“A profession where joy and sadness come in equal measures!”

Wednesday September 2nd 2015

Dia Dhaoibh a Chairde – It’s been quite some time from my last blog and firstly I’d like to apologise for my lack of writing over the last few weeks – hopefully this one will explain why I’ve been off the radar for a bit, its been a summer with a difference!!

So I haven’t had the typical 3 month summer holiday period that I’ve been used to over the past 19 years – instead it’s been all go and spare time has been few and far between, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s been amazing. Just this week I officially finished my first year off uni, with 6 weeks of placement, and my first in a ward setting. I have to admit after hearing a few horror stories of demonic ward sisters, staff that are just too busy to consider helping you out and crazy off duties that aren’t ideal to our supernumerary responsibilities, I panicked slightly!! Thankfully however, I was extremely lucky with were I was placed and I loved every minute. A busy neurological ward offered me the chance to see a huge range of complex conditions and illnesses. I was learning from word go – you can read all the textbooks under the sun and be taught by people with incredible amounts of experience, but the reality is you’ll learn most effectively and efficiently on placement. I find it difficult to put into words the difference that each child had on me – it was amazing. It’s hard to understand how these little people, so small, fragile and so innocent can still smile, still laugh and be so resilient too their life-limiting and indeed life changing illnesses. I was privileged to be involved in the care of new-born babies up to the age of 14, all with different little personalities and varying abilities and disabilities, however they all shared a mutual characteristic that many of us could learn from: They all appreciated life. These kids have been through more medical interventions in their short lives, than many adults do throughout their entire lives. I saw it all.

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I suppose the nicest part of being a student nurse is that you have that wee bit more time to spend at patients bedside; to allow parents to grab a cup of coffee and some time out, to listen to their fears and worries, to help the little girls who wish they were princesses by painting their nails and styling her hair, or to try not to be competitive when they wee boys ask you to play Mario Kart with them on the Xbox because they’re fed up of beating their mums!! I know, you’re thinking sure that’s not work at all, but it’s little things like this that make such a difference to a child/parents experience in hospital.

To the entire staff of the ward and my brilliant mentor, thank you for your help, patience, care and support. Thank you for the opportunities you organised for me and the invaluable experiences I gained. Thank you for the craic, the laughs, advice, criticisms and challenging times.
To the parents, thank you for entrusting me to care for your amazing children. And finally to the children, thank you so much for changing my perspective on life.

Its hard to sum up what goes on in a day within a ward never mind 6 weeks – so here’s a link to a video that is simple yet effective and shows perfectly what goes on better than I could explain; “A profession were joy and sadness come in equal measure, where inspiration is met by frustration and courage must outweigh fear”.

So summer was pretty full on between placement, working in the bar and doing my little rest bite job, spare time was limited, however after finishing placement just this week I now find myself sitting in Lanzarote having a ball. 30 degrees heat and not a cloud in the sky – I’m easy pleased. I was glad to come over and join my family who feel like strangers after not having much time to spend with them over the last few weeks! Of course I also managed to fit in a trip to Croke Park amongst it all. Its that time of year again!!

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And finally I would like to congratulate everyone receiving exam results over the past few weeks and as summer begins to come to an end, many students are leaving school and taking on a new chapter in their lives. Whether you’re heading for the Holylands or to uni across the water, a gap year to work or travel, back to school or simply unsure where to go next, be content that things are exactly as they should be for you. Try not to compare to what your friends are doing. The path you are on will lead you to exactly where you are meant to be. Take pride in what you have achieved and go forward with confidence!

Until next month,

Dia Leat,

Cora x