To ask you what goes into being a nurse?

(43 Posts)
AriaTloak Fri 29-Apr-16 15:30:51

I apologise, I really wasn't sure where to post this so went with the option for more traffic!

It's something I've been thinking about for a long time, and something I really want to pursue before I'm too old (I'm 25).
I'd really like to hear from you guys where to even start, and how long it takes (my guess is 4/5 years?)

Also, is it a wise idea to try doing this with children? I have 1 DC with DH and we both work & both depend on our wages, we also rely on tax credits! I'm not quite sure how it works in Scotland with regards to adults being in education/getting help etc?!

DownstairsMixUp Fri 29-Apr-16 15:37:03

Hi aria

I did two years of nursing but fell pregnant, I took maternity leave and went back briefly but my abusive ex husband made sure I couldn't continue with the course so I had to give up sadly. sad I was entitled to child tax credits but not working tax credits as obviously technically I wasn't working despite the placements, I was a student.

Anyway I am going back in September as I met someone new in 2010 and have two ds now! I imagine it is going to be hard, I found it a challenge when I was without children but honestly, I loved nursing so much, it's the only job I had a passion for. The bursary for me is about 850 a month because I have dependants and the tuition fees are covered though from next year student nurses no longer get their fees paid and have to get student loans etc. So now is a good time to apply!

AriaTloak Fri 29-Apr-16 15:47:23

Okay so it seems like it's not or never before the fees start being applicable!
That's shocking though, the NHS is crumbling, we need more doctors and nurses and the solution is to start making it so they can't actually train to become nurses hmm

Babyroobs Fri 29-Apr-16 15:53:32

As a student nurse you will be expected to do placements which can be all over the place not just in hospitals so you do need to be flexible as to where you travel. You are also expected to work similar shifts to your mentor so that could mean some evenings/ nights/ weekends. I'm not sure whether you will still get tax credits as a student, you apply for a student loan. The training is 3 years but you do not get long summer holidays like other students do.

TheHiphopopotamus Fri 29-Apr-16 15:57:14

If you are thinking of studying to be a nurse, you should also be aware that they are bringing in tuition fees by 2017 (I think). These were previously paid by the NHS and so in effect 'free' to you but no longer sadly. (Happy to be corrected if this is wrong).

DownstairsMixUp Fri 29-Apr-16 15:57:30

It's daft aria i know. My uni you always get August off and placements vary could be hospital, community, outpatients, in a gp surgery etc etc. My last uni and this uni did expect 1.5 hours of travel as reasonable to placement as well. They did offer help with petrol and stuff. 100% apply asap, a lot of unis do have two intakes per year as well so if you get in before september 2017 you'll be eligble for the bursary.

lougle Fri 29-Apr-16 16:04:20

Are you asking about the practicalities of nursing education or the reality of the job?

In terms of the courses, they can be highly competitive, so often having related work experience can give you an advantage. The course will be 3 years degree. Southampton have started to offer dual mental health/adult, adult/learning disabilities and adult/child pathway 4 year courses as well. Placements are 50% of the course. You are expected to do all shift patterns.

In terms of the work, it is very varied. I could describe my day to day job and it would be nothing like that of another nurse. I'm happy to describe a day in ICU if it would help. smile

ditavonteesed Fri 29-Apr-16 16:12:25

I am a student nurse and I am 42 next month so you are a long way from too old. It depends on what qualifications you already have. I am doing a 2 year post graduate program, because I had health care experience and a previous degree, otherwise it';s a a normal degree over 3 years. our course is 50% uni and 50% placement. It is pretty full on but manageable, I have 2 kids aged 10 and 12.

PattiLevin Fri 29-Apr-16 16:14:26

If it's not workable for you right now then there are other jobs in the caring profession you might enjoy until you're in a position to do nursing?

PattiLevin Fri 29-Apr-16 16:15:12

Btw big love to all our nurses.....you're awesome smile

snorepatrol Fri 29-Apr-16 16:16:53

Ive just left nursing after ten years the main reasons were
1) The shifts I found it really hard to spend time with my children the area I worked in did 5 short shifts no long days (which are better) I could easily get 4 lates in a row which meant I barely saw my kids those weeks. Plus you work every other Christmas and Easter.
2) The off duty was a nightmare, you occasionally got a gem of an off duty writer who work give you off duty a couple of weeks in advance but I met more off duty trolls who would literally put the off duty out on Friday for the following Monday. Annoying when you don't have kids, near impossible when you have kids, have four lates, a husband at work until and hour after school clubs close and busy relatives. It's just not enough time to organise childcare.
3) The wages my wage never increased at all from 2010-2016 due to all the pay freezes etc.
4) The unpaid overtime which in the area I worked happened A LOT. When I left I had about 70hours 'time owing' that was for times I should have left at 9pm and was still there at 2am and back for my late shift the next day.

The plus side is your work colleagues become your work family and nothing feels better than knowing you've saved a patients life.

I do miss nursing but not as much as I missed my kids while I was doing it.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 16:16:58

I think Sept is the last tuition fee free intake but you may have missed the boat for applications.

Just seen you're in Scotland, I didn't think you had tuition fees there???

KitKat1985 Fri 29-Apr-16 16:23:08

It's usually a 50/50 split between placements and Uni time. They are removing the student bursary for nurse training so you will probably be in a similar position to most students, except you will only have 3 weeks off in the summer and not 3 months, so not much opportunity for summer jobs. Also the hours you do on placements can vary wildly so it can be difficult to get a part time job to fit around your hours as well, and it usually involves a lot more 'contact hours' than a lot of undergraduate courses. My advice if you are serious is to try and get some HCA work on the NHS bank and you can do the odd HCA shift whenever it suits you to get some extra money coming in, and it's also good experience. It is demanding though. I remember once doing 3 months without a day off as I was at Uni or in placement Monday to Friday and I was doing a part-time job Saturday and Sunday. It's a varied and fast-paced career and you need to love a challenge, although I think even the most optimistic of nurses will warn you that you need a tough skin and the service is the most stretched it's ever been, so it comes with a lot of stress and long hours.

AriaTloak Fri 29-Apr-16 16:28:41

Thank you all so much for your replies.

I didn't think we had tuition fees in Scotland either, but is this what they're introducing or is it limited to England?

I just want to feel like I'm making a difference. I've always been so interested in health care and any time I've been in the hospital I've always pined to be the one doing the care.

I just don't like my desk job, I don't like sitting sifting through paper all day and staring at a screen. I'm not helping anyone?! Just helping my boss get rich?!

DownstairsMixUp Fri 29-Apr-16 16:31:45

Aria defintely try to do some hca work if you have never done it. I was a cadet nurse before I was a student nurse and got my NVQ doing that. It is hard work but it is rewarding. I preferred the long days to the short days (long day at my hospital was 715am till 8pm)

U2HasTheEdge Fri 29-Apr-16 16:35:24

I wanted/want to be a nurse.

I am training to be an assistant practitioner in October. That would get me into uni and I would get to skip a year and not need my GCSE's. I now wish I did my GCSEs last year so I could get into uni as I have done my access course. I could have started my training by now with the bursary.

I didn't and now I don't know if I can ever be a nurse. I don't think I could get another student loan for nursing and I'm not sure I could even afford to do the training so I might have to stick with being a band 4. That might be enough for me anyway.

snorepatrol Fri 29-Apr-16 16:48:39

There are other NHS jobs that are a bit better for your work life balance OP.

I left nursing to start my training to be a speech therapist which I love doing.

I'm still making a difference and not tied to an office but I'm not doing crazy shifts either.

Also I'm 29 and have just stared my degree so it's never too late.

ditavonteesed Fri 29-Apr-16 18:02:14

it's funny how different people find the shifts isn;t it, I find long shifts give me a perfect work/life balance and really struggled when I was on community placements doing short shifts.
I would second what someone said about experience as a HCA. I worked as a HCA in nursing but initially wanted to train as a midwife so transferred to maternity although I loved it it didn't light my fire like nursing did.

Headofthehive55 Fri 29-Apr-16 18:35:16

The work is very varied. I like short days, but only work days not evenings.

I have found that I can negotiate my working hours.

DottyButtons Fri 29-Apr-16 18:38:56

Have a look at your local uni and the entry requirements and course overview.
I love nursing. But it cost me my marriage. Which in hindsight is no bad thing really. But it's hard graft.
I work permanent nights unless we're super short staffed on days which we normally are and do 12 hour shifts.
However I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my job, its very hands on but allows me to use my clinical decision making skills.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 18:42:29

I think scotland won't be affected by the introduction of fees.

TheUnsullied Fri 29-Apr-16 18:47:36

Nursing is extremely varied...did you have a particular area in mind?

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 29-Apr-16 18:49:03

DownStairsMixUp, I've been thinking of applying but the bursary seems to work out at less than £500/pcm for me, which I can't afford to live on. We would only get a couple of hundred taken off under means testing. Would you mind telling me you get the dependents allowance element with or without an earning DP please?

Mummyoftwo91 Fri 29-Apr-16 19:13:14

I would For sure do some hca work, I wanted to be a nurse since I could remember so I signed up to be a hca to gain some experience and to see if that's what I really wanted ended up staying 5 years but have to say I changed my mind about becoming a nurse, although I loved my job as a hca it was exhausting after having 2 lo's

DownstairsMixUp Fri 29-Apr-16 20:43:38

Hi Jennifer I get dependants allowance for my two boys and I think I do get a bit for DH, he only started a business up in 2014 (and it's hit and miss, last year he didn't make a ton) but you have to reapply every year, now he is starting to get a name for himself the earnings are creeping up so I doubt I'll get that for the whole three years of training. smile

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