Maintaining Friendships Old And New

I moved into halls for the first year of university despite already living in Manchester (well, Greater Manchester). I felt ready to gain some independence by ‘flying the nest’ and wanted to be within walking distance of university. When I lived with my mum before university I was only less than twenty miles away from the main campus so my friends from home who I used to live super close to aren’t incredibly far from my accommodation. The nursing course can get pretty hectic at times; more often than not all you want to do when you get back from placement is have a good kip!

Seeing my friends from home can be tricky to plan, to be honest, especially seeing as they have commitments like work and studying just like I do and it’s not just a ten minute journey involved in meeting up. I probably don’t tell them enough that I miss them, but I really do, and I really look forward to going home to meet up with my friends or having them stay over at my flat. Seeing my friends from home is so good for helping me stay grounded and true to my incredibly Mancunian roots and it reminds me of a big reason why I’m doing this course. I really hope I can make the people I care about and who care about me proud. If you don’t have the opportunity to meet up with your friends from home very often you’ll understand that the time you spend together is golden and you’ll appreciate it all the more. I’m so, so fortunate to have maintained friendships with such a brilliant bunch of people even after all these years.13151090_226356241076122_2131036156_nI enjoy spending time with the friends I’ve made on my course too, as I think we have a good balance between chatting about nursing as well as unrelated things. We’ll talk about what skills we’ve been learning on placement and helping each other stay motivated when writing assignments by offering suggestions of resources to look at and just offering a pep talk sprinkled with the essence of ‘as a fellow student nurse, I really know how you feel’ then five minutes later we’ll be having a conversation about something like make-up or food. I’m so, so fortunate to have made such a brilliant bunch of friends at uni.

My advice to anybody studying on a course that keeps you super busy (ring any bells?) would be to appreciate and make time for your friends from home whilst still being open to making new friendships at uni. Your friends from home will be glad that you’re enjoying yourself and have support for when they can’t physically come to see you. Believe me, you’ll have no idea how you would have made it through uni without your friends – old and new.

 

Trauma Talk

Witnessing a distressing or traumatic event is something you expect when you start a nursing degree. I remember when we did our Basic Life Support for clinical skills many moons ago, and the teacher made a point of saying “when you need to use this”. I’ve been taught CPR before, and the instructors have always said if. Suddenly realising that you may be the only person to help in a traumatic situation is kind of terrifying.

trauma call

I had my first experience a few weeks ago. I was on an optional training course at my placement, learning alongside students and Health Care Assistants. On our way to the next talk, one of the group members collapsed, had a fit and sustained a pretty nasty head injury. Fortunately, there was a qualified nurse on hand and soon enough there was loads of help arriving too (watching 3 doctors run towards you, stethoscopes at the ready, is like being on a TV show). I just stood and watched, and felt completely out of my depth. In theory, I knew exactly what to do. Call for help, avoid getting too close until he’d finished fitting, compress the head wound and maintain his airway- but I was terrified. I like to think that if I was the only person there who could help, I would have done those things on auto-pilot. But being an observer is different, especially since I’ve never seen anything like it.

Once the casualty was taken to A&E, the nurse who was teaching us took myself and another student nurse aside, and asked us if we were okay. She told us that she’d check on him later and update us tomorrow. I felt better after that, plus I still had adrenaline in my system and it was fantastic to see how everyone worked together. But as soon as I finished my shift and I called my dad, it started to feel more real. I suddenly felt really spaced out and didn’t want to go into detail with my friends once I got home. I couldn’t believe that it had actually happened. Luckily everyone was super understanding and gave me my space. My housemate even made me dinner!

jades dinner

I’m very lucky to live with someone who can make amazing food. 

Everyone listened wonderfully and were really supportive. The next day I was informed that he was doing better, and that was the best news.

The way that people dealt with that situation, and how immediately supportive people were gives me a lot of hope for the future. Nursing is a demanding career, and you will have bad days. But having colleagues, fellow students, lectures/advisers at uni,  family, friends, partners, maybe even a dog to listen to you is amazing. Just keep it strictly confidential! Its these people who you make you strong enough to carry on and get to experience the good days too!

Mid-Season Blues??

Tired?      Stressed?      Had enough?

Feel like a failure or like you’ve made a big mistake?      Too much work and no play?

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This could be a case of the mid-season blues!

Okay so there isn’t anything technically proven about mid-season blues but I bet nearly everyone has felt it at some point in their journey.

I used to be a holiday rep and every season there would be an almost mass exodus of reps half way through the summer as they were mainly homesick, fed up of long hours and most were feeling pressure as the main summer had kicked in and it was busy!!!

I noticed the same thing in the nursing degree course. It would hit everyone at different points in the course however, but the feelings seemed to be the same.

People felt down and fed up (mainly in second year if I’m honest as the end just seems so far away).

If you find yourself feeling this way, don’t worry! It’s not just you – you are not alone.

It seems this feeling is perfectly normal and any lack of motivation right now could affect your judgement on if this course is really right for you.

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Please don’t make any rash decisions. Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your peers and tutors and discuss your feelings with them before you decide anything.

You will more than likely come out the other side and carry on with your degree with great success. Yes there will be some who do realise that now is not the right time for them, and that is ok too. No one will judge you and you shouldn’t judge yourself either. Tough decisions aren’t called tough decisions for no reason!

I sit here now in my final year that last placement and sign off is getting closer and closer! Yet I remember my friends and I, all experiencing the mid-season blues. We helped and encouraged each other through it. Providing moral support in words and tissues for the tears when they came! But, we made it and I for one have never felt prouder of myself for staying the distance!!

A good moan can do you wonders, a few beers with friends, a weekend off the study. Whatever it is you need, just have that break and look forwards and reflect with fresh eyes.  You’ll soon find yourself job hunting and thinking where did the time go –I did!

Go for it – You can do this!  – brush those mid-season blues to one side and get your head back on track to becoming the awesome nurse you will be!

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