Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Letting Go

So as you're all too aware, third year has proven to be somewhat of a rough ride thus far, and not just for me it seems. On the whole it's been pretty unrelenting, and with the start of semester two and our final module having now arrived, there's no sign of things easing up. This is a positive post however (remember those?), and within the last week or so I feel that I’ve finally started to gain some sort of clarity and perspective on things.

Since Christmas, all talk at university has centred around three topics: dissertation woes, post-qualifying' uncertainties, and jobs. It’ll come as no surprise that I've been a contributor of such concerns during most of these discussions, however a subtle shift has begun to occur of late, and increasingly I'm finding myself becoming less the voice of doom, and more the voice of reason: proffering advice and a more-balanced view, or attempting to at least.

So what’s brought about this dramatic change? In a word, acceptance. I began this programme with the unwavering desire to be the best (student) nurse that I could be, and whilst that still remains the case, I’m realising that this doesn’t equate to the ultimate in unachievable goals: being perfect. Whilst I know there's no such thing as perfection, I see now that from the very beginning I set myself up to fail. My too-high expectations of myself combined with my self-deprecating and unforgiving nature have left me a little battered and bruised - proof of which can be found in the posts preceding this.

There have been copious sleepless nights, as well as a few tears along the way, because as I've said before, being a student nurse is no walk in the park, and this gig is tough enough without beating yourself up in the process. As fellow student-nurse blogger, @strongest_smile rather brilliantly writes here, the importance for having compassion for ourselves as people and professionals is as important as the compassion we show to our patients, something that is all too easily forgotten.

I've written this post for all the student nurses who are wrestling with similar feelings and issues. I've written it for those whose concerns we dismiss as disingenuous due to their favourable academic and/or practice achievements, as if by default they've no right to legitimate worries of their own. Above all perhaps, I’ve written it for myself: to serve as a reminder of the need to be kinder to myself, especially when things get tougher as they undoubtedly will. Because at the risk of sounding like a bad 80s love song, sometimes you have to learn to let go.*

*No offence intended to those who enjoy bad 80s love songs.

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