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Day in The Life of a Nurse - Julie's story

Julie is a newly qualified nurse, starting her current role as a Staff Nurse in October 2015.

Nursing was something she had always wanted to do but life got in the way and raising her son became a priority.

“At that time it wasn't so easy to train to be a nurse when you were a single parent. But my son grew up and joined the Army and he urged me to go back to college.”

At the same time her youngest sister had just graduated as an Operating Department Practitioner and she also joined in encouraging Julie to start her training. That was in 2011 and now 5 years later she’s working as a qualified nurse.

For Julie, it’s being able to make a difference, however small, to someone’s health and lifestyle that she really loves about being a nurse.

“I am part of their lives for a short time and have the power to affect them in a positive way. I quite often learn from them, whether it’s new treatment they are trying, research they are partaking in or something as simple as how being in hospital has affected them and their families.”

Julie realised from the beginning that nursing is hard work and challenging at times, but also extremely rewarding.

“There is no satisfaction like helping someone at their very lowest, get back on their feet again”.

She would encourage others to take up nursing but they need to realise it’s more than just a job.

“To make a good nurse you have to want to make a difference to someone’s life, even if they won’t contribute and help you make that difference. It’s certainly not all sunshine and roses. Some days you go home and cry because you’ve had such a rough day. But once those tears have dried and you start to look forward to the challenge of the next day, you know you are where you should be.”

Julie’s nursing day starts with the handover so the previous shift can get her team up to speed on what happening with the patients. After the routine drug rounds, a typical day for Julie consists of dressing changes and drain removals with a fair amount of chasing the pharmacy for medication and chasing doctors for any number of issues. Getting discharge paperwork together and patients sent home safely, chasing social services and rehab places are just a few more things that Julie and her team cram into their shifts.

“As well as doing all this, I have to be there for my patients as well. No two days are ever the same and you never know what your day will be like until you are living it.”

Despite only working as a qualified nurse for a short time, Julie understands the importance of spending time with her patients.

“Just listening to patients and actually hearing what they say, not what we think they are saying, makes a huge difference. Elderly patients tend to not want to 'bother' me because I am 'busy' with others, so it’s about watching body language and hearing what they are NOT saying, then acting upon it, that’s what makes a difference to their lives.”

In her spare time, Julie loves reading and has recently taken up a new hobby,

“I’ve started playing the guitar. I'm not very good to be honest and I still have lots to learn, but my guitar helps me to unwind from a hard day at work.”

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