For most students, making a nine AM lecture seems like enough of a challenge, but for a student nurse, a twelve hour shift starting at seven in the morning is a regular day’s work. I spoke to second year student nurse Hannah to find out about her experiences so far.
What are the best and worst things about your course?
The best thing for me is when you know you’ve made a difference to a patient’s life. It’s really rewarding when someone genuinely thanks you for your hard work. Stabbing people with needles is also pretty fun. I also love the gross stuff, like the satisfaction of popping a good sebaceous cyst.
One of the worst things is when your non-nursing friends go out all the time but you know you have a twelve hour shift the next day. There’s no chance of surviving that with a hangover. Another annoying thing is everyone expecting you to know what the weird rash on their back is – I’m not a dermatologist!
What’s a typical week like for you?
It depends, as I’m either on placement or at uni. If I’m working shifts it will be three twelve and a half hour shifts a week, and the rest of the time spent recovering, washing and ironing my uniforms and doing assignments. And of course the occasional night out.
Any advice for anyone interested in becoming a student nurse?
Be prepared! It’s like having a full time job on top of regular uni work and assignments. And remember that you don’t get payed until you qualify – it’s a long journey ahead!
What’s it like working a night shift?
For me, horrible! I really hate them, but other people don’t seem to mind them. The annoying thing is trying to sleep in the day and getting your housemates to be quiet. I also find they drag, because all the patients are asleep so there’s not as much to do.
Any funny stories from placement?
The first ever cyst I got my hands on. I was really excited because I’d seen all Dr Pimple Popper’s YouTube videos! The nurse showed me how to squeeze it with a bit of gauze, and left me to deal with it. I started squeezing, expecting the pus to come out of the hole at the top of the cyst, not realising that wasn’t the only hole. I didn’t dodge out of the way quickly enough and it went all over my face, my uniform and the wall behind! Top tip for next time: stand to the side!
Any health tips for other students?
If you’re worried about anything, go to your doctor! Don’t trust google, it will either tell you that you’re dying or going blind from athlete’s foot. Also get checked for STI’s if you’ve slept with someone and are unsure about where they’ve been. The NHS offers free chlamydia testing kits that get sent to your house and you can receive your results by text. There’s also loads of clinics around Leicester where you can get a full MOT.