“I find it extremely rewarding to be able to help poorly babies have a chance in life so they can grow to become happy children. It is very fulfilling to see the babies in our care achieve milestones during their care and knowing you have been a part of that journey. Little things like first cuddle, first breastfeed, weaning respiratory support, having a line taken out, starting feeds, are all important steps in the baby’s journey.
The parents rely on us to be their support. They place their full trust in us to provide care of their newborn, which understandably is very difficult for them. As the care is pretty much on a 1:1 bases we get to know the families really well so it is important that they feel safe around us and we instil the confidence and support they need at this difficult time.”
During my final placement as student nurse, I worked on Ward D9 which is an acute Oncology Unit. I loved the speciality – the ward, staff and patients. Following the CUH ‘Newly Qualified’ recruitment day, I decided to apply for a rotation position in the Oncology Department.
In May, I started back on Ward D9, this time as a staff nurse. The transition from student to staff nurse was so much easier than I thought it would be because I was returning to familiar surroundings, staff and patients. I would strongly encourage newly qualified nurses to consider CUH for their first job. Starting your career in a familiar place can ease the stress and nervousness of transitioning from student to staff nurse.
Initially, I was apprehensive about how I would cope with the increased responsibility, prioritisation and delegation. I was no longer able to say to patients and other staff ‘I am student; I will just ask a staff nurse.’ However, I am now 6 months qualified and have learned more than I could have ever imagined. I am confident when speaking to members of the multidisciplinary team and look after a group of acute patients by myself. I was told before qualifying that I would learn so much during my first year as a staff nurse and it is absolutely true.
I have finished my rotation on Ward D9 and have just started on the Oncology Day Unit. I am developing my peripheral blood taking and cannulation competencies. Over the next 6 months my aim is to complete my chemotherapy passport booklet and have the confidence to administer chemotherapy.
My advice to a newly qualified nurse is to take your time getting to grips with the transition period. Make sure to use your supernumerary shifts to gain as much experience as possible. Asking questions is the best way to learn but do not be afraid to trust your instincts if you think something is wrong. Communicating with team members is the best way to treat patients effectively and also helps to manage stress levels and work load.
Of course being newly qualified comes with its ups and downs, there will be laughter and tears. If you are struggling or have concerns you should confide in team members and management. Do not suffer in silence, we all know what it is like to start a career in nursing. There is also a great education team if more time is needed to gain competencies.
In nursing, every day is a school day and being a nurse is a lifelong learning process. Remember, after all your years training it is important to enjoy the experience!
A year in, and I am still enjoying my role immensely. I work with some of the best people I could hope to spend my working life with and love the feeling of helping a patient through a major and potentially life-changing experience.
In the long-term, I am aiming for a senior nursing role. However, for the time being my focus is on building on the skills learned in my placements and in my first year as a nursing professional.
I can sincerely say that I couldn’t be in a better place to do so.
“I love caring for families at their most vulnerable time, helping them care for and nurture their babies and supporting parents and families through difficult times. It is very rewarding witnessing babies have their first cuddle and seeing the bond between parents and their baby develop. Although this is not often possible in the first few days or even weeks with our most fragile and sick babies, we encourage parents to perform nappy changes, touch their baby and feel that this little person is theirs and a part of their family.”
If you are thinking of a paediatric career Claire’s advice is “If this is something you are interested in, go for it! I’m not saying it’s for everyone as it can be tough at times, but being a part of a family’s’ special moments more than make up for it. I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else.”
There are so many things about my job that I love. I love caring for one patient at a time and being able to focus on that patient which I think allows me to the deliver the highest standard of care that I can give. I also really enjoy the variety of what I do. I could start the morning caring for a patient who has had a grommet insertion and then look after a patient who has had major spinal or neurosurgery. However without doubt the best thing about my job is the team I work with. The Paediatric Recovery team are amazingly supportive, friendly and welcoming. I felt like a valued member of the team almost instantly when I started. Transition from a student to a staff nurse can be somewhat challenging and feel slightly daunting, but this team made me feel at ease and supported me through the whole transition.
During my time at CUH I would like to continue delivering Safe, Kind and Excellent care to my patients. I would also like to complete my HDU course in the future, which will help me progress which is encouraged and supported in Paediatric Recovery.