nursing diary: from teacher to student nurse.

So if you may or may not know, Im currently studying a Master in Nursing. It’s a two year course and I’m currently in my second and final year. I think reflection is a big part of nursing .. reflecting on practice and reflecting on yourself.. so I’m going to take the time (maybe this will be an ongoing process.. who knows?) to blog about how I decided to change and study nursing, why I enjoy it so much and hopefully how I’m going in the clinical setting! Fingers crossed will be me next year.

warning: I wrote a lot!

I think if you time travelled and found me when I was in year 12 and told me that I’d study nursing I would probably laugh in your face. It’s not that I would have found the profession funny, I just don’t think I would believe you. Back then I wanted to do something creative like graphic design! For some reason though I didn’t really pursue it in university. I think I was influenced by my mother to do something more ‘Academic’ .. I wasn’t into history, science, business or literature at the time so I decided to start off with something that was on common ground. My first degree was a Bachelor in Arts with a Diploma in Education. I started university in 2009 and finished in 2013. My course stretched out to five years because 1. I didn’t get the necessary UAI (It’s now called ATAR), 2. I did my first year part time, 3. failed a two subjects and 4. Didn’t quite understand what units I had to complete in order to graduate and therefore did some units that weren’t really necessary and wasted the time.

Throughout my course I enjoyed the first two years of it. Those years were mainly theory and we didn’t have ANY practical experience. However, I think that was one of the flaws in that course because we never actually got first hand experience in a classroom from the get go. As I progressed through my third year, I was enjoying the practical experience but felt I wasn’t really taught any skills that related to monitoring/controlling children’s misbehaviour. There were many classes on lesson planning and making sure what we were teaching met certain outcomes but when kids started playing up in class, most of the time i had NO IDEA of how to get them to behave. Once I hit my fourth year I think that was the time when I realised that teaching wasn’t really for me. I enjoyed interacting with the children, having fun, seeing their smiling faces and seeing their progress but I felt that the amount of preparation into lessons that I put in was not balancing it.

In addition to this I had a HORRIBLE experience with a supervising teacher that was overseeing my teaching. I won’t elaborate.. I may go into detail another time but it was HORRIBLE. I felt so down about myself, about my skills, about my teaching method and organisation that right then and there I did not want to become a teacher. The way that supervisor spoke to me made me feel like I was not worthy of teaching children at all. It was probably my lowest point during all my time of study. I felt utterly useless. I cried. Of course I cried (As I do whenever I am angry/pissed off or upset). I honestly think from that point on I felt less enthusiastic about my course and lost my motivation.

After my fifth year and finally graduating and attending my graduation ceremony I didn’t really feel like I had accomplished anything. I had finished and gotten a degree but what did I have to how for it? A really expensive piece of paper. I didn’t have a full time job lined up, I didn’t have any casual teaching positions waiting for me. It was definitely my own fault that I did not attain a full time job.

Right before I graduated though I remember spending a day or two at a book store in the CBD kind of contemplating what I wanted to do for my future. I already knew that I didn’t really want to do teaching (but I would try) but I still wanted a career that was fulfilling, enjoyable and had heaps of options/positions that I could move around in. My best friend Nicolle is a registered nurse. She graduated about a year ago and ever since I’ve known her she’s always told me stories about what work or placement has been like, the people she’s met and the skills she learnt. I think over time I kind of liked to listen to all her stories and she definitely influenced me to choose nursing as a career option. I’d hear about all the different areas you can work in (paediatric, cardiac, neuro, brain injury, renal) and thought it was a pretty sweet deal. By the end of that day at the bookstore I kind of just had a realisation of “Why don’t I just try nursing? What could go wrong? I can expand my opportunities, gain new skills, meet new people AND help people at the same time”.

Another factor that directed me towards choosing Nursing as an option was that I love talking to new people. I think since working in hospitality mainly all throughout university, my communication skills have definitely improved. At the end of year 12 I was still quite shy, didn’t really actively start conversation and didn’t really like talking to new people. Since my part time job at a cafe requires me to constantly talk, I’ve grown a liking for it! When I go to work now (8 years later) I look forward to seeing all the familiar customers .. I know many of their names and coffee orders and slowly through each order of coffee I kind of learn about their life and what they’re up to and what they do for work. To me its pretty interesting. This will probably sound really lame but I love meeting people I see, I love having jokes with them, asking how they are, building rapport with people and also trying to empathise with them in certain situations.

In the year after I finished my undergraduate I started applying at schools to work in. I did a couple of casual days here and there where they either called me the day before hand to work OR called me at 6am in the morning to work. I did 3 week blocks of teaching which was interesting but left me exhausted by the time the weekend came along and I also worked at an after school care during the last term of school. While I did enjoy these experiences and I learnt alot of practical skills I wasn’t happy. I still felt like my time and effort put into preparing lessons and activities were going a little bit to waste. Perhaps my time management skills were not on par, or my lessons not very interesting or perhaps I just wasn’t a very good teacher.

Finally at the end of 2014 I decided to just apply to do nursing. I’d researched a bit online to see which universities had nursing courses which I could apply for. Many of the universities I found accepted applicants who already had a previous medical/science background (people who had completed health science degrees or a science undergraduate). Luckily I found that Sydney University took applicants from all educational backgrounds and I applied as soon as it opened. So far I’ve been very happy throughout my course and I’m very much enjoying everything I’m learning so far.

I’ll keep my blog updated on how I’ve been going but I hope people enjoy reading this as much as I have typed it… I actually feel a slight weight lifted from my shoulders just by expressing myself like this haha.

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