An open letter from a student nurse

Student Nurse C
A student nurse speaks candidly about the pressures of student placement and her admiration for her senior colleagues.

decorative image of student nurse on the job

Dear Nurses,

As a student nurse, I want to take this opportunity to thank the nurturing, positive nurses who are excited to impart wisdom and teach. If that’s you, thank you: we love you like Kanye loves Kanye. You make our journey as students educational, motivating, and pleasurable. Thank you for seeing what we have to offer, and having faith in our abilities, even when we don’t.

Sometimes, it is scary to be us. We’re new and there is so much to learn. As student nurses, we want your approval. We try to work extra hard to show you that we are worthy of your respect. We want to prove ourselves and show off our new skills.

Sometimes, that means we panic. Suddenly, we are stumbling over our feet trying to make ourselves seem worthy of your attention. ‘I swear, I can put these sterile gloves on fine when you are not in the room, but now that you are watching me I have somehow managed to put one on inside-out and the other looks like a broken violin.’

What you need to know is that we idolise you.  We want to be you (in a completely non-threatening, non-Silence-of-the-Lambs type way).  We want to hear your story of how you started nursing and we want to soak up your all wisdom and knowledge like a sponge (cake).

Because to us, you are basically superheroes. You manage time like a pro. You know which meds to give and when, and what they are all for, while we’re still hiding in the stationery cupboard, madly Googling unfamiliar names. You advocate for your patient by standing up to a grumpy, tired Doctor who charted incorrectly. You do all of this while simultaneously organising the monthly karaoke catch up. You’re basically Beyoncé.

I guess what I am trying to say is: as students, we know we might slow you down a little. We might ask questions that seem silly. We may seem way too eager to give that patient a bed bath.  But we really appreciate you being there to help us on our nursing journey.  It’s a rocky path up the mountain. We’ll get there, but we couldn’t do it without you to hold our hand and guide us through the scary bits. 

One day, we want to be strong and sure enough to help you up your own mountain: side-by-side, working as a team. Thank goodness, we won’t be students forever. We can’t wait to be able to work with you in such a noble profession.

Yours sincerely,
Student Nurse C