November 30, 2021, by School of Medicine

30 at 30: From student nurse to Teaching Associate

Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts - Winston Churchill

Nursing, for me had been what seemed, at the time, an unattainable goal. Surely only clever people could hold such a title (major imposter syndrome!). I had always been the child that struggled at school and my parents’ evenings would always entail of the same old saying of “bright and lovely girl but talks too much”. This surely reflected in my grades and, in my late teens, I figured that all things academic did not come naturally to me. I soon found that if I wanted to accomplish anything, I was going to have to work for it. Graduating from the University of Nottingham as a learning disability nurse has always been my greatest achievement. Never did I think that I would then be coming back to influence other nursing students on their nursing journeys (queue that imposter syndrome again!).   

As for my own nursing journey, being a student nurse was tough! It had been full of tears, laughter, and an unreal amount of stress! With pulling all-nighters in the library to meet assignment deadlines to working endless amounts of shifts on placement and in a part-time job to pay the bills, plus various volunteering roles I undertook for charity, it’s safe to say the road to qualifying was no mean feat. Fortunately, I had a great support network of friends/family and staff within the school of health sciences which enabled me to see potential I never knew I had and how my skills can truly benefit the people we care for. Lucky for me, a nursing career is where having a voice and talking too much actually worked in my favour! Although I did not see it at the time, those long three years were worth every single moment of anxiety and doubt I had about my ability to make a difference.  

My rollercoaster journey continued as a newly qualified nurse with a plethora of experiences that truly tested my resilience and, at times, my mental health. Sadly, with NHS pressures compassion fatigue hit me early on in my career and this was then exacerbated by the global pandemic. Whilst this had been tough for people at all levels, I was always blown away by the fact that student nurses have come into practice with such positivity and willingness to learn. Having students was the breath of fresh air I needed and supporting students in placement reignited my passion. I had always known that I would like to steer my career in the direction of teaching, although I anticipated this would be further down the line. I didn’t think a job like this would be an option. I worried about the level of experience I had only being qualified three years and do not have any extra training such a masters or teaching qualifications. The university have created a pathway for people like me to achieve such goals and promote career development from the start. With only being three weeks in post I can already tell this career change from practice to education is the best decision I could have made. I wish I could have told my younger self that I could do it, I can accomplish my goals and even strive for better! So, for anyone thinking you can’t do it, be kind to yourself; nursing is a forever learning career. You will have good days and bad days – hold onto those good days and believe that you can make a difference.  

By Sian Adcock, Teaching Associate

Posted in 30 Years of Nursing