Back in 2004, I began my Adult Nursing degree as a mature student and I was terrified.
I was a mother of three with a husband who worked shifts, and I have Crohn’s Disease. As I stood in the reception of Glenside Campus of UWE Bristol, I asked myself – more than once – what on earth I was doing. I had loved my Access to Health college course but university… well, that was completely different. It made nursing real.
And so began my nursing career. It was a completely different world – I cannot express enough how it will change you as a person and how you view the world, life and people. I remember being told this in a lecture early in the course and it has never left me.
Finding my niche
My first year was a raw mixture of shock, horror, speechless wonderment and gratitude. I was tired, excited, happy, sad and enjoyed every placement I had – there is always something you can take from your experiences. I’ve helped to clear all kinds of bodily fluids, comforted, cajoled, supported and listened.
As the course progressed, I knew from my first community placement it was what I wanted to do – I’d found my niche, as they say. I discovered I could communicate well and adapt to whatever scenario I found myself in. I had a particular passion for End of Life Care and feel very privileged to have some fantastic reflections in that discipline.
A career like no other
Nurse training gives you experiences and opportunities available in no other career. Working as a registered nurse is a privilege and honour. The bad days are there, I won’t dress it up – times when you want to just walk away and scream, both in nurse training and working. I nearly left my course at the end of the second year; I was tired, fed up, drained, poor and for the millionth time, wondered why I was doing it. A tutor told me this feeling was common, and after all the support from my family I knew I had to finish!
I was lucky enough to get my first job in trauma and orthopaedics. Three years later, with a new dose of confidence, I began community nursing. It showed me that you never stop learning – and I find that even now, many years later, with a career as a District Nurse Team Lead and Single Point of Access Clinical Lead under my belt.
Life at Sirona
So while there’s no doubt that community nursing is hard, Sirona will support you all the way. Whether you’re doing well or having a tough time, everyone is recognised and supported through comprehensive wellbeing and continuing professional development packages, fair and effective policies, and personal support systems.
But it’s not just inside work that the organisation is supportive. I’m also a published author and Sirona enabled me to adjust my hours to fit around my other commitments – not to mention celebrating alongside me when my first book came out. Like all employees who have another skill or achievement outside of work, I felt hugely supported.
Taking it Personally
At Sirona, we believe firmly in Taking it Personally: it’s an approach which lies at the heart of the organisation, and touches everything we do. As community nurses, we visit people in their homes all the time – and we should always respect that. All you have to do is imagine it’s the home of someone you love. That alone will guide your practice, even those visits that can leave you pressurised and emotionally challenged.
Nursing. What can I say? It is not easy, not glamorous but it is very, very rewarding. A cliché maybe, but true nonetheless! I feel very proud that I have some fantastic experiences to reflect back on, and some not so fantastic – but they in turn proved to be important learning curves, not just in nursing, but in life.
Above all, it’s these clinical, communication and personal skills that Sirona will help you achieve that will prepare you for the future. Join our organisation and thrive – both as an individual and for the benefit of modern, highly-skilled community nursing.