Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery

The 2 scariest days of my career...... by Jo Hockley

The first of the two scariest days of my nursing career was when I walked in to my first shift on a general medical ward in my blue Registered Nurse dress as a newly qualified nurse. I was 22 years old and felt the life and death responsibility hugely. Whilst I felt very proud to be a Registered Nurse, even after a year as an auxiliary nurse and 3 years in training, I still didn’t feel ready. I wonder does anyone?

But after a deep breath and concentrating on the things that I knew I could do well – talking to patients, washing patients, feeding patients – I walked in and started my shift…..and I survived! Not only did I survive but I proved to myself that I could do it. Yes, it’s true that I didn’t know everything but as I have often found during my time in the NHS, I was working with a wonderful team who were able to support me, teach me and give me the confidence I needed to grow as a nurse.

My time as a junior nurse was great; hands on care to patients every day really witnessing the difference I made to them and their families. I would go home satisfied,  proud of the job that I did and the care I was able to give my patients. In the days that I qualified as a D grade, my aspirations for my future career was purely that one day I would be an E grade, a senior staff nurse and maybe even be in charge of the ward……

The second scary day of my nursing career was when I walked in to my first day in my dark blue sister’s uniform with a red belt.  Six years after I qualified I had my first job as Ward Manager on a Medical Assessment Unit. The brand new staff nurse lacking in confidence and only aspiring to be an E grade had taken every opportunity that had come her way. I made my own rotation and moved to work on a female surgical ward, followed by CCU. I then returned to a general medical ward where I got my E grade – and, yes, I did take charge of the ward and it was okay!

After one night shift, I was called by my Lead Nurse to ask me to work on a different ward the next day. It was a surgical ward that was going to become medical, and they needed experienced medical nurses to support the existing surgical team. I remember being shocked, nervous and a bit fed up but I agreed to go and was given my first Junior Sister post as a reward/incentive.

Following being a Junior Sister, I also had a secondment as a bed manager - it was great to see how the hospital worked as a whole system rather than just the little area where I was working.

On my first day as a Ward Manager I was scared, but oh so proud as well.  Little old me had achieved this key position. I loved my time as a ward manager, I think it was (and still is) one of the hardest jobs in the hospital but it was also probably one of my most rewarding jobs too. It was such a privilege to be able to lead and develop a team, watch my staff develop and at the same time enhance the service of our MAU to benefit our patients.

 For anyone considering nursing as a career my advice would be, do it! I can honestly say that, after 25 years as a nurse, I still love my job. The opportunities are endless,  there are so many options to pursue, including front line jobs, specialist nurse roles, management roles, being a matron or a research nurse; I could go on and on…… and many different specialities to work within too. Each and every job makes a direct difference to patients and their families. For those of you that are considering nursing, are training or have recently qualified – dream big, take every opportunity and you never know what you might achieve.

And what’s happened to that proud but scared newly-qualified nurse? Well, she has been a Matron for the past 10 years, she’s still enjoying her job, still making a difference to patients, and now, she’s also wondering what the future will hold next in this amazing career……

What inspired you to write this blog?

As a nursing ambassador for the #future nursing and midwifery perceptions I am part of the 30 day challenge and so have written this blog as part of the July challenge.

What is your role?

I am a Matron in Specialist Medicine at an Acute Hospital setting

What are your nursing and/or midwifery qualifications?

RN Dip HE (Adult)

BSc (Hons)

edited on Jul 31, 2018 by Bev Matthews
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