Photo by Kate Holding

One of the most daunting experiences as a university student is the transitioning process from a student to a working graduate.

After dedicating years of your life to studying, stressing and striving to successfully complete you chosen degree with flying colours. Now it is time to put your skills and academic knowledge into practice and step into the working world.

To provide an insight of this transition period, Emma McColl spoke with a recent UC nursing graduate, Kate Holding, about her experience leaving university, any advice she has to offer current nursing students and if there was anything she would have done differently knowing what she knows now…

Do you have any advice to give for nurse graduates leaving university?

My advice is to simply be prepared to not get the new graduate position that they want. Apply for every new graduate position possible, even if it is not what they want. Take every opportunity offered.

Another bit of advice for nurse graduates is to not give up if you don’t get the position you want. Keep trying and by receiving any position is a step forward for your career.

Is there anything you have learnt whilst working as a nurse, that you wish you’d known before graduating?

There are a number of things I have picked up along the way working as a graduate nurse that I didn’t learn at university. Not everything can be taught within a four-year degree and there are some things you simply cannot learn without having the practical experience.

One thing I wish I knew when finishing university was all the extra skills that I would pick up along the way. This would have decreased my stress levels a lot and by simply knowing that your career is still a learning curve in itself would have been beneficial for me.

What was the hardest thing that you experienced when transitioning from a nursing student to a working nurse?

The hardest thing I found was giving out medications. As a student you always had someone standing with you to double check you are doing everything correct but when you are the nurse you are by yourself. [At first] I felt insecure and uncomfortable giving them out by myself.

Another aspect of the transitioning stage that I found difficult was adapting to the working environment and meeting the fast-paced demands required from nurses working in a hospital.

Credit: Rawpixel on Unsplash

Is there anything you would change about your University experience if you could do it all over again?

I personally enjoyed almost every moment of my university degree and thinking back, I don’t think there are any major changes I would make if I could do it all over again. There are a number of minor changes that I would changes, such as stressing over things less, getting my assignments done sooner and really utilising the facilities that are offered here on campus.

Is working as a registered nurse harder than you expected?

Yes and No. During my last year at university the teachers prepared us for how hard the transition will be. I’m currently a nurse working in mental health and I believe if I was working in a medical or surgical ward it would be much harder.

The environment that I am working in is rather fast paced, as most nursing positions are and workloads are heavy. However through the training and preparation received at university to prepare us to adapt to this kind of environment, I was somewhat prepared and ready to take on these duties.

Do you feel that University taught you everything you needed to know for you career as a nurse?

I still have a lot to learn. Becoming a nurse is not a one-time educational process. Majority of the skills are picked up along the way when working in the wards. I will never know everything that I need to know and continuous changes will continue to develop new skills that I will need to learn.

The hospital wards are a very diverse environment, changes and developments are continuously occurring and the nurses working within this environment will need to learn how to keep up with the new developments to sustain a successful work ethic.

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