I was twenty when I started to nurse. It was 1983 and I was a gauche unassertive, shy character who looked awkward even in his nursing group photo where he should have felt comfortable amongst his friends and his mentor.
Psychiatric nursing taught me to act as an advocate and to care for the distressed and weak.
Spinal Injury Nursing taught me to nurse holistically and to trust my gut in how to handle people.
Nurse management taught me to believe in myself , voice my own opinions and helped me to develop the skill of taking a deep breath before speaking.
Oh, ...and Intensive care nursing has taught me the power of good team work.
Each area has shaped and sculptured me over the years.
Nurses have not really changed in my thirty five year experience. Most want to care the best way they can. It is the system that has changed and it is this system change that has complicated the issues and practicalities of care giving.
The "forces" discipline has disappeared from the workplace and a more academic/ assertive based training has replaced the old " learning by watching Nellie" approach to development.
Student Nurses are brighter than those of old which only can be a good thing, but boy don't they look sloppy in their badly fitting uniforms and lack of "starch"
That's an age thing!
Policy, protocol, HR, a computer full of e- fucking learning needs and the fear of missing something now replace common sense management and firefighting is par for the course for harassed middle managers who need to sell the corporate message to their peers without ever believing in the message.
Have I any advice for those bright eyed, energetic bods who are just starting out on their careers?
Well yes I have.
Grab every opportunity to see the best!
Move away from home, go to a good teaching hospital trust, soak up the special and learn to recognise good , innovative practice and management, there is plenty of it to see
Don't be afraid to question and to challenge
Be warm and thoughtful
And please PLEASE PLEASE develop a ROBUST sense of humour