Friday, 6 December 2019

The Reality of a First-Year Student Mental Health Nurse

Some of you may be aware that I am currently a First-Year Student Nurse; studying my Mental Health Undergraduate Degree and I am already almost one semester in.. how? So far, University has been a rollercoaster and a half, there has been so many ups and some quite bad downs along the way also but I have dropped out yet, so something must be going right.

I am still adapting to University life and I have found it quite difficult to adjust to. Lectures are something that I haven't experienced before and I really struggle to concentrate for long periods of time in a room of 300 people, but they're getting better. I much prefer Seminars to lectures because they're usually course specific instead of being targeted at all student nurses; specifically adult nurses and they're also taught in a much smaller group.

One thing that I really do enjoy is that as a student nurse, one of our modules is all about skills which we learn in a skills lab with hospital equipment, they're much more interactive and far more interesting. So far we've covered topics such as Manual Handling, Mental Health First Aid, Basic Life Support and Medication Administration where we got to play around with needles and fake skin. I'm sure that people who have previously worked in care wouldn't enjoy the skills sessions as much as I have because I haven't done anything like it before, whereas they most likely have. 

I probably should have mentioned sooner but I am actually studying locally and are therefore living at home and commuting each day which has its advantages and disadvantages. It is really good in terms that I still get the comfort of my own home, I get to see my family and cat all the time, I'm not paying a ridiculous amount of rent and I still get my double bed but equally, I feel like I am missing out on the whole University experience which isn't all bad in my case as I am an 'older' student and I don't enjoy drinking much but so many people have become such good friends with their flatmates and they're always going out and doing fun things which I do envy slightly but at the same time, I think I'd still prefer to live at home, even if it means waking up between 5:30-6am each morning.

I am actually on an updated course because with health courses, they need updating every few years in order to maintain required standards and after talking to 2nd and 3rd year students, it is very different but there are also some perks that come with it, including opportunities after the degree. The way that the course is structured means that the entire first semester is theory and placement doesn't start until January which is getting quite repetitive and is a lot of information to absorb at one time. Thankfully, on the new course I am only at University for 3 days a week but that does come with tonnes of weekly directed and independent study that needs to be completed at home.

Talking about placement, I finally do have my first placement allocation and my uniform which is exciting, I am going to be working on an Inpatient ward for older people with Complex Mental Health Problems which I think will be interesting and I am sure that I will learn a lot. 

One last topic that I thought I'd address is studying a mental health nursing degree with mental health conditions; it can be challenging to say the least. Before starting Uni, I would have classed my Mental Health as fairly stable whereas Uni seems to have completely ruined that concept and I do have patches where I have a few bad days but luckily, I am mostly able to pull myself out of them. I don't think that the stress or lack of sleep is helping but I also have found Uni to be quite lonely at times, especially when you aren't living on campus because it seems that everyone has their friends and that everyone who lives on campus are able to easily meet up, whereas its much more difficult when you're living at home.

That is all from me today, I am aiming to write some more student nurse related posts over the next few months, especially throughout placement and I am sure that I will be back soon.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x


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