Firstly, a MASSIVE apology for the radio silence.
I had all the best intentions that I would write a long blog summing up Placement as soon as I finished. Then the end of Placement arrived followed by a whirlwind weekend and before I knew it I was back at Uni, solo-parenting and life hasn’t stopped since. But here I am, with a brief moment of quiet to bring you up to speed.
Unsurprisingly, Placement turned out to be a HUGE learning curve for me and not just in relation to my future role as a Mental Health Nurse but that’s a pretty good place to start so here is what I learnt:
- Mental Illness is totally indiscriminate. It does not care how many qualifications or how much money you have. It doesn’t care if you’re married, single, divorced. If you have children or none. If you are at the start of your adult life or nearing the end. Mental Illness does not care. And it may sound very naive and a little silly when I say it but I learnt that mental illness effects ‘normal’ people. No matter how many statistics I’ve learnt of how common it is to be effected by some sort of Mental ill-health, caring for such a wide range of people really brought this home to me.
- Mental Health Nurses are ‘real’ nurses. Again, obvious and silly to state but it’s true. A common view of Mental Health Nurses is that they just spend their day talking with patients. And yes, talking is a BIG part of the job. But I can assure you, alongside this there was a whole host of typical ‘Nurse’ duties. I saw WAY more bodily fluids than I thought I would and learnt about a whole host of physical illnesses too. Because, guess what? Just because someone is ill with depression, their diabetes doesn’t decide to take a holiday.
- Who you work with really makes a difference. I was so lucky to be working alongside such a great team, without whom, I don’t think my Placement would have been half as good. It won’t surprise you that sometimes, the job got pretty tough. It is such a busy environment, there is always something going on and sometimes I saw and experienced things that were pretty upsetting. Without the brilliant support of the other staff on the ward, these trying times had the potential to have a really negative impact on me and my confidence. But they were brilliant and it didn’t.
- Working full-time and raising a toddler is EXHAUSTING! On Placement, we have no choice but to work full-time but I can tell you, if right now I was qualified and looking for a job, I would be not be looking for a full-time one. I bow down to you full-time working mother, you are my heroes!
- The greatest rewards come as a result stepping out of your comfort zone. Anyone that’s been following me for a while may have read my pre-Placement post where I basically had a freak out about where I had been placed. To say I was nervous would be like saying that Justin Fletcher is only a little bit annoying (sorry Justin). I convinced myself that I would be useless, that I had nothing to bring to the role and I was almost certain I’d spend every minute of my shift hiding in the toilets, scared and crying. This is basically the absolute opposite to the reality and the feedback I received from my mentor throughout Placement was just amazing and so I left with soaring confidence. And guess what?! Confidence is an amazing thing! It doesn’t just stop in one part of your life. The confidence I gained from Placement has spread like a cough at Little Man’s nursery and I am SO much more relaxed as a parent and as a student and just generally feel pretty brilliant. As a result of my new found confidence, I have even begun knitting my first jumper. Which may sound a bit like a bit of a leap but I have always knitted flat things, scarves, blankets etc. and on completing my latest scarf, I thought why not just give a jumper a go?! What is the worst that could happen?!I started this whole journey as a Mental Health Nurse with the phrase ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ and I really feel that now I am fully embracing it. So Little Man, by next Winter you may be the lucky recipient of a hand-made jumper and if not, we have lots of grey wool to do arts and crafts with!
And on that note, I shall love and leave you all. Sorry it took a while to get around to writing this but I hope it gives you a bit of an insight into what I have been up to for the past 12 weeks! Now i’m settling back into Uni life once again, I plan to get my arse into gear more regularly and keep you posted with the life of The Uni Mummy once more!
Until next time, Happy Monday
and Over & Out x