Nursing studies

Failure is not fatal, so don’t be afraid to try again

Two years ago, nursing student Grant Byrne had to drop out of his course. But his time away from nursing only bolstered his desire to return – and he is now back doing what he loves. 

Two years ago, nursing student Grant Byrne had to drop out of his course. But his time away from nursing only bolstered his desire to return – and he is now back doing what he loves 


Picture: Alamy

‘Failure is not fatal,’ so the saying goes, but it is fair to say that leaving my course in 2015 felt like the death of my nursing career. 

After failing my final exam, followed by an unsuccessful appeal for another attempt, I walked out of university for the final time feeling devastated. 

I could not have imagined then that just two years later I would be returning to nursing. It feels so good to say that I am a nursing student again. 

Tuning in

Although the surroundings may be different at my new university, so much feels the same. It is a bit like tuning in to a TV show you have not seen for a while – there is a lot of what you know and love, but also things you do not know, and so much you have forgotten. 

One thing I am sure of is that my performance this time will not be a rerun of the past. Over the past couple of years, I prepared for returning to university while working full time. This has greatly improved my financial situation, and my personal well-being.

Constantly worrying about money marred my first attempt at nursing, so I am determined to find a work-life balance that gives me time to enjoy my course. 

‘I am still brushing the cobwebs off my nursing know-how, but every day it gets a little easier’

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous about being back, but I have had great support from all corners. My previous university provided my reference to re-apply –  which boosted my confidence – and my new university has done everything possible to help me settle in. My friends, family and colleagues have been there for me throughout everything. 

I am still brushing the cobwebs off my nursing know-how, but every day it gets a little easier.

Take time for me

I study every chance I get, but I also take time for me. No matter where you are in your career – from first-year students to 30-year nursing veterans – you need to do the same. 

Whether it is an hour in the bath with a good book (glass of wine optional), or a long walk with the dog, it is vital to look after yourself. I run every day now to look after my health.

So if you do find yourself in my shoes, do not give up. It is human to make mistakes, to fail, so do not be afraid to try again and follow your dream. The time I spent away from nursing bolstered my desire to return.

It is good to be back. 


Grant Byrne is a second-year nursing student at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh 

 

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