Adult Nursing with Rachael

Adult Nursing student, Rachael Quinn, discusses her reasons for changing direction and becoming a nurse

"My name is Rachael Quinn, I am 25 years of age"Adult Nursing student Rachael Quinn

I am a second-year adult nursing student from Northern Ireland and have lived in Edinburgh for nearly two years. Caring and supporting people has always been a passion of mine. As my mother is a nurse, I have grown up in a house where care has been a regular topic of conversation. Before applying to do my nursing I was always aware of the challenges and rewards of the profession and mindful that to choose to become a nurse is to choose a vocation.

“I knew I had the right skills to be a nurse”

My educational background before coming to study at Edinburgh Napier university was sports. Being a keen sportswoman throughout my school years, my teachers encouraged me to become a physical education teacher, but having carried out some teaching placements, it became clear that it wasn’t the job for me. I then took a year out to work full-time and have a think about what I felt I would enjoy and where I would be happy working long term.
I went back to study again whilst getting some caring experience working as a community care worker. Studying for my HNC in health and social care helped me understand the importance of person-centred care and how building a professional relationship with patients and family members through compassion, empathy, and professionalism was key to the role. I knew I had the skills to accomplish this.

“It was clear to me that I belonged as a nurse”

Throughout my time working as a care worker, it was clear to me that this is where I was supposed to be and where I was most comfortable. I adored bringing smiles to patients’ and family members’ faces, sometimes at their lowest moments. The feeling of joy I got stays with me to this day. I eventually built up the confidence to apply to the BN Adult Nursing course at Edinburgh Napier not thinking I would get a place, and I was ecstatic when I learnt that I had been accepted.

“I had heard good things about Edinburgh Napier and its simulation and clinical skills centre”

I knew a lot of people who had come to study in Edinburgh and heard only positive feedback about Napier. I had watched videos of the state-of-the-art facilities in the simulation and clinical skills centre, and how real life that it was! After researching the course content, I was amazed at how much the BN Adult Nursing course covered!

The thing that stood out to me and influenced my decision the most was the principle of the degree being split equally between academic and practical learning. I learn the most with hands-on experience and the opportunity to get working one-to-one with patients, won me over!

“Nursing is the most rewarding job anyone could choose to do”

Nursing is a vocation, it is not easy, and some days it can be tough. Already in second year I have dealt with difficult situations that I never thought I’d have to deal with. But the bad days are greatly outweighed by the good days and this is the most rewarding job anyone could choose to do. The fact that the interaction and communication you have with someone can influence their whole day or week was really something that will stick with me throughout my nursing career. The valuable relationships that the student nurse builds with fellow staff members within a multidisciplinary team is the reason I wanted to work for the greatest force of all – the NHS.

I feel lucky to be able to provide care and comfort to many individuals, and proud to be that person who goes the extra mile for patients. It makes me happy that I have helped so many individuals in their time of need and always kept their best interests at heart. I have learnt that simply taking someone a cup of tea and listening to their stories can really help them – sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference!

“Most patients appreciate every little thing that you do for them”

As I said, nursing is not easy. I can honestly say as a second-year student nurse, there has certainly been days where I have asked myself ‘is it all worth it?’ There are some days on placement that can be very overwhelming, and you can sometimes feel out of your depth, but then a patient thanks you for something you have done or said, and that’s when you remember that it is absolutely worth all the hard days! Most patients appreciate every little thing that you do for them, and they help me as much as I help them.

“My advice would be don’t be afraid to ask questions”

My advice to someone considering nursing would be: to be a nurse, you must be self-sufficient and very proactive. Being a nursing student, working full-time, whilst also keeping a part-time job can be challenging; but the mentors and individuals you will work alongside are there to support and help you throughout your time as a student. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as you will never know it all.

Try to relax and take everything in as best you can, always seek new opportunities when they arise. Sometimes I forget that I am still learning and that I am not expected to know everything.

To me, being a nurse is a vocation, it's a feeling of giving back and supporting individuals who may not have anyone else. For some individuals you might be the only person that they see that day and sometimes you just need to be the person who listens.  If you feel you want to build a rapport with patients, then nursing is for you!

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