Rachel applied for her first nursing job through a hospital recruitment drive and with experience moved up a grade to a more senior role
How did you get your hospital nursing job?
Towards the end of my nursing degree I heard about the job through a recruitment drive at my local hospital. I applied and after an interview was given the job. I was posted on the ward I was doing my management placement on at the time.
Hospitals generally do a recruitment drive twice a year for newly qualified nurses, usually March and September and vacancies are also released on a jobs board. The university also usually lets people know jobs are coming out.
How relevant is your degree?
My degree taught me the basics and theory of nursing in an unpressured environment.
What's a typical working day like?
As a senior staff nurse, 95% of the time I am responsible for supporting my staff, making sure the patients are safe and are provided with a high standard of care. The day starts with handover, after which I will allocate patients to staff dependent on the severity of the patient's condition and my staff's ability. I will then look at my workload and prioritise care as necessary.
General day-to-day tasks include administering medications via numerous routes, completing observations, ensuring adequate nutritional needs are met, and tending to wounds and basic hygiene needs.
At the end of the shift, I'm responsible for making sure my nursing notes are completely up to date, handing over my patients and ensuring that the next nurse in charge of the shift has all the information she needs including expected admissions.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
When I first qualified, I was a band 5 nurse and my main responsibility was managing my workload. Gradually, I began to complete more in-house training which allowed me to take more responsibility. Now, as a band 6 nurse, I have more of a managerial role within my ward.
What do you enjoy most about being a nurse?
I enjoy being able to help people and often seeing them go from being fairly sick to being recovered within a matter of days. Having said this, I also often care for patients who have life-long, debilitating conditions that they will not recover from. In this situation, I enjoy being able to contribute to the patient's long-term care and helping their families adjust, to what is often a very traumatic time in their lives.
What are the challenges in your role?
The main challenge I come across every day is a lack of effective communication. Although most service users are very good at communicating their concerns, they can often downplay their symptoms, not wanting to cause trouble.
Also, when under numerous teams of doctors, you'll often get conflicting messages about care, and therefore, spend a fair amount of time chasing up decisions from them.
Another challenge is that due to the nature of the job, it can often be very emotionally challenging and draining at times.
What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?
It's important to prepare yourself for hard physical and emotional work.
You'll also need to be willing to work shifts and be constantly challenged within your day to day working life.