|Masters of Nursing: Adult
|Large business (250+ employees)
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A day in the life of a Staff Nurse in the United Kingdom
Don't stress about applying for jobs until your last year, your ideas of where you may want to work will develop as the course goes on.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I currently work within the NHS
What do you do?
I am a Registered Nurse working within an Upper GI surgical ward currently. I care for pre- and post-op patients requiring major upper GI procedures. I work within a multidisciplinary team to maximise care for these complex patients, am responsible for medication administration, drain and wound care and social needs of patients under my care.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
My GCSE and A-Level subjects had a heavy emphasis on the sciences, and my personal experiences led me wanting to pursue a career in healthcare. Following work experience I found more enjoyment within nursing than medicine which informed my university degree. During my course I identified my preference in surgical and emergency nursing and so in my final year I began applying for rotational posts within Major Trauma Centres in hopes of obtaining experience within both surgical wards and major trauma A&E's. I had multiple job offers prior to graduating so was able to start soon after finishing my course.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
No, I had plenty of experience during my course in different areas of nursing which helped to identify the areas I enjoyed. My rotational post consists of wards and departments I have previously worked in. In the future I may branch out and work in other areas to gain experience though.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Working through the Covid pandemic as an experienced student nurse meant I was employed to help out with the increased pressures the hospitals were facing. Working within my surgical ward as part of the numbers meant my remit of responsibilities increased and I was assigned patients under my care. This period of time, whilst incredibly serious and unprecedented, gave me a good taster of how I would cope when I eventually graduated as a registered nurse and allowed me to prove to myself that I would be ready to work as a RN when the time came.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Varying degrees of strain can be experienced throughout a shift, whether it be stresses related to managing a large patient load, looking after acutely deteriorating people, emotional tolls experienced from sick, dying and deceased patients, and burnout. This has been especially prevalent over the last 18 months during the COVID pandemic with lots of healthcare workers feeling like despite their best efforts, they have made little difference. Having a good work life balance and support network of friends/families/coworkers is essential in minimising the effects these potential challenges may have on you.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I worked with the department quite closely throughout my degree, assisting with events like open and selection days for prospective students working as a student ambassador. Throughout my programme there were various opportunities to supply feedback to the lecturers about the course, which ended up leading to involvement on approval days for the updated BSc course to be in line with the 2018 NMC Future Nurse standards, and more recently the MSc postgraduate nursing degree. I have also elected to help assist other cohorts of students with their modules I have already completed, fielding questions about the content and giving advice when it comes to sitting exams. I believe this was good preparation for graduate life where I know sooner or later, I will be working with other student nurses and be part of the team responsible for their learning out in practice.
What would you like to do next with your career?
The next 18 months will consist of a rotation between my upper GI ward I am starting on, surgical admissions and then A&E in a Major Trauma Centre. Following that I expect to work in one of these three areas for a currently undecided amount of time, potentially applying to a band 6 deputy charge nurse role, should one become available and I feel ready for that step. During all of this I plan on continuing my development as a nurse, requesting to be put on various courses to expand my clinical and theoretical knowledge, hopefully preparing me for when I apply to an advanced practice masters.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Don't stress about applying for jobs until your last year, your ideas of where you may want to work will develop as the course goes on. Even then you may end up changing your area of work after graduating and that's good too, getting varying experiences of area even as a RN will help to improve your practice as a whole. When applying for jobs, consider places you may also want to live, it might be a good idea to visit the area if you haven't been before in person to scope out what's around, think about transport links etc.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
General student life, accommodation at uni, questions about the nursing course, placement, the MNurs programme, applying for jobs.
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