16th November 2017

Reflection for Student Leadership

The song ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’ could not have been more appropriate to describe how my first year as a Nursing Associate and getting onto this Leadership course has been. The Nursing Associate course had so much interest that I could not believe that not only me but also my partner had managed to get onto it. I heard about the Student Leadership course on our closed Facebook group and decided to have a go. I was so grateful to get onto this as well as my new degree.

The event in Birmingham in July was amazing. The setting was so fantastic so high up in the Marco Pierre White boardroom. I still have the photos of the views and lots of selfies next to inspiring quotes that were Tweeted. This was something that I was not really used to as I thought that social media and work was not all that professional. I realise now that, this is a fantastic way of voicing how great our work is, and that networking is important.

Talking to so many people and learning about each other’s experiences really impacted on me. I shared how my rare autoimmune disease had shaped my journey and made me want to be a Nursing Associate. Emotional intelligence is something which I am really interested in and was looking forward to getting out of this course. As I sit here now on my laptop I still have the sticky notes up in front of us and it makes me want to carry on despite how difficult this year has been. One says ‘Your story is very inspiring. To go through what you did must have been very difficult, but you owned it like a pro!’

From going to Birmingham in July, to being readmitted to hospital mid-August and being off clinically for almost 4 months now, but still going through university one day a week has really put my strengths through the test. I went from being someone who is intelligent to being so cognitively impaired due to my illness that the University initially thought that I should defer for another year. They said if failing this module would mean I would be off the course, so it would probably be better to take the time off. This is not how it works for me! It’s the 4th time now since relapsing and I know that I can still do this. It was Mid-September when we started back at university. I could barely put a sentence together at the time, just after a month later I was doing a PowerPoint presentation. Not sure how I have done yet but I’m proud I got through this.

I am so happy to have Ismalia as my mentor, she was so inspiring during the evening talk and I was lucky enough to sit on her table. We did speak about my condition and why it is I wanted to be a Nursing Associate and she asked if I could do piece of writing to put into her Journal. I’ve not managed to do any of this yet, neither have I done any more of my book which I was writing. I have had to prioritise and work on University. This is also why my reflection on the Leadership course is so late. My condition has made it difficult to get out on my own, so I have not been able to meet Ismalia in person, but we have emailed a few times and she has been very supportive. We are planning on meeting at some point soon. I’m excited to see where this takes me next and looking forward to the event at the end of November, something which will be quite a big thing for me at this time! There are going to be some people who will be uncomfortable about me coming but determination is one of my main attributes.

There have been times during this year where I have had a ‘wobble’ about whether healthcare is right for me and will I be good enough when I qualify. I have now done even more reflection on this (loving the reflections) and realised that I already am an amazing healthcare worker. I’ve been working in this field for around five years and the most important thing is that I make a positive difference to the patients I meet and their lives.

The future is bright and I hope one day that I will be as inspirational as my mentor.

Janine Dobson