Tag Archives: Uni

The End of an Era

I’ve just had my last ever day in university. This coming week will be my last ever week in 94, the house that I’ve had connections with all through my university career, and lived in for 2 years. It will also be my last proper week in Swansea – I will be back to visit, I already have a couple of necessary visits planned, but it won’t quite be the same.

A week or so ago, I used this space to inform people of two job interviews that I had lined up and I was debating which one I would go for, if given the choice. Following that post I decided that the best thing to do would be to do my best at both interviews and see what happened. I didn’t know at that point whether I’d be offered either of the jobs, so jumping ahead of myself was just silly.

Anyway, I went along to interview A (see 2 posts down). I thought it went well. I was reasonably relaxed and was able to answer all the questions they asked. Three days later, 45 minutes before interview B, I receive a phone call saying I had job A. Having had a look around place A, been very impressed with it and having had time to think about the various options, I accepted job A and cancelled interview B.

So now, I am very excited because I have a job!!! All I’m going to say here for the time being about its location is that it is not too far from Swansea and is in a rainbow coloured hospital! I feel happy about it because it is such an amazing career opportunity, that I couldn’t turn it down. And I think I wanted to prove Dylan Thomas wrong, that Swansea isn’t the graveyard of all ambitions! 😉

Todays last day in uni was basically to say well done and good luck. This morning we had about countless different important people give us presentations about what we’ve achieved and looking towards the future. During one career talk, we were asked to raise our hands if we had a job already. Most of my coursemates hadn’t heard yet about my job, so they pounced on me as soon as they could do, interrogating me about the job! They were full of congratulations and really impressed at the job. After all the talks, our child branch group had organised a bring and share type lunch for us and our lecturers. I ate loads of food, talked to all my coursemates and got back my old essays and my Big Annoying Folder (sigh – I thought I’d got rid of that! 😉 ).

Leaving Swansea seems really odd. I don’t think its sunk in properly yet. And I will definitely miss everybody. I want to keep in touch with all my friends here, just as much as I want to pursue, what could be, an incredible career in nursing. To do the latter, I have to embrace this opportunity which I have been given by moving away from Swansea, but don’t think for one minute it means I’ll lose contact with the friends I’ve made here. So I’m sorry Swanseaites, but you’ll haven’t got rid of me properly yet – I’ll be back!

All Done

This morning I handed in my Big Annoying Folder, which has caused me much stress over the past 3 years. It was then handed back to me, as I’d forgotten to sign one thing, but thankfully that was soon fixed. It didn’t come back to haunt me completely! It feels great now its all handed in. Now I only have about 3 more weeks of placement and then I have to take 5 weeks off before I qualify and can start work. Its going to be great – I’ll only be working full time instead of having to write essays and get my work done on the ward. And then I get 5 weeks off! 🙂

Having said this, just after we’d all handed our folders in, we then had a lecture about continuing our professional development and how we’ll get another big annoying folder to work on. Great. I suppose its to be expected and it will help our career development. Its just not exactly what we want to hear, straight after handing in 3 years worth of placement work!

Anyway, on Wednesday night I get to celebrate in style at the Graduation Ball, which this year is being held in the Liberty Stadium with chocolate fountains and ice sculptures! I don’t officially graduate until this time next year, because our registration doesn’t come through till September, but my housemates are graduating this year so I decided to celebrate with them. John travelled down yesterday from Edinburgh for it, which is cool. He somehow managed to miss a connection and therefore get into Swansea 2 hours early. Don’t ask me how he managed that – I’d like to know myself for some journeys!

Reflections on an academic year

I know my academic year hasn’t finished yet – that doesn’t happen for another 5 weeks when this placement is over, but I’ve had to buy a new academic diary because the old one will run out soonish. I bought an 18 month one so I can transfer over to normal years. Because in 5 weeks time I will have finished uni for ever. In about 10 weeks I should be a registered nurse. How scary is that?!

Anyway, I was transferring dates and birthdays from my old diary to my new diary, and reading everything that has happened in the past year as I went along. It was quite interesting actually. There were things like lists of things to talk to friends about when I rang them up, including initials for certain things/people. Knowing the context I knew what I had meant, and it just made me smile. There were other times when I looked at the page for a week and realise just how much stuff I’d (tried) to fit into a single week. How many different things I was trying to deal with at that time. Juggling, I think is the technical term.

But seriously, looking back I don’t know how I got through some parts of the past year. The other day I had a random deep and meaningful with a coursemate who is staying in the same B&B as me for placement. When I told her about some of the stuff I’ve dealt with in the past few months, she was astonished and asked how the hell did I cope with everything on top of third year academic work and placement. I said I didn’t really know how I’d coped. Then after some thought I said ‘my friends, and Him upstairs’. So a big thank you. You know who you are.

I’ve made it through uni, well just about. What next? Find a job. Hmm, if only it were as easy as it was to type those three words. I don’t really have a clue where I’ll end up working. Where theres a job. Where theres good promotion possibilities. Where there are friends. I doubt if I’ll find somewhere that has all three though! I need to think about where I really ought to be applying for, but basically I think I am going to have to go where ever I can get a job. But I will be back to visit Swansea. And once I’ve got some experience under my belt, I’ll have more job possibilities and could probably move back. I dunno at the moment, its all uncertain.

Procrastinating

I thought I’d come and say hello and give you an update, because I haven’t done for a while and I’ve got loads of work I should be doing…

So what have I been up to? Mostly work. I’ve been doing night shifts this week, which went well, but knackered me out for a few days. I am however, getting a lot better at sleeping during the day. When I started doing them, I only slept for a few hours the following morning and then I’d get up and do something in the afternoon. But this time I just stayed in bed and slept for longer! After the first night I slept from 7.30-3ish! After the last night, of course, I had to make myself get up earlier, so that I would be able to sleep the following night. These shifts seem crazy at first, but you get used to them. And nights are generally quieter – even if you haven’t got less work to do, there are less distractions and random people around!

Today I’m trying to do everything that I won’t have time to do in the next week. Which isn’t really working as well as planned. To do list today was:
* Write about 500 words for dissertation – half done, need to do some more, but need to do the next thing on the list first!
* Read as much as necessary from 3 books – turned out not to be as much as 3 whole books, only the odd bits which need reading, but it hasn’t really been done. Read about a page…
* Buy birthday presents and cards for 2 family members – done
* Make house look presentable for family turning up – half done, need to do some washing up later

As you can see, I’ve done better on the not-work items. My dissertation is getting there, but very slowly. I just don’t have the motivation for it whilst I’m working full time on the ward. But after today I’m in work for 3 days (12 hour shifts), I’ve got my entire family invading the Gower so will have to spend time with them this week, then I’m busy with the Easter vigil and going to London, and then I’m back in work for 4 days! I know that after today, I won’t have hardly anytime to work on my dissertation, for about 2 weeks. So I really need to get on with it now. After those 2 weeks, I’ll have finished my placement, so I can get on with it then, when I’m not traveling around the country! I *should* get it done on time. I just need a bit more motivation and a little less procrastination.

Yay for Grinning! :D

I had some good news this morning – I got 76% in my literature review!!! Its the first half of my dissertation and counts for a major part of my degree!! 😀 😀 😀 I read it on the board and noted that I was top of my group, and then tried to walk away calmly, but couldn’t – broke into a skip/run within seconds! I then rang a few people, just to go ‘YAY!!!’ and ‘WOW!!!’ down the phone, lots. Which made a nice change to recent phone calls I’ve made to friends and family. I just can’t stop grinning. I don’t care about anything else at the moment – all the stress and worries have been forgotten for the time being and I’m just enjoying being as high as a kite! 😀 😀 😀

My days in Swansea are numbered

I’m going to have finished my degree this summer. How scary is that?! I can’t believe how fast it has gone and I’m certain that the next 7 months are going to fly by. Which of course, leads to the scary prospect of trying to find a job. Hmm. Harder than it sounds. A lot of the nurses from Swansea who qualified last summer still haven’t been able to find a paediatric nursing job. And in this line of work, if you stay unemployed for any length of time, its a lot harder to find a job because you become deskilled.

Ideally I would *love* to be able to stay in Swansea. But, at the moment, that possibility isn’t going to happen. There simply aren’t any jobs. And most of my 20 coursemates would also like a job in Swansea. So I’m trying to become accustomed to the fact that I’m going to be moving away in the summer. And as I recently found out my final, 3 month placement is away from Swansea, then I’ll be practically moving away in May. At least, I won’t be around much from May onwards.

This placement however, was my second request so I can’t complain about it too much. I chose it because its the same place as I was last summer, which means it’ll be easy to settle back into which is v.important for the management placement. And I did mostly enjoy it there last year. Its just the fact that it cuts my time in Swansea down by 3 months, that makes it disappointing.

Swansea during the past 2 years has become home. My friends are here. My support network is mostly here, or only a phonecall away. And I just love everything about it – the sea, the Gower, the proxminity to the Brecons and Pembrokeshire. The way I can walk to most of the places I regularly go – the sea, uni, church, friends houses and the town centre are all easy walking distance. There is no doubt about it – I will miss Swansea and all the people who live there, an awful lot.

Happy New Year

Yes, ok.. I know I’m a week late. I’ve just been a bit busy with real life recently to say it yet here.

I came back to Swansea for new year, and celebrated it at Sarah and Alice’s, which was v.good. Alice organised some fab party games such as pictionary, charades and the newspaper game, which were much enjoyed. And of course, the consumption of a glass or two of wine made them interesting!

Since then I’ve been busy working on my dissertation, which I have just finalised and printed out!! 😀 😀 😀 I just have to hand it in tomorrow. It is quite exicting, although I must remember that its only half of it – its split into two halves, and the rest of it isn’t due in till May. This morning, however, we were given an ‘introduction to the module’ and the lecturer was explaining the next section of it to us. Most people hadn’t finished the first half (which is due in tomorrow), so couldn’t really get their heads around the next assignment! After talking to my coursemates this morning, I was very glad to have got a large amount of it done before Christmas, because most of them had had a v.stressful time over Christmas with their work. It was fantastic knowing I could have a break before coming back to finish it off. And now it feels even better knowing that I’ve finished it!!! Tomorrow night I’m going to be in the Ryddings enjoying a celebratory pint, if anyone fancies joining me. 🙂

As well as finishing off my dissertation and catching up with Swansea friends, I’ve also been to London for a few days. Spent a brilliant few days with John. I met more of his friends and family, and introduced him to one of my friends, just to balance it out slightly! 😉 We also managed a fair amount of sight seeing, including the London Eye (just seeing it, can’t afford to go in it!), the Musuem of Childhood and an amazing rainbow church.

The London Eye An absolutely amazing church

Merry-go-round in Leicester Square Big Ben

Night

I worked on the ward for the first time in over a week last night. I am (just about) better. I feel much better in myself generally, but I’m still congested, especially behind my ears and my cough is being very persistant. The doctor has given me decongestants, which are helping. I called in sick for 2 out of 3 night shifts, not because I was still bedridden and really ill, but because my body was is taking a long time to fully recover from the nasty infection. I wouldn’t have had enough energy to do a night on Thursday or Friday, I only just managed it last night. The congestion and pressure behind my ears was also causing considerable pain. But yesterday I felt better than I had done for over a week, and I felt I was fit for work.

The other major after effect of being ill, is of course, the entire weeks worth of work on my dissertation that I haven’t done. Now that I’m better, I’m trying to catch up and at the moment I feel like I’m doing so 24 hours a day. Yesterday I worked on it for most of the day, except for a couple of hours nap in the afternoon before my night shift. Then I went to work, and as it was quiet I spent several hours in a spare room doing some reading towards it. It was good because I was still on hand to take the most of any learning opportunities on the ward, but in the quiet patches I was using my time productively. I also managed to do a large portion of my big annoying folder with my mentor, which was really good. I think it was about 2.30am when my brain said ‘STOP! – I can’t do any more work, I’m supposed to be sleeping!’, so any ‘free time’ after that was spent reading my non-acedemic book. This morning I’ve come home and slept for a good four hours. I could have slept longer, but tomorrow I’m back on days (7am start, nice!) and I need to make sure I sleep tonight. This afternoon will be spent plodding on with my dissertation and tonight I’ll be flopping in the pub with good friends!

Knackered, Ill and Frustrated

I’m ill. 🙁 My glands are swollen, my ears hurt a lot and I’ve got a persistant headache. It feels as if someone has come along and drained every molecule of ATP (energy) from me. I’ve spent over 80% of today in bed, either sleeping or watching a DVD. My sore ears have completely thrown my sense of balance, so everytime I do try to move around the house I feel dizzy. I’ve been regularly drinking lemsip which helps a little, but not for long.

I know generally, I’m not the world’s best patient, but I have been resting today. Even without several motherly friends telling me to rest, I *knew* I couldn’t do anything else. And resting for a day or so is alright. But, with the way I feel at the moment, I can’t see myself improving rapidly overnight. And at some point my work does *have* to be done. I’m off placement now until next Thursday night, which is good because I don’t immediately have to take any offical time off. But I was planning to use these valuable days off to work on my dissertation. And now I can’t. Its just really frustrating, because I’m enjoying my dissertation and I want to get on with it! I saw my supervisor on Thursday and she boosted my enthusiasm for it and wants to see me again in a couple more weeks with lots more done. Hmm… :S 🙁

Work

I am very aware that I have hardly blogged recently. And this afternoon I received a specific request to blog about nursing stuff. So, I thought I’d take up the request and also explain why I’ve been too busy to blog much recently.

I started my placement at the beginning of last week, where I am working full time until Christmas. For the initial settling in week, all the students had to work 5 short shifts, but this week and onwards we’re given the option to do 12 hour shifts, which I opted for because you only have to do 3 or 4 shifts a week then. I’ve settled in reasonably well and the staff are friendly, which always helps.

Putting my badge on the first day that stated I was now a ‘3rd year student’ was scary, because the staff treat third years as practically fully qualified staff. Which I suppose we are, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary! Having said that, I have been embracing and some what enjoying the extra responsibility. Most shifts I’m given my own patients to nurse, and if the offical alocations give a group of patients to a staff nurse and myself to work together with, then I’ll offer to take one or two of the patients myself, and the qualified works with the rest. And then if I have any problems I can approach the staff nurse about them. Most of the staff are friendly and approachable about these things and are also happy to do teaching sessions with students too. Which is quite good, because it makes up for the fact that despite having 2 mentors, I’ve not spent a single shift with either of them yet!

Last week when it was quiet, one of the staff members spent 2.5 hours going through *everything* in the high dependency unit with myself and another 3rd year. Most of the things he covered, was stuff we’d done in uni only a few weeks before, which meant we were able to get most of the questions right! At the end of the session a doctor walked in, and this staff nurse told the doctor that “if we have an emergency today, then Jen’s your girl!” Eek!!!

Outside of proper work, I’ve also been working on my dissertation. I’m doing it on nurses communication with children with sereve communication impairments, for example children with special needs. These children are frequent visitors to the ward environment, and yet the staff don’t have the skills, resources nor time to effectively communicate with them. Its a subject that really interests me and so I tend to enjoy working on it. We have to do a 5000 word literature review by the 10th January (but I want it done before Christmas) and a 5000 word management for change assignment by April/May time. I’m getting there with it. I’ve done most of my researching and reading – there are still a few holes that need filling, but I’ve done a substantial amount. And at lunchtime today I saw my supervisor with the first 500 words I’ve written – a draft of my introduction. She said it was a good start and gave me constructive criticism to help me improve it. I am just trying to plod on with it, whenever I’m not working on the ward. But then also finding time for relaxing, socialising, eating, sleeping, etc, can be interesting. It doesn’t help that this morning I woke up with a horrible sore throat and headache. Hmm, I will try to find time to rest at some point….