

You have graduated! You are now a qualified nurse! 

Yes those three years that felt very long at times have flown by and you’ve passed your last multiple choice exam and written your last essay and possibly lost the will to live writing your dissertation out.

And if you’re fortunate enough you’ve got a new job starting very soon or maybe you’ve already started.

Image result for omg

Again, those differences with your peers stand out as some take to being an employed qualified nurse like a duck to water… others are petrified still. The thought of being responsible and held accountable for all your actions and everything that happens to your patients!?! We are all different remember and every trust and team are different and work in different ways

You should be on a preceptorship in your new role which allows you to settle in. You should build up at your own pace your confidence in the role you now have. Your workload should be lighter than your work peers and you should have a preceptor to support you through.

There should be contacts and time available in your shift/daily routine to allow you to reflect and give you time to learn all about your specific responsibilities and how the other teams around you work to support your patient on their journey.

As with being a student nurse – don’t be afraid to ask, no question is daft. Make sure your team know your strengths and your weaknesses so they can support you effectively. Use your preceptorship time as an opportunity to explore other departments, you should be allowed time to learn from them to – a bit like spokes still but with a more focused view and outcomes set.

Change can be good but sometimes things don’t always go to plan. You may find yourself not enjoying your new role as much as you’d thought or you may find something new you didn’t know existed out there. Be honest with yourself and seek support from your preceptor. People do move jobs in their first 12 months. It’s better for you and your patients if you a comfortable in your role.

Supervision should be part and parcel of your nursing role giving you a chance to discuss events or patients that you need support with or after. Some places will offer peer support sessions too where you can discuss thoughts and experiences with people in a similar position as yourself. Try and keep preceptorship time separate from this, preceptorship is about you and your learning not your caseload specifics. Every work place will have various tasks, limits and time frames on preceptorships, so don’t worry if others are getting signed off and you’re not. Take your time and make the most it… trust me!

Remember your portfolio? Certificates and reflections etc, keep it up. Use your skills to carry on and show your lifelong learning. It will make revalidation so much easier when your time come, one thing us new nurses have the advantage of now.

Being a newly qualified is far from easy but remember this is just the start of a new journey, keep your eyes and ears open, don’t forget to ask, question and don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas too – remember you are fresh from university with perhaps a more update focus, a new pair of eyes etc.

Continue to strive for the best for your patients and yourself!

Related image

 

 

You’re a Qualified Nurse!

Congratulations!! 

You have graduated! You are now a qualified nurse! 

Yes those three years that felt very long at times have flown by and you’ve passed your last multiple choice exam and written your last essay and possibly lost the will to live writing your dissertation out.

And if you’re fortunate enough you’ve got a new job starting very soon or maybe you’ve already started.

Image result for omg

Again, those differences with your peers stand out as some take to being an employed qualified nurse like a duck to water… others are petrified still. The thought of being responsible and held accountable for all your actions and everything that happens to your patients!?! We are all different remember and every trust and team are different and work in different ways

You should be on a preceptorship in your new role which allows you to settle in. You should build up at your own pace your confidence in the role you now have. Your workload should be lighter than your work peers and you should have a preceptor to support you through.

There should be contacts and time available in your shift/daily routine to allow you to reflect and give you time to learn all about your specific responsibilities and how the other teams around you work to support your patient on their journey.

As with being a student nurse – don’t be afraid to ask, no question is daft. Make sure your team know your strengths and your weaknesses so they can support you effectively. Use your preceptorship time as an opportunity to explore other departments, you should be allowed time to learn from them to – a bit like spokes still but with a more focused view and outcomes set.

Change can be good but sometimes things don’t always go to plan. You may find yourself not enjoying your new role as much as you’d thought or you may find something new you didn’t know existed out there. Be honest with yourself and seek support from your preceptor. People do move jobs in their first 12 months. It’s better for you and your patients if you a comfortable in your role.

Supervision should be part and parcel of your nursing role giving you a chance to discuss events or patients that you need support with or after. Some places will offer peer support sessions too where you can discuss thoughts and experiences with people in a similar position as yourself. Try and keep preceptorship time separate from this, preceptorship is about you and your learning not your caseload specifics. Every work place will have various tasks, limits and time frames on preceptorships, so don’t worry if others are getting signed off and you’re not. Take your time and make the most it… trust me!

Remember your portfolio? Certificates and reflections etc, keep it up. Use your skills to carry on and show your lifelong learning. It will make revalidation so much easier when your time come, one thing us new nurses have the advantage of now.

Being a newly qualified is far from easy but remember this is just the start of a new journey, keep your eyes and ears open, don’t forget to ask, question and don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas too – remember you are fresh from university with perhaps a more update focus, a new pair of eyes etc.

Continue to strive for the best for your patients and yourself!

Related image

 

 

Tools of the Trade – Mental Health Nursing

toolbox-29058_960_720

Assessment or screening tools are key to gathering a whole wealth of information from a client and they can often lead to them opening up about other or underlying issues that may be impacting on their health. How and what they answer can give you insight into their current feelings about things as well as provide a baseline of presentation to record any future changes and used to point towards treatment required. Being able to monitor someone’s recovery progress can help staff encourage and motivate a person, just as being able to monitor someone’s deterioration can help staff adapt treatment and interventions appropriately.

Tools are not always perfect and we have to work with them openly and carefully using them as a guideline to help support the treatment or diagnosis we provide. Below is a short list of the some of the assessment tools you might come across on placement;

The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) – Used for Anxiety & Depression can be used in community as well as hospital. It is a 14 question Psychological screening tool assessing the severity of symptoms.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD-7) – Screening tool used to measure the severity of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. 7 questions that can be administrated by a health care professional or self-administrated by the client themselves.

The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) – Commonly used short assessment used for screening for any dementia or cognitive impairment concerns are suspected. It measures cognitive functioning, and can be used to monitor change. 11 item tool taking around 10 minutes to administer making it a quick and useful tool to use.

The Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination (ACE) –  Well validated assessment tool for clinic setting assessment of cognitive functioning. This measures cognitive domains including language, visuospatial, memory and attention.  Usage is usually in part with other screening tests such as blood test, ECG and MRI scan to inform a diagnosis.

The Liverpool University Neuroleptic Side Effect Rating Scale (LUNSERS) – Is a self-assessment tool for measuring the side-effects of antipsychotic medications. Red herrings are included to check the accuracy of the results. The 51 questions are based on true side effects with 10 being false  ones aim to help patients Identify, understand and gain awareness of side effects they could be experiencing.

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) – A basic screening tool used to pick up the early signs of hazardous and harmful drinking and identify mild dependence and highlight if a need for assisted withdrawal is required.

There are many varied tools assessing risk used by health care professionals in all fields and in  a wide variety of settings. It is important practitioners should take care to always explain what is involved,  how long it will last and how they can help a patient and their treatment.

Using an assessment tool can help uncover more information about a patients situation and help to encourage conversation that could provide valuable information to inform their care is more personalised and help reduce risk.

Keep your assessment tool box handy and help patients access all areas in health care support.smile

I’m a Newly Qualified Nurse! OMG!

So Now What?!?

For me? Well I  did it!!– I’ve qualified – Passed all my exams PADs all signed off.

I’m even lucky enough to have myself a job!! EEK!!

Wow! Looking back what an amazing three years at uni I’ve had. Its such a blur in regards of what I’ve learnt but such a feeling to say I’ve done it. Its had its ups and downs but looking back I know they have all helped me get where I am today – In my first job as a qualified nurse! WOW again! staff-nurse

So was it worth it – am I fully prepared for my job?? Yes and No would be my answer to that.

No – because is anyone ever ready and fully prepared for a job you barely know? Of course not!

Yes – because – well actually I’ve surprised myself how much I do actually know and how much I do actually remember! Even those first year lectures are still stored in my upstairs somewhere and come back to me when I need them. Yes of course I am talking at a very basic knowledge level here but recognising and accepting I am at the bottom rung again knowledge wise in my role is the best way to be. I’m very luck in that I have a great team around me who are supporting and encouraging my continuing learning in my chosen field because that’s what Its like – starting all over again but this time you are doing all the work, you are making those decisions (with support), you are a nurse!

Its an amazing feeling – and responsibility rolled into one.responsibility

So then there is this thing called Preceptorship – Some department areas it seems are more organised than others in how it all works and fits around new starters. The key to remember is we are all different, jobs and departments are different; just like it is in placements. Don’t compare what you are getting too much with others. Your preceptorship should suit your needs as well as the job you have.

Little information was provided to us about what happens once it’s all over and you enter the ‘real world of nursing’ but as we all know – everything is changing all the time, things are rarely the same twice.

In university, as previous students, we input our voice on things we felt were good, bad or ugly. We did our best to change things for future students. The same is to be said in healthcare as a profession. Everything is continuously assessed, evaluated and changed where necessary, to achieve the best standards for all those involved, workers and patients alike. So get used to it – it will happen.

Qualified life so far is scary but awesome. I feel like a student still in someways but when I make those important care plan decisions myself, I know my training has paid off and I am confident in my judgement. Expect the unexpected and believe in yourself and you got this!! smile

p.s. Pay the NMC as soon as you get your pin number through from uni ! It can be done online straightaway so start saving now!

So What Kind of Nurse Are you?

As I started my first year at university to undertake my nursing degree in mental health nursing I looked around and thought – I don’t fit in!

What am I doing here – a 37 year old with a background in the travel industry?

bird odd image

Surrounded by a majority of people in their twenties who all seemed so knowledgeable on nursing I felt so behind and out of my depth! As the year passed and I overheard people talk about things they had done on placement or listened to them talk so informed in lectures etc. In honesty? –  I still felt I knew nothing compared to them.

penguin-153660_1280By second year however I had passed all my exams and placements and started to feel hang on I can do this I do know stuff – different stuff! Just because I can never remember which way round the sections are or if a medication is an anti-depressant or anti-psychotic straight off doesn’t not mean I wont make a good nurse. One staff nurse on placement gave me sound advice, she said you will learn what you need to learn for your job in your job as you will be seeing it every day. As a student we are bombarded with a constant changing supply of medications and illnesses and practices to learn, we cant remember it all!

Eventually I got the hang of the sections and most of the medications (although sometimes I still have to use the BNF.)The main thing I learned however from colleagues and other nurses on placement, but mainly through my own observations of these groups, was that it takes all sorts of nurses to make up good nursing care.

There are so many different branches of nursing, for example in mental health you have acute wards, recovery or assessment units, community teams such home treatment and crisis. There’s elderly care, CAMHS, eating disorders, early intervention… the list goes on. Each of these departments needs special skills and a special kind of person to do it. Then within that team each patient they see is an individual and will require or connect with a certain type of nurse.

We all have a role to play.star trek team

So no matter who you are or what your skills are you will find your niche in time. The beauty of the degree course these days is the mix of placements you get. I was luck as one placement just hit me and I knew where I wanted to work for sure, I’d had an idea I wanted to work with the elderly but my placements confirmed which area for me as some I loved and some I hated. I am pleased to say I am due to start my career with a Dementia Team this year and I’ve never been more excited as I know this is where I belong and I feel confident in my knowledge and skills to really make a go of this and look after the patients in my care with confidence.

You will learn what you need to learn in your time and in your own way throughout the three years of your training. What you will learn and experience in  this time will be unique to you  – but that’s what will make you the kind of nurse you want to be!

12716009_10153859924050729_3753430158131396908_o

Supporting Patients with a Learning Difficulty

 

Between 25 and 40% of people with learning disabilities also suffer from mental health problems, with dementia and schizophrenia showing a higher prevalence. Standards of care for those with an identified learning disability have been under the spotlight since appalling levels of care were highlighted in the media relating to a specialist care home – somewhere that should have been a safe haven for those in need of support. Questions were raised about in-patient services for those with a combination of a learning difficulty and a mental illness who presented with behaviours that were challenging and what care options should be provided. It must be highlighted that not everyone presenting with these combination of diagnoses will present with challenging behaviours. Everyone is different but we all deserve the same level of care.

PrenticeHandMural

In placement as a mental health student I have observed patients being brought onto a general mental health acute ward who have a diagnosed learning difficulty. I have seen both good and poor practice observed. I have seen staff gain a real understanding of a patient’s condition and how the patient see’s and understands the world. I have seen other patients on ward stand up for and support a patient with learning difficulties and sadly seen others exacerbate the patients current mental state. Knowing how to support and care for the patient as an individual in this situation is crucial as well as manage the others in your care in the same way.

Learn more about the patient’s condition just as you would a standard mental health patient. Asking the patient directly can also be a great way to gain understanding of they view their situation. Asking a carer or family for advice, again in the same manner you would with other admissions helps to promote equality and improves the care you can provide. Find out if they have any extra physical or communication needs that need support as it can help relieve some stress and anxiety about settling into the new environment.

people-305836_960_720

Providing an individualised person centred approach to care during an admission is vital. The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2013) recognise the complexities involved in service provision of this kind and confirm the importance that communication between a multi-disciplinary team plays. Some hospitals have a learning disability liaison nurse so it’s worthwhile finding this out too. It maybe that a learning difficulty is undiagnosed in a patient as cognitive impairment is often found in those with schizophrenia; the consultant should be able to provide support on this when made aware. Either way, care provision should be treated with the same respect, care and dignity as it is to all.

3d-heart-1389043069cMa

 

Reference:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2013). People with learning disability. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists