Recognising 2020 as The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife makes me feel so proud and privileged to have chosen nursing as my career. I am also grateful for doing the mentoring course at RGU to help young nurses in their first steps.
Unlike many nurses my journey to RGU began after I had already been working in the profession for a number of years. My desire to become a nursing mentor saw me undertake the Mentor Preparation Programme, but before I talk about that let me take you through my journey from student to nurse to mentor.
I started my nursing training in 1976 at The South of Edinburgh School of Nursing. I loved my training, it was a truly wonderful experience, and very hard work. I was very much inspired by our nurse tutor who would come onto the ward full of enthusiasm about whichever procedure she was about to demonstrate. She loved to share her great wealth of knowledge with us, which made learning very easy for us student nurses.
After 3 years I graduated as a Registered General Nurse, but continued to study for a further year and also became a Registered Mental Nurse in 1980 which was most beneficial throughout my career.
My first position as a qualified Staff Nurse was in the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh in a large Cancer Unit. I learned so much, and gained confidence both as a nurse and a person. I met so many wonderful people, both colleagues and patients who I remember fondly to this day.
I then went over to California to gain further experience. I had a 1 year contract in a large teaching hospital, where I did further studies and loved to share my knowledge and experience with the students there. I ended up staying almost 5 years and even won the Nursing Excellent award, it was a wonderful experience! I carried on nursing once back in the UK but now I had family, therefore I worked shifts to accommodate the change and new life demands.
My final position was as a Community Nurse, which was different from hospital work, but every bit as satisfying.
I have always loved to share my experiences and knowledge with students, remembering how I was inspired by my nurse tutor, therefore I completed the Nurse Mentoring Course through RGU. I was now mentoring the nursing students from RGU, of which we had many, who would come into the community for part of their practical nursing experience. This was most satisfying, as most of them were very enthusiastic and eager to learn.
After 42 years of nursing I have recently retired, which was a difficult decision to make. However, I realise how very fortunate I am to have had such a wonderful career that I have loved, and which has given me the opportunity to travel and to meet the very best of people.
Are you thinking about studying or applying to nursing? Here are my top 3 tips for a successful career in nursing:
- Nursing work is very varied, there are so many areas you can choose to work in once you are qualified. This makes nursing very rewarding as you are going to meet many lovely people throughout your career!
- Be prepared for hard work. Nurses work irregular hours and weekends, but its all worth it when you alleviate ones pain and offer relief.
- Be empathetic, non-judgmental and considerate with your patients.
RGU now also offer a number of undergraduate Dual Registration programmes, allowing students to study two fields of nursing.