How I became a nurse

I thought I'd try my hand at blogging so thank you for taking the time to read my first ever blog! I thought I'd introduce myself and let you know a little bit about me and how I became a nurse.

I never wanted to be a nurse initially

My name is Becky and I am a qualified adult nurse and small business owner. Before starting this business my first love (and still is) was nursing. When I was young I never actually wanted to be a nurse even though I had a keen interest in Biology and was fascinated with the way the human body worked, it never once crossed my mind to train to be a nurse. Initially I wanted to be a 'cook' or a chef rather, I've no idea why, all I can remember is enjoying mixing ingredients together! I definitely wouldn't make a good chef - my cooking is average at the best!

I didn’t do well with my A Levels

At the age of 17 and after being on a few holidays abroad I liked the look of becoming an air stewardess. It seemed glamorous and I thought I’d get to travel the world! So for my A levels I took Spanish and French in hoping that learning extra languages would help me in my quest to becoming an air stewardess. I really didn't do very well with my A Levels at all and really struggled to absorb the languages. I thought my granny being French would help, but alas it did not!

Interview for a major airline

I still wasn't put off by my poor grades though and applied for an interview with a major airline at 19. Part of the application required me to have photos taken of myself and I had to be a certain height and weight - which to me sounds absurd now! I applied and got an interview, and it was awful, so intimidating. It was a group interview and I was the youngest there. Hearing about the job and what it really entailed I soon realised it wasn't for me. I wasn't offered the job- which I believe happened for a reason, who knows if I'd still be a nurse if I was offered the job?!

I still didn’t know what I wanted to do

So this left me at a point where I really didnt know what i wanted to do and felt a strange pressure that i should have had it all figured out at 19 years old. Retrospectively though I realise there are no time limits on life decisions like that. However at the time it was hard, I went to a careers advisor but was still none the wiser.

I had a love for working with people

I had a sunday job in a local retail shop (which I hated) and applied for a full time job there so I at least had an income when I left school. It was selling nautical wear and was not for me, but it really increased my confidence and helped develop my people skills. I knew one thing for sure, I really wanted to work with the public. During my time there I applied for a job as a veterinary assistant, thinking my background of having grown up on a farm would help, however it did not. My heart wasn't in it, I was actually very sick the morning of the interview too! Unsurprisingly I didn't get the job. 

One day my mum got sick...

A year later I was still working as a supervisor in a store I hated with a manager who used to refer to me as 'child'. My mum became ill, she suffered with Asthma, and had done for many years. I was used to seeing her going in and out of hospital. But on this occasion she was really unwell and ended up on Critical Care. It was an horrendous time and I don't remember being allowed to visit her in the Critical Care Unit. But when she was moved to a medical ward I was allowed to visit. I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before, but on one occasion whilst I was visiting my mum the penny dropped.

The penny dropped!
My mum was really improving and in a bay with four other people. I sat with my mum watching the nurses care for her and the other patients. I chatted to them and found myself with a huge desire to want to help them too. I said to my mum I know what I want to do, I want to be a nurse! Why I hadn't thought about this before is beyond me! It clicked, I couldn't believe it. The first thing I did when i went home was apply for a job as a health care assistant to gain a bit of experience and see what it was like. I also applied to university too.

I got some experience as a HCA

I got the job as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) on an 11 bedded discharge ward. It wasn't just discharges though, it was extremely busy at times and we had a vast array of patients and at times end of life patients. I absolutely loved it and couldn't believe I was getting paid for helping people shower and care for them in that manner. They did however send me to a stroke unit for a week for a bit of experience somewhere else - that I really wasn't so keen on and remember my time there vividly - but that's a story for another day!

Highly recommended

I was only there six months as I started uni shortly after. It was an amazing experience and confirmed my love for working with people and wanting to help them. I also had a very good ward sister who taught me all the basics like hospital corners, the last rights - it was a time I’ll never forget.

It's not essential but if you're thinking of starting your nursing journey I highly recommend you get a bit of experience in health care first whether it be volunteering or perhaps doing what I did and working as a support worker. You'll get to understand the routine, how it all works and ultimately see if you like it or not.

I’ve never looked back!
I then started university at the age of 21 in January 2005, qualified in December 2008 (pic is of my mum and I on my graduation) and the rest is history! I've now been qualified for over 14 years with a background in Oncology and Trauma, and although it's been very hard emotionally at times I've loved it. The patients, the variety, belonging to a team. It's a rewarding profession I'm proud to say I belong to.

Thank you for getting this far!
Thank you so much for reading my first blog! I've got lots more blogs planned chatting about all sorts of things nursing over my 14 year experience. Watch this space.

Becky xx