Career Choice: The Joys and Challenges of a Nursing Degree

Jun 04, 01:35 PM

Imagine completing your final year nursing internship during pandemic. Well, that is the lived reality of our final year nursing students!

The World Health Organisation designated 2020 as the international year of the nurse and midwife to honour the 200th year since Florence Nightingale’s birth. 

Sinéad Kearns, a final year student on the BSc Nursing (General) programme here in DCU, joins presenter Siobhán Murphy, to explain her career choice and her journey over the last 4 years. She describes the experience of working as an intern during the pandemic and her own personal story of contracting the Covid 19 virus.

This episode was recorded on June 3rd 2020.

0:06 - 0:55
Siobhán Murphy, Careers Advisor opens by explaining that today’s episode will explore Nursing as a Career Choice and a reminder to listeners that the World Health Organisation designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife to honour the 200th year since Florence Nightingale’s birth. Siobhán introduces Sinéad Kearns who is currently completing her final year nursing internship.

0:55 - 4:05
Sinéad explains how and why she pursued Nursing as a Career
Sinéad describes how she was influenced by her mother’s coping skills when children on the street were brought to her for First Aid. Sinéad explains that she loved Biology in school but unlike many others did not have a long term ambition to become a nurse. It was when she began studying the anatomy of the face on a Make Artistry course when she first left school that she decided to apply for nursing.  

4:05 - 6:30
The Joys and Challenges of a Nursing Degree
Sinéad discusses her early fears on nursing placements and how talking with classmates really helped. Mature students on the programme also felt similar anxieties and that was reassuring that it was normal. Imposter syndrome is discussed and the importance of working on the balance between comfort and trying new things

6:30 - 11:45
What is the final year internship all about?
Sinéad describes the process of the internship, the responsibilities and how previous placements prepare you for the challenge.  Although with a greater role, interns still have the support of their nurse in charge and the wider team. The biggest change is that you are an employee, have a contract and are paid! Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team is very interesting and it is important to have good communication and respect for all of your co-workers.

11.45- 17:30
Health is not just absence of illness
Sinéad explains the power of a multi-disciplinary team to maximise patients' health and their ability to thrive at home. Respect and dignity of the patient is discussed and how hard it is on them to be in hospital even when it is not for critical issues.

17:30 - 20:30
Is there college work during Internship?
Yes. There are two major pieces of work - completing a drug round and presenting your case load.  

20:30 - 26:15
Working as an Intern during a Pandemic
Sinéad reflects back to her original understanding of the virus and how that changed as it became a reality both in Ireland and in her hospital. There has not been time yet to reflect fully on working during this time as she is too busy and focussed on the job in hand. It will take time.

26:15 - 37:30
Sinéad’s personal story of contracting Covid 19
Sinéad explains her initial symptoms, going to the test centre and sharing the news with her family. The family had to work closely together to ensure that she was looked after but also prevent anyone else getting it. No other member of her family contracted the virus. To explain how easy for this virus to spread she suggested to think of it like glitter and how that gets everywhere!

37:30 - 41:15
What is the future of nursing?
Sinéad explains that respect for the profession has grown and that she hopes this will continue. For Sinéad, her eye is on the prize of successfully completing her programme this September and working on building up and rounding out her experience. There are so many specialisations available in nursing and in time she will consider a postgraduate course, but first wants to get additional experience.

41:15- 44:04
Sinéad shares her top tips
Sinéad encourages those who want to pursue nursing to try it. It will be hard at times. You will have fears and anxieties but these can be overcome through experience and support of friends. It is about whether the struggles are worth it for you.