I am delighted to introduce another guest post on the Mental Health Nurse Lecturers Tea party. This comes from one of our soon to be qualified student nurses, Julie Bennett.
Julie describes her feelings on coming to the end of her time at BCU – she has promised to keep us updated about how she gets on after this.
So, Three years draw to a close and what a wonderful experience. A wealth of friends, university life, fun laughter, tears and tantrums but on we go, pulling each other through with hope and optimism from peers, mentors and tutors alike.
More incentive came from the NHS via the generous bursary and dependents allowance, which kept my four children clothed and fed, not to mention the 85% contribution towards the very expensive child care costs, (as much as my rent per month)! Ok, the children haven’t loved going to the child minders some days, but hey, needs must!
The practice placement managers and clinical practice allocations staff have been very supportive; my final placements have been in the community, which has meant family friendly hours and have enabled me to complete my training.
And no council tax! What a bonus….many positives to being a student nurse not to mention discounts in many stores and the cinema!
Would it be fair to say that the transition period is full of mixed emotions? Yes, I did it, I stuck it out, jumped through hoops and achieved my ambition, before long that photo of me in my cap and gown will be on my mantlepiece, I am so proud. (if I still have a mantlepiece)!
So now for the anxiety part of it all, explained wonderfully by two of my peers during a workshop at the recent Mental Health Conference…..The BIG DIVE! Where is the water? Oh dear, there is none…….
Armed with skills and knowledge of theoretical frameworks, before long my registration number will be in the post and off I go……to the job centre! Via the housing department and the council tax office and the search for a child minder who starts at 6.30am and finishes at 9pm.
A community mental health job would be ideal! But band 5 newly qualified nurse in the community? Mmm A prayer or two maybe needed for that one!
So what is my predicament? Frustration at my own lack of faith, I am sure though that these concerns are shared by many soon to be qualified nurses. All that hard work for nothing but personal achievement?
Unable to find a job with hours to fit in with my children, chuck in the council tax bill child care costs (minus the 85% contribution) and I am actually worse off. Not to mention the loss of opportunity to develop my skills in an area I am interested in (CAHMS). My final hope of getting some income to keep the roof over my head was working on the bank as a HCA but I am informed, as a newly qualified you cannot work the bank!!
Well, it was a good three years, I have met some wonderfully inspiring people and it has all been for a good cause – an experience I will never forget.
So, all you young free and single peeps out there, the world is your oyster! Travel the world, get that job and nurse those people who need you, treat students how you would have liked to be treated and reach for the stars! Be Leaders and research best practice all the way, I wish you well.
Despite the lack of jobs compared to the amount of graduates (baffles me why they train so many of us when there are no jobs), there is a job for everyone if you can be as flexible as possible, have a supportive family network to look after your kids and a decent car that will get your anywhere!
I will remember you all when I look at my graduation photo and never regret my uni days. Oh dear how bleak it all seems!! lol
Now…..if you think I am going to give up that easily, you are mistaken! Yes! These are my very real concerns and if I let negativity in it will beat me! My Guardian Angel did not get me this far to leave me stranded, I will continue to pursue my goals and work with service users and their families regardless of how dire the job market might appear, there is something out there for me but I have to get of my ass and find it! (even if it is counselling the old dear in the post office queue whilst waiting to cash our meagre benefits! Lol)
Keep the faith Guys, this transition is make or break, time to “sort the men from the boys” and as my dad would say….”What’s for ya, won’t go by ya!!”
Good Luck all you final year Students