Thursday, 6 January 2011


O-Ohh.. here we go again. It was my first day at university today and the start of topping up my degree and working towards a BSc (Hons) Professional Practice. I'm back at UCLAN which was the same university where I and several  others sniggered and played sudoku throughout our nursing lectures. There's a fully operational 'ward' within the Health buildings which whilst we were earnestly being trained to inject patients, to perform CPR and all manner of highly important and intricate nursing procedures, our group felt compelled to put the 'patient' dummies into all manner of horribly sexual positions and try on their wigs. We got told off mercilessly of course, but blimey, it was great fun. The university provided 3 years of academic study and there were relentless exams and essays. We were then let off the leash to work in real-life wards which wasn't quite as funny. Desperately hard work mixed with an onslaught of your senses being besieged by a million emotions, horrendous sights and times of joy and deep sadness. You are asked to sit with a dying patient who has hours to live and hold their hand whilst they take their last breath. You complete last offices on the dead with a high degree of respect and dignity. You empty more bed pans than you ever dare imagine and smile with forced forgiveness when someone vomits down your white uniform for the third time before 10am. On psychiatric wards you learn that madness is normal and you become no longer shocked by someone telling you they get radioactive  signals through their penis. Although you become accustomed to the odd chair launched towards the back of your head at frequent intervals, you never forget the torment etched on the faces and endured by those suffering from mental illness. You sit and try to give hope to people who see a ligature around their neck or walking into the sea as their only option of ending the futility of their lives. You listen to damaged adults self-medicating on drugs and alcohol who share their experiences of abused and neglected childhoods and you wonder if you'll ever gain the experience of saying the right thing. And just when it can't get any worse...your feet hurt! Boy, do they ache after the miles of walking and standing you do on shift. I'd imagine nearly every student nurse considers packing it all in throughout their training. Indeed, plenty do give it up. Anywhere between 30% and 50% of student nurse intakes don't complete the 3 year course. For those that do, the feeling of deep satisfaction, achievement and unbelievable camaraderie amongst your peers is worth all the pain of training.  

Once qualified, it's no plain sailing as you work just as hard only with 100% more responsibility and accountability. Don't do it for the money, because you'll never be wealthy. You do it because you love it and are passionate about nursing and passionate about being a nurse. And it doesn't stop there once qualified. It's a lifetime of extra qualifications, new training and new learning. Nursing moves forward with new approaches in medicine and nurses have to continue with their skills and knowledge throughout their careers. So, it was with a spring in my step I took my place back in the lecture room today at the University of Central Lancashire. Only this time, now qualified, there's a significant change in the approach of the lecturers. There's no sniggering, no tellings off and no stringent regimes of punctuality and 100% attendance seen in my previous student nurse days. However there was 30-or-so nurses looking very worried at the prospect of two 2000 word essays needing very swift completion....  


  1. Hey your much too clever u know.

    Here is wishing you it all goes well chuck - don't forget i can supply copious amounts of coffee and an ear when need be - also a good supply of smutty humour as well !

  2. I think I could manage a takeout latte and a few laughs young David. Or should I say spinkles?