Dear Student Nurse…

Dear student nurse,

A little letter of advice and encouragement along with the real story of nursing education. Heartfelt, if slightly tongue in cheek wisdom, from a Newly Qualified Nurse who has been there, done that, and got the nice blue uniform…

There is no place for pride in the nursing course

It’s no use trying to be superman / woman and go through university without support or assistance of any kind – it’s not going to happen. Everyone has to ask for help from time to time; it’s not a weakness nor means you’re going to fail or whatever else that puts you off raising your hand and going ‘HELP!’

If you get Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), use it.
If the library runs study session, get yourself to them.
If your lecturer asks if there are any questions, ask one!

Mistakes are how we learn. At some point or another you have to bite the bullet and go “I will do this” even if everything inside is telling you that you can’t. We have safe times to practice things, utilise it and you’ll be thankful for it when you find yourself needing the skill in ‘real’ life!

Clinical skills are scary for everyone

The first time I held an injection needle in my hand was as a 1st year on a rehab ward. The nurse supervising me was quite possibly the best example of a mentor you could get. I was terrified, and doing my best to get out of it, but she wasn’t letting me off that easily. She sent me off on break and when I got back she told me I was going to go round and do them with her. I felt like walking off the ward and not coming back!

I came, she guided, and supported, and by the end of the shift I had done 8!

The skill was scary, but the kindness and support of the nurse meant that I felt able to do it despite my own fears that I’d snap the needle or harm a patient. We will all have different skills that we fear, but that is utterly normal. Remember everyone has to start somewhere and by the end of your three years you will be signed off as competent. Start by ensuring that you are safe and have appropriate supervision, you won’t go far wrong.

There is no essay fairy (or exam fairy for that matter)

I know essays are hard, I know time on the nursing course is limited, and I know there is more than likely 100 things your rather be doing than discussing nursing ideology over 3000 words in continuous prose. Saying that, I hate to break it to you but there is no essay fairy which will magically come and write it for you even if you leave your lecture notes on top of the fridge long enough.

Take your time and do the key thing of accessing support and you’ll be okay, honest.

Remember you came into nursing to nurse; you don’t have to be the world’s best essay writer.

Plan, plan, and plan some more

Time management is the name of the game in nursing. You have to complete 2300 hours in practice and 2300 in theory at a minimum to gain your blues. You have to fit this around essays and exams, your own life and more than likely the bank job that the majority of nursing students do to top-up the bursary. It can get a bit busy! You have to be strict with yourself as to what you do and when to fit it all in. When things get hard, it’s all too easy to ignore the ‘problem’ (e.g. that nice essay on the fridge) and instead plough your efforts into something else – placement / a later exam or essay / OSCE’s and ESCE’s. You get the drift. Don’t bury your head in the sand about time management – prioritise well and it is doable – all the nurses out there are proof of that!

Finally, I want to tell you to enjoy it, treasure it and always, always remember why you came into nursing. It’s a beautiful profession to be a part of (even standing at the bus stop in the pouring rain at 5:30am!).

Wishing you all the luck in the world, and maybe, in three years’ time, It’ll be you writing this.

Isn’t this so encouraging? I spotted it by chance over the weekend. And although it was posted literally years ago, these are wise words I’ll be referring to throughout my journey to qualification.

The stories and posts on six out of ten are inspired by my (Site Editor) own student nurse experience, experiences from student nurses at a registered university within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland studying for membership within the NMC, from NMC registered nurses, as well as current issues in nursing.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 is taken very seriously here. If you think you recognise someone on this site, you are mistaken.

All patient stories, all references to staff or facilities are more than likely fictional or, if based on real events, formed through compositing. All persons mentioned have had any and all identifying information removed. Any discussion about patients is purely for learning purposes and DPA compliant (identifying details have been changed to protect their privacy in every case). I am thankful for each and every patient I have and will work with as they will all make me a better student nurse. And I will treat them and their stories and experiences with respect.

The majority of my postings are anecdotal. Everything on six out of ten is my own or our writers’ opinions/creations and do not reflect the opinion of any employers past, present or future. They also do not reflect the views of the university, the NMC or any unions I am affiliated with.

Nothing written on six out of ten should be construed as constituting medical advice. Always consult your own nurse practitioner or physician if you have any questions concerning your medical care. Material on this blog is provided for informational and amusement purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.

Reading this blog should not be construed to mean that you and I have a patient-physician relationship. Therefore, I ask that you not ask me for medical advice, either in the comments or by email. I may delete such comments and accept no responsibility to respond to unsolicited email.


The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site or its affiliates, or any information, content, products, services, advertising or other materials presented on or through such web sites. I am not responsible for the availability, accuracy, or any information, content, products or services accessible from such sites.

Copyright: The copyright to all content on this blog, whether written as a contributor or as a commenter, belongs to six out of ten and to the blog’s owner. You are allowed to repost or republish an excerpt of fewer of 70 words from six out of ten’s post or page provided that the following terms are met:

Attribution: Credit the source as ‘six out of ten – a London lifestyle blog’.

Link Back: Provide a hyperlink back to six out of ten’s post or page from which the excerpt was taken. The link should point to the URL (Permalink) of the specific post, not to the six out of ten home page.

Limited Republishing: You may not republish the blog post in part or in its entirety without first obtaining permission (send us a request by email or post a comment).

Non-commercial Use: You may not use six out of ten content or sell six out of ten content for commercial purposes.

Photographs: All photographs and other images posted on six out of ten that are not expressly credited to another source are the property of six out of ten and the originating author and/or guest contributor.

Photographs or images belonging to six out of ten and its guest contributors may be displayed on non-commercial, educational, or personal websites as long as the appropriate attribution and link-back requirements are followed (see above).

Photographs or images should never be linked directly from six out of ten, but should be copied and uploaded to your own web server space. Please use your bandwidth.

Commercial for-profit enterprises may purchase a license to use imagery from this site for a reasonable fee. High resolution versions of all photographs found on this site are available. Please email us with your request.

Corrections: To report an error in content or an inaccurately attributed image on six out of ten please send us an email to let us know and we’ll correct it.

International and Cultural Laws: If you are a reader from a country other than the UK, a country which has laws which restricts or censors content, this blog, the authors and/or guest contributors are not responsible for defamatory statements bound to government, religious, or other laws from the reader’s country of origin.

Changes to the Terms: I reserve the right to change the blog content disclaimer at any time. You will only be notified by the Blog through posts or syndicated content (RSS), NOT IN PERSON. It is your responsibility to make sure that you agree with the new terms, whenever changes have been announced. Changes to the terms will be effective 48 hours after the notice has been posted on the Blog. If you do not agree with the Terms, I highly suggest you do not access this blog.