Friday, 16 August 2013

Year Two Overview

I was never convinced by the early and repeated warnings that three seemingly long years at university would be over in the proverbial blink of an eye. Or that the time for transition from student to qualified nurse would arrive far sooner than any of us were expecting. Yet here I am, officially at the end of my second year, and with only one more year to go!

On reflection, I have thoroughly enjoyed my second year (more so than my first in fact); proving simultaneously to be a trying yet wholly transformative experience. Expectations at university and out in practice have been understandably higher, increasingly so as I’ve progressed through both the year and programme. However, with these new demands has come a greater sense of confidence, satisfaction, achievement, and meaning - in other words, the harder you work, the greater the reward.

The start of the year was definitely the hardest, and I’ll admit, I did suffer a bit with those infamous second-year blues! Fortunately, they didn’t last very long, and by the time semester two had made an appearance, they were nothing more than than a mere memory. It was this semester that proved to be a huge turning point for me, and happily it’s been onwards and upwards ever since. Academically, I wasn’t too concerned: my grades thus far had been consistently good. Rather, it was on a practical level that I was worried, and it wasn’t until my placement that semester (halfway through my degree I’d like to point out) that things finally began to come together; resulting in my thinking and acting as a proper nurse for what felt like the very first time.

It was this same placement that also provided me with the most inspiring, rewarding, and humbling placement experience to date, as well as the answer to an ongoing issue I had been wrestling with since the end of my first year: the area I wanted to specialise in. Which for those who are curious, will hopefully be the wonderful and inspiring world of critical care. However with three placements left to go (gulp), I’m aware that this is all subject to change.

My last and final semester has been just as pivotal and affecting as it’s predecessor, but for very different reasons. From an academic point of view, I could not have enjoyed my most recent module anymore. Not only this, but I can honestly say that it has greatly informed and improved the care that I provide to patients; making me a better, more confident, and safer nurse in the process - which only further strengthens the argument that nurses should and do need to be university educated. But I digress.

Following the aforementioned amazing placement experience, I was convinced that I must be due a not so amazing one; I’m the kind of glass-is-always-half-empty sort of gal. How wrong I was. With the support and guidance of the best nurse and mentor I have ever encountered (blog post on that topic to follow), I am finishing second year not only a more capable and better nurse, but with a much-needed, newly-found belief that I might just be able to do this. Where as my previous placement had enabled me to begin to identify as a nurse, and the kind of nurse that I wanted to be, this placement had allowed me to develop into that nurse; the kind of nurse that I am proud to be.

It’s only after writing this that I realise what a truly amazing and momentus year this has been, and although I’m sad and scared to leave it all behind, I know that it’s time to move forward. Fortunately, third year is just around the corner.

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