Paranoidcherry
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Hi all

Hoping for a little advice..

I'm an adult nursing student just finished first year and really enjoyed it so far done well over all despite highs and lows.

However I've recently started working as a HCA on the bank at my local hospital and HATE it. And I don't usually use the word but seriously... Because every time I do a shift its a new ward I always feel a nuisance and out of my depth. I do know what's expected of me but then no matter how efficient, friendly or willing to help I am most nurses and hcas seems annoyed at me even just being there which seems insane an I'm an additional pair of hands if nothing else!

It's really knocked my confidence. It feel sick before every shift but need the money so really really stuck and it's making me quite miserable. It's made me feel inadequate to be a nurse full stop just because nothing I do seems right despite all the pts being safe happy and settled well looked after.

Any advice would be amazing! People keep telling me to find fave wards and stick to them but I've honestly hated every shift so far!!

P.s. Nothing to do with the work itself! I prefer manual/heavy wards and always work hard with a smile (even if an anxious one..) xx
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Paranoidcherry)
Hi all

Hoping for a little advice..

I'm an adult nursing student just finished first year and really enjoyed it so far done well over all despite highs and lows.

However I've recently started working as a HCA on the bank at my local hospital and HATE it. And I don't usually use the word but seriously... Because every time I do a shift its a new ward I always feel a nuisance and out of my depth. I do know what's expected of me but then no matter how efficient, friendly or willing to help I am most nurses and hcas seems annoyed at me even just being there which seems insane an I'm an additional pair of hands if nothing else!

It's really knocked my confidence. It feel sick before every shift but need the money so really really stuck and it's making me quite miserable. It's made me feel inadequate to be a nurse full stop just because nothing I do seems right despite all the pts being safe happy and settled well looked after.

Any advice would be amazing! People keep telling me to find fave wards and stick to them but I've honestly hated every shift so far!!

P.s. Nothing to do with the work itself! I prefer manual/heavy wards and always work hard with a smile (even if an anxious one..) xx
I am a senior nurse with many years experience and I would urge you just to stick things out.

If I am being honest being an HCA is a pooh job. You are treated as a extra pair of hands. ( But some of the best nurses I have ever worked with are the HCAs) The fact that you are feeling inadequate makes you a great student - because you are not ready yet to take on the task of being a staff nurse.

The trouble with the NHS today is that it is so short staffed and the workers are always taken for granted. *So ....

When you go onto the ward say... I am a student nurse and I am working as an HCA - give me a task to do and I will get on with it. *If you don't like the wards you are on can you change to another hospital.

If you like manual heavy wards - care of the elderly is always good - some of the oldsters are wonderful historians and you can chat to them for hours and no-one gets angry except the alzheimers ones!

Nursing is not for everyone - remember your aim - to be an RGN - you won't earn much money but you will never be unemployed and it is a worthwhile job .

PM me if you need support - believe me I have had my dark days too.*
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PaediatricStN
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
The fact that you are feeling inadequate makes you a great student - because you are not ready yet to take on the task of being a staff nurse
I don't think you realise that providing positive reinforcement for feelings of inadequacy is completely wrong. I think I get where you are coming from, making a distant reference to competencies (maybe?) but you have expressed this so so badly.

Of course, student nurses (And HCAs for that matter), should be fully aware of their competencies, and work within those, and know when to refer a situation to a qualified nurse. Both should have a drive for learning and development and should be able to recognise weaknesses/areas for development. But this is just not the same as inadequacy. A healthcare professional can still have a sense of adequacy while recognising development needs.

Paranoidcherry Please do not think feeling inadequate is something to aim for. It's not. I'm going to write another reply to your post but wanted to address this issue here first as I don't agree with encouraging negativity in people.
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PaediatricStN
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(Original post by Paranoidcherry)
Hi all

Hoping for a little advice..

I'm an adult nursing student just finished first year and really enjoyed it so far done well over all despite highs and lows.

However I've recently started working as a HCA on the bank at my local hospital and HATE it. And I don't usually use the word but seriously... Because every time I do a shift its a new ward I always feel a nuisance and out of my depth. I do know what's expected of me but then no matter how efficient, friendly or willing to help I am most nurses and hcas seems annoyed at me even just being there which seems insane an I'm an additional pair of hands if nothing else!

It's really knocked my confidence. It feel sick before every shift but need the money so really really stuck and it's making me quite miserable. It's made me feel inadequate to be a nurse full stop just because nothing I do seems right despite all the pts being safe happy and settled well looked after.

Any advice would be amazing! People keep telling me to find fave wards and stick to them but I've honestly hated every shift so far!!

P.s. Nothing to do with the work itself! I prefer manual/heavy wards and always work hard with a smile (even if an anxious one..) xx
I'm sorry you are struggling with Bank HCA work, but it sounds as if you are doing well at uni and have a great attitude to working as a HCA.

I think initially starting out as a Bank HCA will be tricky as you won't know the ward environments. That said, permanent staff on the wards should make an effort to welcome you too. Have you been anywhere more than once?

When you go to a new ward ask if you can be shown round (if this isn't offered) - it's actually important from a safety perspective as well as a practical one. You'll need to know where to find the defib and resus trolley etc.

You could also ask the nurse in charge at the start of the shift what exactly is expected of you, as it probably varies from ward to ward.

I know if staff aren't friendly or seem rushed it is hard to ask for these things but in the long run I think they save time and make for more efficient and safe working.

If you continue to struggle maybe it is worth speaking to the bank office at your Trust to find out if they can offer you any advice or support? Or if you feel it necessary they could contact all the ward sisters to just generically reinforce the need for bank staff to be inducted and welcomed to a new ward. This is something that hopefully would be cascaded down to all the staff on the wards.

I understand the need for money, so if all else fails, maybe consider a job in another sector on a flexible 0 hour contract? There are lots out there and if you are generally enjoying being a student nurse, it may be worth stepping away from Bank HCA work to protect yourself from becoming disillusioned with the whole profession. If anything, earning money away from healthcare work may be a welcome break from caring - it is tough work and you don't want to burn yourself out.

Please feel free to DM me anytime. Always happy to offer any support or advice I can (I'm a qualified children's nurse). Hope that helps, best of luck to you.

Joel
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by PaediatricStN)
I don't think you realise that providing positive reinforcement for feelings of inadequacy is completely wrong. I think I get where you are coming from, making a distant reference to competencies (maybe?) but you have expressed this so so badly.

Of course, student nurses (And HCAs for that matter), should be fully aware of their competencies, and work within those, and know when to refer a situation to a qualified nurse. Both should have a drive for learning and development and should be able to recognise weaknesses/areas for development. But this is just not the same as inadequacy. A healthcare professional can still have a sense of adequacy while recognising development needs.

Paranoidcherry Please do not think feeling inadequate is something to aim for. It's not. I'm going to write another reply to your post but wanted to address this issue here first as I don't agree with encouraging negativity in people.
I am afraid I don't agree with you - too many students think they are Gods gift to nursing and are positively dangerous. *Recognising and acknowledging ones inadequacies is a great way to learn. I think the poster shows great maturity. I see many students coming through the system and it scares me how terrible some of them are. What I like is the ones who ask questions and show that they have done research before coming to the area I work in. I am always willing to sit with them and answer questions and explain how to develop their skills. I have more years behind me than I care to recall.
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chatty_george
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I'm currently studying at uni and desperate to do something in healthcare - in fact becoming a HCA wouldn't phase me one bit! What exactly is it that you can't stand about the job? I can understand your frustration as some HCAs can be spoken down to by senior staff as if they are just accessories instead of real assets to the wards they work on. As a mature student my advice would be to just try and stick it out and remember that this is just for the short term and not a long-term project. Your long-term project is ultimately to become an RN. Secondly, however difficult it may seem try and enjoy this experience and take your dislike of being a HCA as a learning curve. Hope this has helped you and try and remain focused - the appreciation you will receive from your patients is worth it at the end of the day.
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PaediatricStN
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
I am afraid I don't agree with you - too many students think they are Gods gift to nursing and are positively dangerous. *Recognising and acknowledging ones inadequacies is a great way to learn. I think the poster shows great maturity. I see many students coming through the system and it scares me how terrible some of them are. What I like is the ones who ask questions and show that they have done research before coming to the area I work in. I am always willing to sit with them and answer questions and explain how to develop their skills. I have more years behind me than I care to recall.
You don't realise, we actually agree - we've both said that recognising development needs is important.

The way you have expressed this however is nasty - I'm going to call it what I genuinely think it is. I don't think you recognise the damage the carelessness of your words could cause to a junior student's confidence. The way students are mentored and fed back to is crucially important. Reinforcing inadequacy will only lead to low confidence and job/study satisfaction. This in turn adds to the awful attrition rates undergraduate nursing degrees/newly qualified preceptorship programmes have.
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PaediatricStN
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
And I rest my case - modern nurses are too sensitive - it is a tough world out there - you are a paediatric nurse and don't deal with adult issues.

If you feel so strongly report my post - I am open to comments as always*
I'll be honest, I don't think it's about sensitivity of anyone. I think it's just about qualified nurses recognising how moldable some student nurses are and appreciating that our words/actions may have an exacerbated influence on them because of this.

I'd politely ask you to please not make disrespectful sweeping statements about those who you classify as "Modern nurses" - of which I probably come under. I'm not going to say anymore on the debate regarding differences between the range of experience levels within the nursing workforce - we've been there before here on TSR, and it didn't end particularly well.
I hope that isn't an implication that adult nurses are in some way "tougher" than children's nurses. All areas of nursing are equally demanding, and present their own multi-faceted challenges - one simply cannot compare them.

Your post isn't report-worthy. You just need to be more considerate and measured with your words, given what I've explained above.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by PaediatricStN)
I'll be honest, I don't think it's about sensitivity of anyone. I think it's just about qualified nurses recognising how moldable some student nurses are and appreciating that our words/actions may have an exacerbated influence on them because of this.

I'd politely ask you to please not make disrespectful sweeping statements about those who you classify as "Modern nurses" - of which I probably come under. I'm not going to say anymore on the debate regarding differences between the range of experience levels within the nursing workforce - we've been there before here on TSR, and it didn't end particularly well.
I hope that isn't an implication that adult nurses are in some way "tougher" than children's nurses. All areas of nursing are equally demanding, and present their own multi-faceted challenges - one simply cannot compare them.

Your post isn't report-worthy. You just need to be more considerate and measured with your words, given what I've explained above.
Again - it is a tough world out there - I work in central London - there is no time for sensitivity. I think a lot of nurses go into nursing thinking they will be Florence Nightingale - soothing the fevered brow etc - the reality is a tough job where there is no time for namby pamby nursing. Where do you work as a matter of interest.

And I don't know whether *adult nurses are tougher - I have been assaulted , spat at , sworn at, hit. I have had to hit the panic button with a psychiatric patient but I have also been bitten by a lovely child who just hugged me and then sank his teeth into my leg
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PaediatricStN
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
Again - it is a tough world out there - I work in central London - there is no time for sensitivity. I think a lot of nurses go into nursing thinking they will be Florence Nightingale - soothing the fevered brow etc - the reality is a tough job where there is no time for namby pamby nursing. Where do you work as a matter of interest.

And I don't know whether *adult nurses are tougher - I have been assaulted , spat at , sworn at, hit. I have had to hit the panic button with a psychiatric patient but I have also been bitten by a lovely child who just hugged me and then sank his teeth into my leg
Sometimes time or staffing restraints don't allow for as much sensitivity or compassion as desired, but where there is time for it, it always has a place.

I work on a 32 bed medical ward (6 High Dependency beds included in that, but we've been known to expand up to 37 beds during peak winter times) within a children's hospital. So we have a mixture of normally healthy children who present with acute illnesses, as well as those with complex health needs. We act as the ward for any specialties that don't have their own dedicated unit, as well as overflow for other specialties when their wards are full.
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wbnurse
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As an ex-hca i completely understand and this is why I stuck to my ward and never banked. I'm currently waiting for my bank to start and I can pick up some shifts and I'm dreading it.....but I need the money. I'm going to be honest now and some may shoot me for this but unfortunately SOME bank hcas just tar the rest with the same brush. Now when I was a hca and I walked in and saw a bank name on that board and it was next to me my heart would sink. I'd think "for god sake someone I have to show around and teach basic tasks when I have no time to even eat my dinner" and 9 times out of 10 that was what it was like. It was abit like the hospital had employed a load of monkeys on one big recruitment day and they'd send them to us (post op surgery!) for their first shift and it used to wind me up something rotten! But then a week or so later you'd get a bank and he/she would be fantastic!! Just awesome. But unfortunately you'd already have a pre judgement and I'd feel bad but it was just natural. So I fully understand why these hcas make you feel
Unwelcome.....because they simply don't have time.....they assume you won't know, want showing everything and be a waste of time. Best thing to do is walk on and say tell me where to go what to and leave me too it. You've got through 1 year of nursing you can polish off a hca job all day! Please don't feel disheartened. You will build up a confidence and a basically "I don't give a sh!t I'm here to do my job" attitude. And can I just say the way you are feeling now does not mean you will ever be an inadequate nurse. Entering a ward you do not know is very daunting.....years of training will not fix that. No matter how good you are. Please enjoy the rest of your training and treat the bank work as a learning curve along side uni! YOU CAN DO IT!!!


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Amy. J S
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Firstly thanks for bringing this discussion up @paranoidcherry. Your situation is very similar to mine at the mo.

I'm going into Nursing myself (will be studying an Access course next year) but at the moment am working at a Nursing home for the elderly. I started off bank here, but after just three months a contract has been written up for 28 hours of employment a week. Even though with all the staffing issues at the moment, I am doing well above 40 hours a week. I think first thing first really is healthcare (both oin the private and public sector) does seem to be struggling. I'm not really suprised at the private sector though, they're going to try and minimise costs and run the place on bare minimum staff (which is what my place does and this makes for a horrible environment at times; especially as there are so many Nursing residents here who need full assistance in most tasks). Anyway I'm drifting away from my point point.

Not feeling satisfied in the environment I am in (just general arguments and *****iness between staff, the place being ran inefficiently etc. etc.) has driven me to apply for HCA posts and desire to progress to a more clinical setting. I do really empathise with your post and can relate to what you're going through. Although after three months I am a lot more settled now and (sort of?) part of the furniture, this doesn't remove the fact that I wasn't made to feel welcome in the beginning. Staff are exasperated to have to mentor another person. These mentors aren't RN's but still the whole process of having somebody be with you through a large portion of the day furstrated a lot of staff members. This was actually brought up as an issue during one of our recent staff meetings in preparation for a new intake. I definitely had a sense of rush whislt working (still do!) and spent the first month in the job CONSTANTLY worrying about my duties and continually researching my role and all responsibilities relevant to it. I, like you, had to stick it out. I'm not in the financial position to walk away and this has helped to some degree. You do just have to stick it out. My resolution is that I am going to change the environment that I work in, but that is more due to the attitudes and dynamiccs of my colleagues than anything else. I can't suggest anything about your nerves, I've felt the same and really the only solution is just keeping at it. It is horrible feeling so anxious before work, so know exactly how you feel there.

Just as a footnote, I do agree with Joel who posted up the top. Whilst you seem a lovely, committed and mature person/student I'd try asking some of the seniors whether a tour (of sorts) would be something that could be done. Not only would it be great for you personally, like Joel said very pratical and something that would make you feel more confident within your surroundings. I think it may demonstrate to staff members that you're serious about the job. That you're comfortable in your duties and are willing to learn and develop across the course of your employment. Worth a try in my view.

I hope things pick up soon for you.
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Paperflowersxx
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Try not to let it dishearten you, it's tough on the bank as your constantly new to the areas- I have the same problem on the bank, I've been doing a lot more shifts lately and you do feel like the new kid all the time but as time goes on it gets easier
stay on the bank, give it time- the more experienced you become the easier it will be
try and block book on a specific ward, if you can do that- like what one of the other posters had said introduce yourself say that your a student nurse
Just think of it as all part of the experience, when you qualify it will give you a stronger idea where you may want to work, also when you go full time in an area that you know you won't treat the bank staff- like you once were treated, you will gain knowledge that may never be taught at uni/ placement, you'll see things that you may never get to see on placement
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Blackstarr
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
Again - it is a tough world out there - I work in central London - there is no time for sensitivity. I think a lot of nurses go into nursing thinking they will be Florence Nightingale - soothing the fevered brow etc - the reality is a tough job where there is no time for namby pamby nursing. Where do you work as a matter of interest.

And I don't know whether *adult nurses are tougher - I have been assaulted , spat at , sworn at, hit. I have had to hit the panic button with a psychiatric patient but I have also been bitten by a lovely child who just hugged me and then sank his teeth into my leg


Is this the harsh reality of nursing?
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Blackstarr
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
I am a senior nurse with many years experience and I would urge you just to stick things out.

If I am being honest being an HCA is a pooh job. You are treated as a extra pair of hands. ( But some of the best nurses I have ever worked with are the HCAs) The fact that you are feeling inadequate makes you a great student - because you are not ready yet to take on the task of being a staff nurse.

The trouble with the NHS today is that it is so short staffed and the workers are always taken for granted. *So ....

When you go onto the ward say... I am a student nurse and I am working as an HCA - give me a task to do and I will get on with it. *If you don't like the wards you are on can you change to another hospital.

If you like manual heavy wards - care of the elderly is always good - some of the oldsters are wonderful historians and you can chat to them for hours and no-one gets angry except the alzheimers ones!

Nursing is not for everyone - remember your aim - to be an RGN - you won't earn much money but you will never be unemployed and it is a worthwhile job .

PM me if you need support - believe me I have had my dark days too.*

Out of interest, how long have you been a nurse?

And, is becoming a legal nurse consultant hard? if you know anything about that?
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Blackstarr)
Out of interest, how long have you been a nurse?

And, is becoming a legal nurse consultant hard? if you know anything about that?
I qualified in the 1980s ( so very old) Don't know anything about a legal nurse consultant - never heard of one. I am a clinical nurse specialist though
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Blackstarr)
[/b]

Is this the harsh reality of nursing?
In London there is a real crisis in nursing - rubbish pay and heavy patient load. I work in an area of oncology where it is tough emotionally too. It is not the job I trained to do although it is rewarding but at the end of the day sometimes I have to just shut the door and cry about what I have seen and heard.
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Blackstarr
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
In London there is a real crisis in nursing - rubbish pay and heavy patient load. I work in an area of oncology where it is tough emotionally too. It is not the job I trained to do although it is rewarding but at the end of the day sometimes I have to just shut the door and cry about what I have seen and heard.
How many hours do you work a week and do you get to pick your shifts?

Also, since you work in London, the pay must be sufficient?

In case you are wondering, i am asking because i am a prospective nursing student to be.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Blackstarr)
How many hours do you work a week and do you get to pick your shifts?

Also, since you work in London, the pay must be sufficient?

In case you are wondering, i am asking because i am a prospective nursing student to be.
You only get to pick your shifts if you are on the bank. Otherwise you have to do rotation - i.e. nights and weekends. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live. The pay in no way reflects that.
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deviant182
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)

And I don't know whether *adult nurses are tougher - I have been assaulted , spat at , sworn at, hit. I have had to hit the panic button with a psychiatric patient but I have also been bitten by a lovely child who just hugged me and then sank his teeth into my leg
(Original post by Blackstarr)
[/b]

Is this the harsh reality of nursing?
It amused me somewhat seeing this.
There is no specific reality as was said in previous posts you cannot compare fields of nursing etc.
However, I do learning disability nursing and I'm about to head into final year.
I've also worked as a support worker etc for years prior to commencing my course.
I've been threatened with a knife, had chairs thrown at me, been spat at, scratched, kicked, bitten, had my hair pulled, been hit and punched, I've had various objects thrown at me, the list goes on.

In different fields you're likely to encounter different patients with different needs and different abilities etc.
Nursing by no means is easy. However, you go in to the field that interests you and that you have a passion for.
Don't try and use the abuse you may face (and let's face it, it is abuse) as trying to say your job is tougher or its reality etc.
It's just something that may or may not happen. You're working with people. People can be unpredictable and can be capable of many different actions.


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