I’m currently sat on a train heading to my second day of my post as a general practice nurse! What a perfect time to reflect and write a blog?
3rd February 2020:
Yesterday, I woke ready for an amazing first day. I was ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ and so excited for it. My hours for my first day were 8.30am – 18.30pm and it went so fast!
In the morning I did all the admin stuff such as; getting onto the NHS net, setting up my email address, computer system passwords etc so I can get online and start seeing patients. Then I sat with 2 different practice nurses throughout the day, one in the morning and then one in the afternoon to evening. Both nurses were fantastic! So supportive, knowledgable and helped me so much. They made me feel so welcome and just overall lovely.
In the middle of all the excitement, I felt nervous. Or more of a ‘oh my, I’m an actual nurse now?! Can I do this?!’ Kind of feeling. Which is completely normal and from what I’ve seen on social media every newly qualified nurse (NQN) feels like this to start with. The practice manager also told me this was normal and not to beat myself up too much if I feel like I know nothing – she already knows me! Haha. I did reply with ‘yes, that will definitely be me later on when I’m at home reflecting on the day.’ But I need to listen to my own advice I give others. Which is:
‘we can’t know it all and we have to be kinder to ourselves.’
So to help with this, I added some positive quotes to the front of my notepad. Which brings me to my first tip in this blog – recognise those worries / concerns and put something in place to help you.
During my day, I leant and saw new things; things I’d never seen before and things I didn’t know at all! I saw my first kidney stones for example, 1cm X 0.5cm – It was so fascinating. Then I discovered many adults are having the MMR vaccine! Which I had no idea about?! I took the leaflet home with me for some bed time reading on this (I collect medication leaflets – second tip for students; collect them as you go, they are really useful!). But apparently, many adults didn’t get the full vaccinations when they were younger and now need the combined MMR. You can read more here.
I also witnessed a shingles vaccine for the first time. Again, I didn’t even know that was a thing haha! I felt like a student still. I just love learning new things, and this is why I fell in love with GP in the first place. No two days are the same, every patient has something different to bring to your day – it’s already the best career and I’m only at the start of it.
Other than these new things, I did / witnessed:
- A few ear examinations and infections
- Different types of wounds / leg ulcers
- Injections (You NEED a PGD to give these and vaccines in GP or a prescription, you can’t just give them)
- Hypertension / 24hr blood pressure monitor
- Toe nail check, clippings and sending to the lab for testing
- Blood tests
- Fridge temperature checks
- Stock checks
- Cleaning the rooms down
One of the wounds we saw, needed the same nurse to review it next time (Thursdays visit) and the nurse I was working with wasn’t in that day. So I offered to take on the patient myself, as I’d seen it being done, it was very simple and know how the wound looks. I felt confident enough to do that, so I didn’t mind at all. It all helps with the continuity of care for the patient too. I’m very excited to be getting stuck in and seeing my own patients now! I can’t wait. I have some blood tests to do tomorrow with the phlebotomist and get signed off that, and then from Wednesday I’ll be supported to have my own patients – Excited is an understatement! I’m also very fortunate that they are using the same computer system as I have used previously so that’s going to be a breeze to get my head around.
So after reading so many negative comments about NQN getting ‘lost in numbers’ or that ‘it’s not what they thought,’ I can honestly say – I’m loving life! This is how nursing should be. And just some final advice if you are coming up to qualification, ignore the negative comments, this is YOUR journey and yours alone. Your NQN life will be exactly what you make of it. I read somewhere positive that ‘getting lost in the numbers is a great thing. It means your fitting in and moulding to the team. Which is great!’ And that’s how I see this too. Get stuck in, you’ve trained for three years for this and some (like me) it’s taken over 11 years to get to this point now. Just remember, like I’ve said above, we can’t and won’t know it all – so be kind to yourself and ask for help if you need it. Embrace it, enjoy every moment right now. And if you really hate it, maybe look at the area you’re working in, try and make change if needed and relocate if there’s no support coming your way. There’s a great quote that fits this perfectly to end the blog