I was, until last Friday, a promising Staff Nurse at a London hospital. Now I am a promising Staff Nurse on Annual Leave and soon to be starting medical school.
Nursing is something I enjoyed and something I was good at. Presumably, I am still good at it - I don't imagine my skills have dropped that dramatically over a weekend (although my leaving do did kill a few brain cells). It was a rare opportunity to do a job that provided a great sense of achievement by just doing my job. You help people get better, you make a positive difference in their lives and you do something for them that they can't do for themselves. And you get paid pretty well for your time.
By no means is it the magical, beautiful, most wonderful experience in the world my lecturers tried to make me see it as, it has its own bug bears and BS. But leaving it to pursue medicine is something I decided to do with a heavy heart, it meant leaving a family and institution that I had come to know and (occasionally) love. I had to do it, though. I was faced with the choice between nursing for the rest of my working days or taking the plunge and finding out if I could succeed in a field that just fascinated me. I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling, wanting my chance to show I could be a doctor. My time as a nurse made me realise that (in the UK at least) so many of the nursing pathways of care would end with "and then I call the doctor" and that wasn't enough for me. Yes, I know that there are all kinds of roles that extend nursing into the junior doctor's role, but that wasn't what I wanted - and that too would end with handing the job over to someone else when it got interesting. Medicine for me is the other part of the equation that gives you the answer of how people get better and it is something I hope to be good at.
I know that there are people who will understand why I wanted to make the shift as much as there are people who will never understand why I did, why nursing "wasn't enough" for me. This first post isn't an attempt to apologise for my choice. It was mine to make and I made it. This first post is a statement of intent:
- I will blog the things that stand out in my experiences
- I will use this as an opportunity for reflection when things go wrong
- I will try and make you laugh, cry and sigh with the stuff that I see and do
- I will not forget my nursing training or how important nurses and their knowledge are
- I will not break confidentiality (duh)
- I will occasionally, in times of whimsey, blog about past nursing experiences (It's my blog, so nyah)
And finally, I will go to bed at a reasonable time. Ooops.