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When I first gained my registration I was aware of the responsibility I had in care provision. In those days there were no mentoring programmes so I looked to the senior staff and ward sister as role models, learning how to prioritise care and take charge of wards. As a staff nurse in coronary care, I learned many new skills and gathered knowledge about this specialty. I was given responsibility fairly quickly and whilst this was very challenging, it was also satisfying to gain confidence in caring for acutely ill patients and dealing with distressed relatives. This time helped me to mature and develop assertiveness skills. I then went to a post as a surgical staff nurse which again provided me with many challenges. During this time I undertook some self directed study by seeking out information myself and asking questions of those who worked with me until I felt I was competent in my post. I had the opportunity to act up in the absence of the ward manager and whilst I enjoyed leading the team I did not find it easy constantly balancing the demands that staff shortages, bed shortages and not always feeling fully supported. I realised then that management was not for me. Continuing education and professional development have been an important part of my career pathway in maintaining standards of care related to evidence based practice. I found it helpful to identify areas of interest to myself and then plan learning needs around those areas. Whilst on holiday in the USA, I arranged an interesting visit to a day surgical unit where a friend of mine worked. This was around the same time as the opening of the unit I now work in. I decided to take up my present post which presented me with yet more learning and development challenges that I have found rewarding.
If you are thinking about taking up a career in nursing I would advise you to think carefully. Find out as much information as you can about the course and consider carefully the role you are taking on. Be realistic about the training, job type and career prospects. It would be helpful to try and gain some experience of hospital work beforehand in for example, work placements voluntary work or working as a nursing auxiliary. Talk to other students of nursing and any staff nurses you know to gain an insight into the role of a nurse. My job is a busy, demanding one which is very worthwhile and rewarding. There are many areas of development currently ongoing in day surgery as the scope of day surgery is set to increase. If you are interested in a post in a day surgery unit you may want to think about organising a visit to your local unit.
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