Joy: You know you're a nursing student when...

Joy's blogger image - bioJoy Hollier completed her Bachelor of Nursing degree in 2015 and shared her study experiences with her peers as a Meet-Up leader. When she is not busy working in her role as a graduate nurse, she enjoys catching up with friends and exploring new places.


After 3 years of being a nursing student, I have come to realise that there are just some things that only fellow nursing students can really understand and relate to.

I don't just mean the interesting table conversation, either. You know, the times when we start providing a vivid description of that interesting wound we saw, or the first time we either observed or performed some fascinating procedure that makes many of our non-nursing counterparts cringe. Sometimes it’s just the little things.

You know you’re a nursing student when:

1. You weave medical terminology into conversations without a second thought...
That is, until we look over to our once-captive audience only to see that their eyes have glazed over. Oh, I'm sorry, so telling you about a case study where the patient is experiencing Diabetic Ketoacidosis and how it is so interesting that this can then cause them to become dehydrated and develop Hyponatremia doesn’t really mean anything to you? Oh… oops! Ha, ha!

2. You continuously self-diagnose yourself with various medical conditions.
It happens when you least expect… you could be deeply engrossed in study when all of a sudden it dawns on you. What if I have… you name it! Apparently this is a pretty common occurrence among nursing and medical students. Still, these random self-diagnoses can be quite concerning… until you go on clinical placement and finally observe those symptoms first-hand and realise that you are free from at least one more of your nursing student-related hypochondriac fantasies!

Joy's study space picture

3. Everyone you know starts approaching you about ailments of their own with the expectation that you will transform into some amazing skilful storehouse of knowledge in order to magically fix their dilemmas.
Sadly, I'm not a doctor or a diagnostic machine and I don’t dispense drugs. There has been many a time when I have had to admit my inexperience, limited scope of practice and general lack of resources, and strongly recommend that these well-meaning people seek medical advice if their symptoms persist or become worse.

4. You discover medical cases and injuries are actually pretty cool.
My nursing journey has led me from the position of wondering whether I was cut out to be a nurse and shuddering away from medical emergencies to someone who is fascinated by people’s injuries. I’m now at the point where I don't just consider myself as #justanursingstudent, I actually find volunteering and providing first aid with St John Ambulance a fun pastime. Injured people come this way!

Joy's study space with books picture

5. You struggle to practice what you preach when it comes to healthy eating.
As nurses, we aim to promote everyone's health and wellbeing... but we student nurses are still human, and have been known to consume copious amounts of junk food including cake, chocolate, lollies, chips and dip and well... anything scrumptious! In our defence, these delicacies are typically demolished between the hours of 2200 and 0400 (10pm-4am for those not familiar with the 24 hour time by which we now also refer to without thought). That’s right, the notorious night shift! You definitely realise you are a nursing student when you arrive home after a shift snacking on food that everyone else shields their face from with exclamations of how rich that particular food is for morning consumption!

But seriously, while being a nursing student is not as easy as some would like to have us believe (thanks medical dramas on TV!), it is definitely rewarding and worth every ounce of effort. During your degree, you learn a lot about yourself as a person; your strengths, weaknesses and your ability to learn and develop. The challenges are what make you stronger and the confronting experiences make you realise the things you can overcome.

Joy's textbook picture

You know you are a nursing student when you come home and realise that you made someone else's day better. Even exchanging a simple smile with a patient on possibly one of the worst days of their life can make a difference. Even more important is when you realise that as much as you did for your patients that day, they gave much more in return.

All that study is worth it.

For more tips and advice on how to make the most of your nursing student experience, check out Ariela's blog on nursing prac style, and learn how to balance prac and uni with Alice's three tips.


Related:

Ariela: How to rock an individual nursing prac style

Alice: It’s all in the preparation: 3 tips for balancing prac and uni

Alex: First impressions