Comment

Reflecting on progress in a swan-like manner

Ten months into her first qualified role, staff nurse Emma Cowen reflects on feelings and thrills of the job, and thinking like a swan.

Ten months into her first qualified role, staff nurse Emma Cowen reflects on feelings and thrills of the job, and thinking like a swan.

I can’t believe how fast this year is going. It is December and I have been qualified for ten months.


Picture: iStock

This realisation gives me that same feeling – shock mixed with excitement – that I got when first qualified and would tell people that I was a nurse. I am now in the position where I am no longer the newest or most-recently qualified member of staff, which is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

It’s a feeling similar to going into the next year of your nursing studies. You are excited to be progressing, but then it suddenly dawns on you that people will expect you to know what you are doing.

Blurred lines 

This year has passed in a blur of study days, getting signed off on various competencies, daily challenges, struggles and the steepest learning curve you can ever imagine.

Then, when I was finally feeling like I had got to grips with what I was doing, winter started in earnest. The department is now seeing more than 100 children a day on busy days, meaning even with ten months of experience under my belt it can still sometimes feel like I have thrown myself in at the deep end.

'I am lucky to be part of such a brilliant, supportive team who ensure it is thrilling to go to work in such a busy environment'

I like to think I’m doing my best swan impression – serene on the surface while under the water my legs are churning non-stop. I haven’t cried in the store room or the sluice yet, but I have gone home from many a shift with sore feet and a spinning head, wondering quite how I made it through the past 12 hours.

However, I am lucky to be part of such a brilliant, supportive team whose expertise and skill are always inspiring, never intimidating. My colleagues ensure it is thrilling to go to work in such a busy environment, as opposed to daunting.


About the author

Emma Cowen is a staff nurse in the children’s emergency department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Brighton

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs