I Want My Nursing Degree To Be Over

. Monday, 18 September 2017 .
So the time has come for me to start my final year at university. For anyone that is new around these parts I am training to be a Mental Health Nurse at London South Bank University. Two years down, one to go.

I know most people never want their university experience to end, not least because it means it’s time to get a job and actually start acting like an adult. But I on the other hand absolutely cannot wait for my degree to finish. Not because I’m not enjoying the university experience but simply because my university experience is different from most. As a nursing student we spend the vast majority of our time actually out on the wards working as a nurse. We do everything a qualified nurse would do, we need just support/supervision for certain things. This means early starts, late finishes and night shifts too. So while some students might struggle to crawl out of bed for a 9am lecture, I’m no stranger to 4:30am alarms and catching the last night bus to work in the morning.

Not only do I have to work full-time as a nurse as part of my training, I don’t get paid a penny for that time. I do get a bursary from the NHS which is meant to cover living costs, however at less than £200 a month it really doesn’t cover much. I give the NHS 40 hours a week of my time and they don’t even give me enough money to pay a third of my rent, let alone pay bills, buy food, travel cards or do anything remotely leisurely. Thus when I’m on a placement that requires me to work 5 days a week (as opposed to wards where you work longer shifts, so less days) I end up working a total of 7 days a week once I’ve squeezed in 2 days a week of paid work. I finished my second year with a 9-week community placement which was a Monday to Friday, 9-5 kind of place. This resulted in me working 7 days a week for 9 weeks straight except for one single day off (only so I could take my niece and nephew to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

I’m exhausted. I’m absolutely exhausted.

Oh and on top of working every hour under the sun I still have essays to write and exams to prepare for, because after all, I am still doing a degree. Although our lectures and placements are separate, our deadlines often still fall within placement time.

Let me be clear, I absolutely love what I do. If I didn’t I would have given up a long time ago. Seeing a patient get out of bed and take a shower after weeks of feeling so low they didn’t see the point in anything makes my heart soar. Holding a patient while they sob so hard they can barely breath as opposed to self harming puts me on cloud nine. Having a conversation with someone that they can actually participate in for the first time in a long time without being harassed by voices puts the biggest smile on my face you could ever imagine. I feel very blessed to do the job I do. I know it makes a huge difference to people’s lives and I love being a part of someone’s journey to recovery.

I do not expect everything to be sunshine and rainbows when I finish my degree. I know it is still going to be a lot of hard work. The money isn’t great and the shift pattern will still mess up my sleep. But I’m hoping when I’m qualified I’ll actually be able to have a reasonable work-life balance. I won’t have to rush home from a shift to write an essay. I won’t have to cram revision into my brain by going over flashcards on the bus to work before the sun has even come up. I won’t have to spend my days off working just so I can pay my rent. I’ll just get to enjoy being a nurse.


I know this next year isn’t going to be easy. But I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m hoping that will be enough to help me power through the exhaustion.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
So the time has come for me to start my final year at university. For anyone that is new around these parts I am training to be a Mental Health Nurse at London South Bank University. Two years down, one to go.

I know most people never want their university experience to end, not least because it means it’s time to get a job and actually start acting like an adult. But I on the other hand absolutely cannot wait for my degree to finish. Not because I’m not enjoying the university experience but simply because my university experience is different from most. As a nursing student we spend the vast majority of our time actually out on the wards working as a nurse. We do everything a qualified nurse would do, we need just support/supervision for certain things. This means early starts, late finishes and night shifts too. So while some students might struggle to crawl out of bed for a 9am lecture, I’m no stranger to 4:30am alarms and catching the last night bus to work in the morning.

Not only do I have to work full-time as a nurse as part of my training, I don’t get paid a penny for that time. I do get a bursary from the NHS which is meant to cover living costs, however at less than £200 a month it really doesn’t cover much. I give the NHS 40 hours a week of my time and they don’t even give me enough money to pay a third of my rent, let alone pay bills, buy food, travel cards or do anything remotely leisurely. Thus when I’m on a placement that requires me to work 5 days a week (as opposed to wards where you work longer shifts, so less days) I end up working a total of 7 days a week once I’ve squeezed in 2 days a week of paid work. I finished my second year with a 9-week community placement which was a Monday to Friday, 9-5 kind of place. This resulted in me working 7 days a week for 9 weeks straight except for one single day off (only so I could take my niece and nephew to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

I’m exhausted. I’m absolutely exhausted.

Oh and on top of working every hour under the sun I still have essays to write and exams to prepare for, because after all, I am still doing a degree. Although our lectures and placements are separate, our deadlines often still fall within placement time.

Let me be clear, I absolutely love what I do. If I didn’t I would have given up a long time ago. Seeing a patient get out of bed and take a shower after weeks of feeling so low they didn’t see the point in anything makes my heart soar. Holding a patient while they sob so hard they can barely breath as opposed to self harming puts me on cloud nine. Having a conversation with someone that they can actually participate in for the first time in a long time without being harassed by voices puts the biggest smile on my face you could ever imagine. I feel very blessed to do the job I do. I know it makes a huge difference to people’s lives and I love being a part of someone’s journey to recovery.

I do not expect everything to be sunshine and rainbows when I finish my degree. I know it is still going to be a lot of hard work. The money isn’t great and the shift pattern will still mess up my sleep. But I’m hoping when I’m qualified I’ll actually be able to have a reasonable work-life balance. I won’t have to rush home from a shift to write an essay. I won’t have to cram revision into my brain by going over flashcards on the bus to work before the sun has even come up. I won’t have to spend my days off working just so I can pay my rent. I’ll just get to enjoy being a nurse.


I know this next year isn’t going to be easy. But I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m hoping that will be enough to help me power through the exhaustion.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

3 comments

  1. You will have a great future ahead ❤ I love to see people having passion for things they do! I see that in you too! Thank you for being you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your lovely comment ❤ I'm very lucky that I love what I do, but I'm looking forward to university being over and done with!

      Delete
    2. You are clearly such a driven and hard working person, I wish the government would do more to support young nurses. You are rad :)

      Delete

newer older Home