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      02.06.2013 23:49
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      To be considered carefully

      I qualified as a State Registered Nurse in Shrewsbury in 1972. I enjoyed the training,made friends,never borrowed a penny from my parents,had good accommodation,and working conditions.I was able to afford holidays abroad. Best of all on qualifying I obtained a super job as a staff nurse on a Mens Surgical ward, which I always look back on with pleasure The ward was well run and organised and everyone knew their role in the system. Under these circumstances nursing is a very good career. The best!

      Forward to 2013, I now have a 26 year old daughter who is shortly to complete her training as a graduate nurse from Cardiff University. I would not have encouraged this probably but I could see that she is very suited to the job.Both in temperament and academic ability, especially science. Also she has proved that she can care well for patients having spent over a year working as a carer for an agency. She has the potential to be a better nurse than me.

      There are positives and negatives to report. My daughter has loved her training both at University and mostly in her various placements.She has made good friends.She especially valued her fairly recent placement in Critical Care. She has no doubts that she wants to nurse patients, and alarms my husband by discussing medical details over Sunday lunch!

      BUT there are worrying negatives, oh David Cameron why can't you see?

      There are over 100 students in her set, but very few Cardiff jobs. Apparently each Band 5 job which she could apply for has at least 80 applicants. In panic she has applied to various parts of Britain but really would prefer not to leave Cardiff.She is single, but if not would have less options.

      The understaffing of wards and units has become apparent .Underqualified staff are
      allegedly left with too great responsibilities in some instances.This when there are about to be qualified nurses waiting on the wings.

      Also the nursing bursary is not enough to live on. This requires students to obtain additional employment.I feel obliged to pay my daughters rent of £400 per month. I do not know how students manage if they do not have parental financial support.

      My feeling is that NHS nursing is undervalued and being phased out like never before.Nurses should not have to work ridiculously long hours for the obvious reason that they will be tired and not able to give of their best.

      I do not yet regret my daughter taking up nursing it is what she wants to do,but if you are thinking the same do at least consider carefully whether or not it will be right for you.

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        28.03.2011 14:10
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        great career choice!

        I have been a qualified nurse now for the last 6 years and it is a job/vocation that is close to my heart and my poor family's 'lug holes'.

        Nursing isnt a 'job' to me. It certainly is a vocation and you really need to be a certain type of person to be a nurse. You need to WANT to do this as your career.

        I started my training at the earliest age i was able to, 17 1/2, after i had completed my A-Levels in French, German and English (originally thinking i wanted to be a teacher) and went to my local University so that i didnt incur the cost of living away from home and get to my eyeballs in debt. Instead, i lived with my parents and lapped up the student lifestyle from there.

        The student lifestyle when you are a student nurse, i believe is quite different from that of a student studying something such as History or Sciences. In most University courses, your terms are filled with lectures and assignments with deadlines, and many evenings filled with alcohol and partying. Dont get me wrong as a student nurse, i did my fair share of partying and going out, but half your course was lectures and assignments, but 7 weeks in every 14 were dedicated to the real thing. Working on the wards with a mentor and sometimes an associate mentor working the shifts asked of you and performing the practicalities of the job. To begin with, this was great, knowing i was in my first year and had another 2 to go took a lot of pressure away from what i was actually going to be responsible for, and at the end of the 7 week placement, which differed every term. It was in my 3rd year that the pressure suddenly dawned on me that i would be looking after 9-18 patients in less than a year and not only undertaking the practical skills such as wound dressings and tablet administration, but actually had to prioritise my workload and manage my time effectively. EEEEKK, after 3 years i got my Dip He Nursing - general. Thats my diploma in nursing to you and me.


        Now the hard work and dedication began.....

        Now nursing is not a case of making people better like a conveyor belt. It encompasses so many other things and at times can be emotionally draining. I have on a few occasions come home wondering whether i am cut out for the job or upset because despite all my efforts a patient had become very unwell. This is sole destoying, which is why you need to be able to adapt a system whereby you can reflect on the job, but not take it home to your family, or it can consume you.

        I get so much satisfaction seeing a patient walk out of the hospital with a smile on their face knowing that the reason they had been admitted into hospital had been resolved thanks to the Multi-displinary team and myself of course!

        Not all patients walk out of the hosptial, some sadly lose ther battle and pass on, but this does not mean as nurses we cannot give them the most dignified send off, and this is the last thing we can do for our patients and is an important aspect of patient care.

        On a lighter note, chocolates and biscuits we have been given from patients has certainly added to the pounds around my stomach, making the uniform all that tighter!!

        Nursing, as well as the practical skills which are developed over time with practice has other elememts, such as teamwork with your colleugues, documentation, the ability to communicate effectively with staff, patients and relatives too. far more complex than i thought when i first started my training.

        I won't bore you any longer than to conclude that nursing is a fabulous career choice for me. I have cried in happiness and sadness, i have never laughed so much as when i am at work. A rewarding career that is hard work.

        I am only speaking from a personal level and that i love my job and will do my upmost for my patients.

        I hope that on the most part Nursing as a profession will gain a better name for itself as i know many people that put a lot of effort into their jobs as nurses.

        Many thanks for reading, and i hope that this has not appeared offensive in any way.

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          20.06.2010 22:57
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          Could not imagine doing any other job

          Nursing has always been a part of me, since from when i could remember i wanted to be a nurse. However, after listening to pressures i decided to study Law at university. After my year i decided to take some time out and got a job as a Healthcare Assistant at my local general hospital. Within a week i had quit my law degree and applied to a nursing course.
          I was ecstatic when i was offered my place for 8 months later.

          I am now a student nurse and absolutly love my job. Like all jobs it has its ups and downs but all in all i can not imagine doing anything else. I wake up every single morning excited about my day ahead and get a real rush out of knowing i am making a difference, no matter how small, in someones life.

          Nurses do not always get a great write up and are given quite a hard time from patients, relatives and other healthcare proffessionals alot but that is all part of the job and dealing with this as made me a much stronger person.

          The stereotype given to nurse is so unflattering many of us get infuriated occasionally. If it's not the sterotype of being in evry guys fantasy in the PVC uniforms then its the comment of "oh god what a horrible job wiping dirty bums all day". I can honestly say, for me, the personal care of an elderly patient is one of my favourite things of the job. The thought of a person being so dependent on me makes it a wonderful thing to help that person and maybe even make their day.

          I would desperatly urge someone thinking of becoming a nurse to go for it cause it is definately a worth while job. Nurses are always going to be needed and there are so many job oppurtunities. Also if unpredictability is for you then you have found your perfect job

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            11.07.2009 13:04
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            A vocation for the hard working caring type

            I have been a qualified nurse for the last four years. Its not something I ever imagined I would be and I just got into the profession by chance. At 17 I was a qualified dental nurse and was only paid minimum wage so thought id look into other healthcare careers and decided that id be a good nurse.

            I trained in Manchester on the first "making a difference" programme. The training was 50% academic 50% practicle; in my opinion nursing is becoming far to academic. I understand that each nurse has to have under pinning knowledge but in a practicle career I cannot help thinking that more is gained from actual hands on training.

            Anyway, onto my career; once qualified I worked as a neonatal nurse for 2 years, this position was highly rewarding but also highly demanding; taking its toll physically and mentally. Due to the shift pattern and and night shift demands i was unable to continue and looked for another position. If it wasnt for the night shifts I would probably have worked there forever, the job satisfaction and fast pace was great. i often miss working with the babies and do many bank shifts on the unit, this way I get the best of both worlds; I can choose the shifts I like and dont get bogged down with paper work and politics.

            I now work in a daycase recovery and the hours are fantastic (Monday to Friday between 8 and 5) and suit me down to the ground, the job satistaction isnt as good but its just finding a balance that suits me.

            Both jobs ive worked in have been NHS positions and very hands on and patient centred and this is an aspect of nursing I really like. However, there are many nursing positions that are more clerical, like management or researching.

            If your thinking of becoming a nurse make sure your heart is in it and its something you want to do, as if you dont you will not enjoy it at all and will get no satisfaction.

            The training will open your eyes if you have never worked in healthcare before as you will become aware of the hundreds of jobs available within the NHS, including the wide variety of nursing positions (ones to suit everybody).

            Nursing is not for everybody, but for those of you that its for (the caring hard working type) it can be so rewarding and a great career path.

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              20.01.2009 14:59
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              Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian

              Nursing Studies- Glasgow Caledonian University.
              This is a 4 year course and is no way for the faint-hearted. Before I go into the details of the curriculum it is important to note that Nursing is a vocation and you really have to be the right kind of person to be able to see the course through. So without sounding patronising it is important to think long and hard about whether you will be a suitable candidate for this career path. Remember that you will be dealing with extremely vulnerable and sick individuals. Coupled with long working hours and a demanding study schedule.


              There are various ways to complete a nursing qualification at this institution. Full-time-part time degree or diploma level. This course is primarily aimed at those who wish to undertake an adult nursing qualification, however there are opportunities to participate down the route of Childrens Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disability Nursing. The first year of the course follows a common foundation programme where students gain basic nursing skills. On completion students will be able to follow their desired Branch of Nursing. The university uses a variety of teaching methods and the course itself is made up of fifty percent theory and fifty percent practice. (This is where you will be given experience working in various hospital wards and healthcare settings within thecommunity).Problem-based learning is used and they have a clinical simulation lab which looks and functions like a real hospital ward where you can gain experience and make mistakes, before being let loose on real patients!!! They also incorporate Sociology, psychology, life sciences and anatomy and physiology into the programme.
              It is wise to check the university website for entry requirements. It can be possible to take an access to nursing course for those who do not have the necessary academic qualifications. Please also note that a Disclosure Scotland application will also be required.

              I have found the course to be both stimulating and very rewarding. Although hard work, and emotionally and physically draining on some levels. I would recommend this career choice to anyone who has a real burning desire to undertake this type of work.

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              17.06.2002 06:38
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              Pull up a chair because this is a long one. Flu vac season is one of my favorite things (I know, pretty sick), so lets examine what they are and why I enjoy this part of my job. Who needs one? ~ Government guidelines state – Anyone 65 years of age or older. Anyone (whatever their age) with a chronic heart or chest complaint, this includes asthma. Chronic kidney disease Diabetes Lowered immunity i.e. due to long-term steroids or cancer treatment. People with HIV/Aids. Some other chronic diseases i.e. Coeliac Disease Anyone living in a residential or nursing home. All of the above are entitled to a vaccine on the NHS. Who does not need one? ~ Fit healthy people. This is because although flu is a nuisance to them and generally unpleasant, it is not usually serious or life threatening and occasional bouts of flu give better protection than the vaccination. The vaccine gives 70–80% protection. For this first time this year I noticed that healthy individuals could purchase flu vacs from supermarkets and chemists like Boots. My only concern about this is every year in general practice we struggle to buy enough vaccines to offer to everyone at risk. Surgeries are always phoning each other and asking ‘Do you have any spare?’. If a portion of the vaccines made are being sold to healthy people, will there be enough? It’s not that we don’t order enough for the patients as we know how many we will need due to the computer searches, but amount of vaccines made is not infinite and has to be shared. On average adults suffer from 1-3 respiratory tract infections each year; young children suffer more as they have not yet made antibodies to the viruses. It is very unusual however to have flu more than once a year. How is the vaccine made? ~ Every year the World Health Organisation has the difficult job of predicting which 3 influen
              za viruses need to be included in this years vaccine. As the vaccines have to be ready for October, they have to predict this in advance, this must be difficult. The viruses are then grown in hens eggs, then killed and purified and made into a vaccine. The vaccines are different every year. How long does it take to work? ~ The body takes 7-10 days after receiving the vaccine to make antibodies that will protect you for one year. This is why people who come across the virus before the body has made antibodies may still develop the flu although the attack may be less severe than without the vaccine. Who should not have the vaccine? ~ Pregnant women, there is no evidence that the vaccine causes foetal abnormalities but like most medications it is best avoided. Anyone with a serious allergy to hen’s eggs or who previously had a serious reaction to a flu vac should not be given the vaccine. How is it given? ~ By subcutaneous injection (beneath the skin, ideal for people with hemophilia) or more usually by deep intramuscular injection, usually into the outer aspect of the deltoid (the upper arm muscle). Children can have the injection in the thigh if preferred. This is not as horrific as it sounds as the needles are actually quite small. Dose – Adults and children over 13 are given a single injection of 0.5mls (usually comes in a pre filled syringe). Children aged 4–12 also receive 0.5mls but if this is the first time the child has had the immunization, it should be repeated 4 weeks later. 6 months to 3 years are given 0.25 – 0.5mls depending on the manufacturer, again repeated after 4 weeks if necessary. Under 6 months – not recommended. Side Effects ~ Most commonly some soreness at the injection site. Sometimes fever and malaise 6-12 hours later and lasting for 48 hours. Very rarely but possible a severe allergic reaction (Touch wood I haven't seen one yet). Common Myth ~ The flu vaccina
              tion gave me the flu. Not possible, it is an inactivated virus and cannot cause the infection. As it takes 7–10 days for antibodies to be made, if you come across the virus in this period you may still suffer from it although the attack is likely to be less severe. In reality most people do not have the flu and instead have a common cold, but that’s another op to write. The reality of administering flu vaccines from a nurse’s point of view. I love flu jab season, or so I believe before the clinics start. Funny how amnesia kicks in making me forget the horrible bits. I spend a lot of time undertaking work that requires lots of thinking and concentration, immunising on mass seems a doddle in comparison, until we start. The theory is that a nurse shall immunise 3 patients every 5 minutes, an achievable task only if all goes to plan. We administer approximately 4000 flu vacs every year; the computer is wonderful for finding the patients in the ‘at risk group’ and invitations are sent. The same computer is programmed so that at a flick of a button, the immunisation is recorded, along with the batch no and a prescription and claim made (You didn’t know Gps got paid for this did you?). The room is ready, with several chairs outside. Now last year, the Department of Health lowered the age limit for at risk patients, a wonderful initiative that unfortunately meant the number of vaccines was limited and even likely to be inadequate, therefore rendering the nurse very protective of who may receive one. On entering the treatment room, patients should be ready for immunisation. Large notices outside, requesting them to remove outer clothing seem to be going unnoticed as elderly people wearing more skins than an onion are taking ten minutes to disrobe. This is all very inconvenient, especially as it takes them ten minutes to dress again, which they insist on doing in the room despite the large queues outside.There are also a
              large group of patients who have not yet perfected the art of removing coats and talking at the same time, so questions such as ‘Are you allergic to anything’ require them to stop undressing whilst they answer. One question to be avoided at all costs is ‘Are you well at the moment’. As well as being an utterly stupid question to ask, it encourages the patient to tell you about every ache and ailment they have had for the last 50 years. Once successfully immunised, patients are requested to remain in the waiting room for a certain period of time, this often results in standing room only as the volume of patients resembles a West Life concert, probably the same age range as well. Then there are the problems, patients who, were not invited but need a flu jab. On enquiring which high-risk group he belonged to, one gentleman told me he was a furniture polisher. Now I realise the Department of Health have negligently omitted to include this patient’s occupation in the high-risk group, but I wonder how tables and polishing put him at risk of flu. ‘Because’ he tells me in a voice that says you stupid woman, ‘I go into lots of peoples houses that have the flu, I may catch it and I cannot afford to be off work’. An explanation that vaccinations are only administered on the grounds of clinical need is met with surprise, incredulity and downright disgust. Oh the joys of the job. Another favourite patient is the one who says ‘No my appointments tomorrow but my neighbour/friend/long lost cousin came today so I came with him’. Now being ever affable, I am perfectly happy to bend the rules occasionally for these patients, but these are always the ones who spoil it with the famous words ‘While I’m here’, every practice nurses nightmare. This is often followed by ‘Could you check my blood pressure, check what holiday vaccinations myself/husband/daughter/grandchildr
              en need for Turkey, weigh me, do my dressing and see if my smear is due’. These people often exit even more hastily than they arrived, and hopefully don’t mention ‘While I’m here’ again……….. Hope this didn’t offend anyone who has ever done this, but I only see this side of the fence. Seriously, it is fun and we get to see lots of patients, plenty of whom make the job worthwhile, so that’s my op

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                06.03.2002 15:02
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                • "no time to get to know staff"

                Although I have worked for nurse banks and agencies for many years I do not like the way they are run and the effect that the use of bank and agency nurses has on the quality and continuity of care. I have since worked for an agency providing homecare staff, and was involved in the allocation of work to carers. I realise how difficult it is, as carers tend to work part-time and have other commitments. I was lucky enough in my bank nurse job to get regular shifts on the same department and became almost like a member of the permanent staff. This was mainly because the sister in charge did not like using bank staff as they were unreliable and often incompetent. Once she realised that I was very experienced and reliable she put in a regular order for me, so I got to know how everything worked and was able to provide a better service to them and was given extra responsibilities. There is some confusion as to what the difference between bank staff and agency staff, but mainly bank staff work in the same place all the time, whether it be a hospital or nursing home, but they may work on different wards within that place. Agencies are usually based away from the workplace and will provide staff for many different places. Most hospitals now have their own banks, based in or near the hospital. Secombe and Buchan have written several reports on nurse absence and use of temporary staff. They believe the main reasons for absence are, illness, work related injuries, stress and family commitments. It is also clear from the report that there is a lot of conflict between maintaining staff levels and keeping costs down. "Whilst there was a recognition that some cheaper options, in cost terms may have an adverse impact on continuity or quality of care, line management were often under pressure not to increase staffing costs." (px). The report suggests many times that the use of bank and agency staff has a negative effect on
                continuity and quality of patient care. They state that where ward staff have control over the nurses they get from the bank the effect on patient care was less of a problem. Humm (1995) makes a point that I strongly agree with; "Use of bank nurses can adversely effect continuity of care and make it difficult to implement training and development programmes for staff. It would appear that both employees and patient welfare take second place to economic considerations" (p42). I agree with Humm "working for a bank was the only way I could get work whilst I was studying" but I do feel guilty that the patients may have suffered; I always endeavoured to do the best I could. I preferred to work in the same places regularly, but this was not always possible. In my job as a care co-ordinator, I tried to send the staff that I allocated to jobs to the same people regularly, as I know what it is like to be always in an unfamiliar place. It does require extra skills to be a bank nurse; "they have to adapt to different situations at the drop of a hat," (Hurd 1998 p11). This is not always easy and takes time to develop. Unfortunately most people do not regard bank staff very highly and often treat them badly. "It would be nice if permanent staff showed consideration to fellow human beings with feelings" (ibid). Working for a bank can also have a positive side; I developed skills to adapt quickly to different environments, to be observant and to be able to work on my own initiative. It also gave me the knowledge to be able to empathise with the staff that worked for me at the homecare agency. I know it is difficult for wards that are short staffed when they are sent staff who do not know the area or routine, but having a bad attitude towards them will not help. I was once in a position, whilst working in a nursing home, where I was the only permanent member of staff on a
                night shift, all the other staff were from an agency as the rest of the staff were out at a Christmas party. It all went very smoothly, I showed the agency staff where things were and explained about residents that had special requirements and then told them to let me know if they wanted to know anything or needed any help. Most of the residents had been told that there would be different staff and they were as helpful as possible. I believe that a change in attitudes towards agency and bank staff could be all that is needed to iron out some of the problems.

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                  19.12.2001 00:38
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                  • overworked

                  I have just read the other opinions that are here on nursing, and have nothing but praise for both the writers...they have explained and portrayed nursing very well. I am now 33, and have been nursing since I was 17. I was one of the old fashioned hospital trained girls, back in Australia, where I went to lectures for study blocks, and then had clinical placements on the ward to reinforce the theory. Kind of an apprenticeship....or in reality, pathetically paid and terrified labourer, with the stress of tons of text books and exams to bear whilst, hoping I don't kill anybody while I practice on them! hehehe... At the end of the three years training, I graduated as a confident and competent Registered Nurse...well for a new grad anyway. I could manage my workload, care for my patients, and even lead the shift if I had to. Now the training has changed...been moved into the universities. I guess it's great for the profession, as the graduates are now coming out with degrees and diplomas, and can stand next to other uni qualified professions as an equal. Bit different to my certificate...but..... The uni grads come out as qualified Registered Nurses, who are not confident, and still need to learn how to handle a full workload for themselves, let alone lead the shift. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking them, as the uni training is the only option now....but is it what nursing really needs. It is impossible to learn how to be a nurse from text books, and working supernumary during placements. It's not the real picture. It also leads to a lot of these graduates discovering, that once in their first placement, and often unsupported by their mentor, because they can never work the same shift due to the chronic short staffing, that they don't actually like nursing!! (Something that you would have discovered within weeks of beginning hospital training.) This certainly doesn't help the staffin
                  g crisis within the NHS. I don't say that I know the answers either, but I really do believe that the current system of training needs to be reviewed urgently if we're to retain the graduates that we've got, let alone attract more to the profession. Staffing....well don't get me started on that!! I was recruited to the NHS from Australia. I was aware that there were staffing shortages, but never dreamt that they were as desperate and chronic a problem as it obviously is. It is almost guaranteed that every single shift I ever work, that we will be at least one nurse down, with no chance of boosting the numbers, by using local agencies. You see we're outside of London, and the agency pay up here is very poor compared to London. So all the travellers who nurse to support their travel expenses stay in London to make the money. I have never been so overworked, underpaid, unappreciated and stressed at work in all my life!! I run around all day, desperate to meet the needs of my patients, empathetic towards their complaints, but unable to do it all because I'm only human and only one person. So I just take the brunt of all the complaints, apologise on behalf of the NHS, and go home deflated and exhausted. I work days, evenings, nights and have the responsibility of always being in charge, as I am a sister, and after being a nurse for 16 years....am paid £19.935 plus 11% for unsocial hours worked. My pay is so poor because once again, we're outside of London. So why do it? Because it is all I've ever wanted to be. If I can help to save one life, then it is worth all the stress and abuse. I truly care for people, and a nurse is all I will ever be. I guess it's places like this, where I can let off some steam, that help me work through it. While I am living in the UK, I will do my best within the NHS, but somebody, somewhere needs to do something about the NHS before all the nurses
                  are burnt out, and nobody is capable of coping with the load.

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                    15.10.2001 21:07
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                    Whenever I tell people that I’m a mental health nurse, they tend to respond in one of two ways. The first is along the lines of “I could never do that”, and the other is “how interesting – id really like to do what you do”. So, for those of you of think you could never do it, well, you are probably right and don’t try because the less of us that there are, the faster I get promotion and earn more money!!!! For those of you who think it sounds interesting, then I hope this op will give you a an indication of what it is really like. To start off with, you have to train to a become a nurse. There is no shortcut and without the basic registration, you cannot practice. Nurse training is linked to universities and the course takes three years to complete, if you want a diploma of higher education and a nursing qualification, or four years if you want a bachelors degree and a nursing qualification. The academic qualifications you need to be accepted onto the course varies from university to university, but a minimum of five GCSE’s, including English, math’s and a science is the usual – although some universities will accept a college access course pass for “mature” students. Many universities ask for more qualifications than this, but it is worth checking it out with them. You will also need to pass an interview to get on the course. And in mental health, whilst we don’t discriminate age wise, we actively encourage older students up to about 50, because they bring with them a wealth of experience before they even start the course. So don’t let your age put you off!!!! Student nurses are paid via a bursary, as opposed to a wage or indeed a student grant. The current bursary is in the region of £440 per month for the duration of the course. Whilst this is a pittance, at least you don’t have to pay it back at the end!!!! However, if you already work for the hea
                    lth service as a auxiliary or care assistant, ask about being seconded to the course, as this means you will be paid on your normal wage – most hospitals are doing this more and more as you have to commit to working for them for a period a time once you qualify ( usually one year). The training is generic for the first eighteen months, in that you get to experience all nursing disciplines – not just mental health, and the time is split between the university and placements either in hospitals or in the community. The last eighteen months is course specific, so if you are studying to be a mental health nurse, then the last half of the course is spent studying this at Uni., plus relevant and appropriate placements. Providing you pass all your course work, exams and placements, at the end of it your name will be put forward to the UKCC, the nurses professional body, and providing they accept you onto the register, you are then free to practice. As you would expect for any professional, you have to keep updated and you must continue to practice a minimum number of hours each year, study a minimum hours each three years and keep a portfolio showing your fitness to practice. Whilst many nurses hate doing this, I think that the public deserve to be cared for by up to date, research aware nurses, rather than out of date, unsafe practitioners. When you qualify, you should be assisted by another qualified nurse for one year (called preceptership), who will assist you in the transition from student nurse to qualified nurse. The pay starts at about £16,000 (including enhancements). Its not much but as you get promoted and more experienced, it goes up. For example, I have been qualified ten years and am a senior sister and earn a basic wage of £26,000. It sounds a lot, but there is a whole lot of responsibility that goes with it. As a psychiatric nurse, you can work in the public or private sector. Nursing homes don’t tend to
                    pay well, and are mainly looking after the elderly, but if you want to specialise in, for arguments sake, the treatment of drug and alcohol problems, then many private clinics are available to work in and providing you hold a suitable post registration qualification, then they pay well and tend to have good working conditions. In the public sector, you can work for the police, prison service, armed services or the health service, to name but a few. Hospitals offer a range of specialties, from eating disorders, to elderly care, acute psychotic patients, secure units ( such as Broadmoor), obsessive compulsive disorder or long term care of seriously mentally ill. With the current move to community care, there is a wide range of posts and specialties open in this field too, including a great amount of counseling, on issues such as childhood sexual abuse, depression, and bereavement. However, to be respected and to practice well, you really need to get some post registration qualifications. To give you an example, I specialise in community treatment of post trauma events and having qualified as a nurse, I continued to work full time as a staff nurse, but undertook a course at university one day a week to get qualified in the community treatment of mentally ill patients. It did mean I was working very hard, but it was so much easier to get better jobs and negotiate better terms at interview with this additional qualification. I must tell you that despite the hard work, I love my job. It’s a real privilege that people trust me enough to share deep and distressing thoughts with me, in the hope that I can help them process them in such a way that they can then carry on and enjoy the rest of their life. Whilst at times I might be frustrated or angry with some patients, on the whole I find it really fulfilling and mentally stimulating. People usually ask if I have been attacked, or what is the worse thing I’ve seen, and I must t
                    ell you that I have never been hurt whilst on duty. The art of being a good psychiatric nurse is being able to spot potential problems and sort them out before they escalate, or once they have escalated, to use all the skills and attributes available to ensure no one gets hurt. I think I have probably been lucky in never being injured, as sometimes patients are so unwell it doesn’t matter what you do, but this is very rare. If you are thinking about nursing, consider mental health nursing. Your local community team of hospital will be more than happy to talk to you about it. You could try being a hospital volunteer first to see if you like it. If it appeals to you, find out more. It may be the best decision you make.

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                      11.07.2001 17:32
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                      I am a qualified nurse. It is something I always wanted to be as a child. I had the toy trolley, the red cape, the plastic stethoscope, and my younger brother was always the wary patient! Here I am now, aged 25, having been qualified for 4 years - strongly considering a different career. Nursing has many positive aspects, but for me personally the negatives are beginning to outweigh the positives. I hope you will find this analysis useful, especially if you are considering a career in nursing. POSITIVES ASPECTS:- * Can be a highly rewarding and satisfying job. What you do in your daily work can have a huge positive impact on others lives, and most are grateful for it. The feeling you get when someone's condition improves because of your work is amazing - that 'thank you' is worth it's weight in gold. * A nursing career can be highly varied. The everyday workload for most is different - different people, different problems, different staff. Within healthcare there are so many interesting specialties that you can work in - you are not restricted to one. With such shortages of nurses you can virtually pick and choose which area you would like to work in. * Although nurses do not get payed fairly in comparison to other public services professionals, the money over recent years has improved. And the potential to earn extra is there if you want it through bank work, agency or overtime. With the shortages you can almost guarantee that you will never be out of work - in this day and age that is a rare phenomenon. * To be a nurse you have to use your brain and is great if you need high levels of mental stimulation! There is never a dull moment and you have to make rapid decisions and think on your toes. It certainly is never boring! * Uniforms are provided!! This might not sound a serious positive aspect, but it is great because you don't have to spend time wandering shops looking for suits,
                      shoes, and accessories! You don't have to spend every morning thinking 'what should I wear?'!!! You have no choice!!! NEGATIVE ASPECTS. * The shift work can be a nightmare, or a blessing! I personally find it hard, especially when in a relationship with someone who works mon-fri, 9-5. Most areas will need cover 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Therefore you may have to work Christmas, New Year, Bank Holidays, weekends and nights. And contrary to the opinion of my non-nurse friends - you do not get paid much extra for working these unsociable hours! And most areas need to formulate the shift patterns a long time in advance, so you need to plan 3 months ahead! (Impossible most of the time). * Stress can be enormous, depending on which areas you work in. With staff shortages, increasing numbers of patients, higher patient expectations and the level of responsibility you have - it can be a high pressure job. Sometimes it makes me feel physically sick and the headaches I come home with are agonising! Some people love the stress -however,I could live without it! * Fear of litigation is increasingly becoming a reason as to why nurses leave the profession. The public are now more likely to complain about things and follow legal actions. I personally find this aspect difficult to cope with because I know I work to the best of my ability, but I am human and I could easily make an error. In nursing that error could kill or harm - and that frightens me. I often come home at night worrying that I had forgotten something important etc. Insomnia is an occupational hazard for a lot of nurses! * Nursing can be hard work - physically and mentally. Back injuries although greatly reduced, still occur. Abuse from patients and relatives is prevalent. Nurses are being expected to take on more and more skills, with less time, resources and support. I am looking to leave nursing eventually, which is a gre
                      at shame because I have been highly trained to be a nurse and I know I am a good nurse, able to do the job and do it well. Most of the time I genuinely do enjoy it. But unfortunately I am finding it harder to cope with and it often spills over into my private life, putting strain on relationships. To those who are looking into entering nursing, I wish you well. As I have said here there are many positive aspects to it and for many that enjoy nursing these greatly outweigh the negatives. Not all hospitals, surgeries, clinics etc are the same - I am sure there are many wonderful places out there. I am basing this opinion purely on my experience in a large, inner city hospital.

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