Highs and lows of a student nurse.

16th of august. 23:40

Part two.

Over the past year I have been lucky enough to meet hundreds of patients, and I have loads of memorable and heart warming memories that will stay with me forever, although I also have a lot of upsetting and downright heart breaking memories that will stay with me, however much I wish I could forget them.
Obviously it is these not so nice memories that help us to grow as a person and as a student nurse, and to help us develop the much needed emotional and communicational skills that we will need once we are let loose as qualifies staff nurses. I definitely still have along way to go in this department, I tend to still get too emotionally attached to my patients and tend to act as if they are a member of my own family, ( I do not know if this is a good thing or not.) I know that I will see a lot of patients die over the next couple of years, but I just can not see myself getting used it, and just accepting it as normality.
However other staff members and past mentors have told me that I will get better at dealing with this sort of thing and that I would not be human if I did not find somethings upsetting, after all it is part of our job to make a patients last few hours as comfortable as possible, but this does not mean that we can not also take time to reflect and grieve. Try to treasure every minute with a patient and feel honoured you are part of their care.

Most treasured moment.

One of my favourite memories is of an elderly patient I met on one of my placements, she was a fun loving lady from newcastle and was one of the funniest (& crudest may I add!) people I have ever met. She was so full of life, always cracking jokes with the staff and making sexual innuendoes to the rather embarrassed F1’s (first year doctors.) I loved looking after her, she made me feel at ease and always kept me entertained! She was honest and would tell me how it was! (like calling me a “bonny lass” when I asked her if she thought I should go on a diet!)
She seemed so strong to me like nothing in the world would get her down and that she could fight anything or anyone, (including the rather rude reg of whom she was under!)
I really did admire this lady, she had such gumption, I think they should make a film out of her life story one day! However some of it may be x rated! HaHa.

I spent nearly all of my shifts with this lady (talking and laughing…. well it is better than emptying catheters lets be honest!) & I went to every scan, biopsy, and test with her and held her hand (even though she SO did not need it as she kept telling me! She was made of tough stuff!)
Sometimes I wonder if it was all a front and she was secretly petrified inside but when you looked in her eyes the determination was so powerful that I completely believed her.

Even when the biopsy came back as positive to lung cancer, she said to me “think positive lass, ill be alright me! I aint just about to keel over!” I think maybe I was more upset than she was!
She remained positive and happy and even when her body reacted badly to a unit of blood she just smiled and whispered to me, “hey! I think this blood used to belong to a druggie, I feel rate of me head me!” (See what I mean, never miffed by anything!)
I heard so much about her family that lived in australia that when I met them I felt like I knew them already. I was glad she had her family with her as I was going to be leaving that ward soon and I would have hated her to be alone.

On my last day I noticed on the hand over sheet that she was now on the LCP programme (Liverpool Care Programme – That patients at the end of stages of a terminal illness are placed on when they are seen to have less than three weeks to live.)
I was so shocked I never thought it would get to this! Well.. not so soon anyway. When I went to say goodbye for the last time I managed to hold it together I wished her well and hugged her, and her daughter.

The lady held my hand and thanked me for everything and told me she was really going to miss me and that I would make a great nurse, I thanked her, held back my tears and told her to be strong and to think positive, she replied with “aye! As always lass!”
I walked off of the ward that evening with mixed emotions I felt proud and happy that I had really played a big part of her care and that I could really see that she was thankful, but I also felt devastated and angry at how unfair it was that people had to die all the time. I waited till I was off the ward to cry though, to save the embarrassment. Haha.

I never got to know what happened to that lady, but wherever she is I am sure she is causing mischief and causing a lot of trouble! I know she will be okay.


I learnt a lot from this experience, and I am so grateful I could be apart of her treatment.
Yes i know that portfolio work is boring but i really did find that reflecting on this situation has helped me deal with it properly and allow me to understand the importance of “care.”
Maybe that is why we have to do it, and it isn’t just to bore us to tears!


I think that is enough for one night! I will blog tomorrow evening, with the top 10 best and worse points of being a student nurse!! That should cheer me up!

Night all…. M xoxo

p.s I would love to hear your most treasured moments too!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mike
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 00:05:36

    So im in the bath at 1 am after being out the house working for 16 hours, alarm set for 5.45am reading this blog not knowing if i should laugh or cry but some how im now looking forward to being back at work in the morning. Cant describe what it is that drives us, but wouldn’t be doing anything else.
    keep blogging milly
    Mike x
    fellow student


    • milly x
      Aug 18, 2011 @ 07:36:30

      Hello mike, thank you for your comment it was lovely and really made my morning!! I know, me neither really, just perhaps the feeling of pride? I don’t know, I mean don’t get me wrong I do have days where I am like, ” oh my god get me out of here” but I know after a nights sleep I always feel better.

      Oh and before I forget, what is your most treasured memory?

      Milly xoxo

      P.s have a nice shift!


  2. mike
    Aug 19, 2011 @ 00:24:48

    the thing that has stuck with me is a dementia patient who for months never responded to anything i said or did, but i always talked to him like he understood everything. Then out of the blue we had a moment of clarity, he was able to hold a simple conversation with me and said ‘thank u for all u do’ really could have cried, infact just brought tears to my eye thinking about it. Then it really hit me when he said ‘what went wrong, what can i do?’ distroyed me to hear he realised he was not well and was so down.
    But i know that i cant fix things but can do all i can to make this mans life as happy and furfilling as possible


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