The power of research.

As I walk into my tutorial I am greeted by my assessment group members which is promptly followed by exclamations of exasperation and hate towards our research unit at university.

I can’t even pretend to empathise. I love the research side of nursing now.

Before I began I was so ignorant to the field of nursing, I really only saw nurses in a “caring” capacity. Little did I know that the field of nursing is diverse, intellectual and academically rewarding. Another reason why I thinks nurses are amazing.

The introduction to evidence based practice has given me a whole new perspective on nursing and has made me realise that nurses can and really do play an integral role in the formation of clinical knowledge and interventions.

During my lecture, our speaker began introducing herself and announced that they were currently undertaking PhD studies in a leading trial for the area of focus. Intrigued, I googled their name and stumbled across a “3 minute thesis video”.

this was enough for me. I am now absolutely hooked on the idea of becoming a research nurse and lecturer and I haven’t even passed my first semester!

Has research opened your eyes to a whole new world? If so, what was it?

Getting the balance right.

Week 2 is in full swing at uni and as the workload increases, so too do the stress levels.

The new knowledge that we begin to explore when undertaking bachelor studies is exciting, it’s enriching and it’s stressful. That stress though, can be a positive motivating factor to help us achieve and strive to be out best in our academic pursuits.

The stress I refer to is that from external sources. The stress that I refer to comes from working a regular part time job, from relationships- new and old, parental pressures and peer pressure.

Parental pressure and peer pressure are relevant to us all at university but for the younger students this may be a massive influence on our academic lives.

Choosing a career path to pursue is a tough decision and it is one you need to think about, research and investigate. Some people choose their career paths because of a calling. Such as us nursing students/ nurses chose this vocation from our innate nature to care for others. Others have been influenced to pursue a vocation based in cultural expectations, familial expectations and even just undue influence. This creates bad stress for the student and results in negative outcomes.

New and old relationships require work to flourish during your university studies and normal day to day life and the need to maintain these friendships takes time and effort. Sometimes we want to put the effort in but just don’t have the time to do so. Conversely, we have the time and spend far too much time indulging in the company of others creating a backup of required work that we can’t get on top of.

Lastly, the main contributor to stress in the lives of undergraduate students is work. We need money to survive, to pay our bills to buy our groceries and everything in between. For most of us this means getting a part time job. Many people recommend working no more then 10 hours a week to avoid affecting your studies, for some this is just not possible.

In this instance, work becomes the sole focus of our lives and out academic pursuits come second. This creates stress when we can’t or don’t achieve what we set out to achieve.

Overcoming these negative stressors by striking a balance is hard and it is bound to frustrate you when you ultimately fail the first few times around. We are human and we make mistakes, but if we keep moving forward we will get where we want to be.

Note writing and things I end up doing instead.

I’ve been to lectures and I’ve been to tutorials. I have all my poorly written, incorrectly spelled notes ready to consolidate and re write, but I’m now laying in bed after a solid 45 minutes of online uno. Sad right?

This got me thinking of all the things I end up doing instead of writing notes.

1. Go to the bank or post office- not matter what I ended up doing this once or three times a day. For some reason or another I HAD to go to the bank or post office RIGHT THAT MINUTE.
2. Facebook- if the name is at least partly familiar, I will go through the pictures and wall posts and mutual friends and other friends and then through my own friends until I’m not sure if I actually know the people or I’ve randomly clicked their profile :/
3. Doing my washing- again I always seems to need to do it NOW! That one pair of jeans, yeah the one of 10 I own, just so happens to be the pair I want to wear next Wednesday- better do it now.
4. Play online uno in bed- currently sitting at level 62 after I had it on my list of goals for 2014 to “reach level 50 in uno”.
5. Lastly, I seem to go buy novels a lot. Online or in stores, I’m addicted to buying books. I recently purchased the cuckoos calling because I found out Robert Gailbraith was JK Rowlings pseudonym. I’m currently at 36 unread novels to 10 read.

Now that I’ve been away from my notes for a good two hours I guess I better go to the bank before it shuts and check my washing.

The first day.

Today marked the official start of my journey to become a nurse.

And if today was anything to go by it is going to be hard but it will be worth it in the end. I endured two 5 hour blocks of lectures in a cramped room with over 100 other people. It got uncomfortable.

Having been through the first weeks of university before, I knew what to expect so it wasn’t a shock to me the amount of new and confusing information being thrown at me. One thing I learnt was when you say something that is beyond what anyone else is expected to know you will get a lot of those looks that seem to label you as “that chick” if you know what I mean.

The first few weeks will always be hard trying to find your feet, navigate resources and campuses and TRYING (extremely hard to no avail) to make new friends but it gets easier and by semester two we will all be university pros smashing academic goals.

One thing I was lucky enough to experience was a lecturer that was so honest about the profession that instilled a sense of hope that I can get where I want to be. That is, undertaking a PhD and becoming an expert within the nursing industry. In an environment where you are identified as a number for the most part, it is a wonderfully comforting feeling to know that academic staff want to see you strive for and achieve your academic goals.

As I get ready to wind down for the evening before my second day of nursing school, I’ve come to realise that I cannot wait to be a nurse and I can’t wait to one day be in front of fresh faced students inspiring them to be the nurses they want to be.

Bye for now x

Getting a foot in the door.

Being a young job applicant with a trade certificate and a good range of job experience has turned out to be quite the set back for me. I’m 20 years old and can’t even get an entry level job such as a check out operator or pizza delivery driver.

Whilst this is a disheartening experience for anyone looking for a job to support themselves, it has forced me to re evaluate my career goals and aspirations. If there’s anything I’ve learnt this past 18 months, it’s that graduate jobs are not available in abundance and people DO miss out.

So with this in mind I’ve been job hunting and applying to no avail until I came across a hospital assistant job. Yeah, it doesn’t sound all that glamorous but it will be a definite foot in the door to the health directorate I WANT to work in.

In this day it really is about who you know, and not what you know so it is imperative to start planning NOW! Not next week and not next year because you will turn around and find yourself on stage graduating.

It’s time to own our lives and own our education and start planning for the job we want to be in upon graduation.

Making mistakes and realising it’s going to be ok.

2013 was a big year of change for myself. I quit my job, I left my home town, I moved away from my family and began my path to something better.

Six or seven months in and I began to feel the effects of bad choices and made the decision to go home and start anew.

My first mistake.

As I begin on my journey to become a nurse I have quickly realised that the end goal is not the only goal you should have while at university. My goals are to make an interim career change to make the transition into nursing practice easier, to get into an honours program after my undergraduate degree and ultimately to enjoy my time working towards all of this.

My first mistake: coming home to the place I so desperately wanted to leave for new experiences. Coming to a university I had been unsure of for a long time (I deferred my first offer here and eventually withdrew due to feelings of unease).

But with, everything there is a solution to be uncovered. While I’m not fully certain what that is at this point in time, it will come to me and had not made me want to become a nurse any less.

My commitment to join the nursing profession is what will ultimately help me decide what the right course of action is for this situation and my mistake will not defer me for reaching my goals because in the end IT WILL BE OK IN THE END.

Choosing a university.

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The decision pertaining to which university to choose is a massive one that most of us do not take lightly when considering all options before us for university or TAFE.

The first university that I attended was a multi national campus university in regional Australia, while it was good it wasn’t for me, and not doing my research before I chose to attend was a costly decision.

The second time around I thought about what it was that I liked about my current university and what I wanted to still be able to experience at the new university. For me this included, small class sizes, a lot of embedded practical experience, and a course that was challenging but attainable. I also thought about what I didn’t enjoy as much such as living in dormitories and not knowing as many of my fellow students.

After considering my pros and cons for an institution change, I made an informed choice about the new university I will be attending. Choosing a university is a big decision and you do need to do your research but if you make a mistake in your decision just remember- all is not lost and you can make it better, it may add an extra semester or an extra year or you may realise you are going in the wrong direction, but everything will be ok.

My final piece of advice is to go to the campus speak to staff from the faculty you are interested in and have a campus tour. They want to help you, all you need to do is not be afraid to ask for help.