I had to have bone marrow transplant this year, so after the procedure I had to stay in hospital for three months in a special room to protect my immune system. It was difficult, quite lonely and boring, especially as a lot of my friends were starting new jobs after uni. I had visitors, but there’s just a lot of sitting around waiting to get better.
Thank goodness for Michael. He was one of the nurses on my team and just made every day a little bit easier. He tells the most awful jokes but they always made me laugh, even on days when I thought I’d never get back to a normal life. You hear a lot about how tough it is in the NHS, but Michael was amazing. He always had some time to chat about music, which we both love. He talked to me like I was a normal human being, rather than this sick person with a catalogue of problems. He made the time I had to spend in hospital so much more bearable.
You meet a lot of different people working in a hospital, but it’s quite rare to have someone stay as long as Gemma. I liked her as soon as we met – we’re about the same age and share a passion for live music. Plus she was a captive audience for my terrible jokes!
You never know who or what you’re going to see next, working as a nurse and I get a real sense of pleasure out of adapting to the situation in front of me. What I love most though, is the personal interaction with patients – you get a completely different outlook on life when you meet people like Gemma who are dealing with really tough physical and mental challenges.
The first day Gemma was able to leave the isolation room I took her out into the hospital garden and her reaction was just magical. You get to make a real difference in this job and when you see it on a patient’s face, that just makes my day.
Nursing does require some formal training, but if you recognise any of these characteristics then you’re already in with a head start:
Nurses deal with lots of different people and conditions, so you need to love helping others and have a pragmatic, but flexible, approach to life.
Naturally, with so many patients – and their families – to see you’ll also need excellent communications skills, empathy, patience, and kindness.
This is a challenging job – you’re working with patients who are often under a great deal of stress – so it definitely helps to have a cheerful, sensitive approach on life.
It also suits someone with strong observation skills and who is a confident decision maker.
You’ll often be part of a wider team of medical experts, which means the job suits critical thinkers who can work both independently and in partnership.
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