Opinion pieces · Reflection · The StN Project

Disbanding the myth: the “Q” word

As students we have almost  all been there: arriving on the ward, handover only takes 5 minutes and we’re paired up with a nurse that doesn’t know us but tells us we’ll have a good one. A 32/40 bed ward, with only 12 patients, or a private hospital with only 3 patients overnight. Haven’t we all been told in those situations to savour them and to enjoy the peace of mind for a moment?  

What if I told you that happened to me more than once, during most placements. It seems unreal that in a time where everything we read in newspapers and see on the news and tv is hospitals filled to the brim with patients. A&E’s overflowing, patients coming out of our ears, yet I’ve been the lucky one to have those nights or days where it has been extremely painfully QUIET. Yet when I mention the Q word people shush me, jokingly most times, and at other times I feel that there is a real superstition around the word.   

Now, if you’re one of those nurses that has  a slight superstition around the word, I get it. You’ve been working on that ward a lot longer than I have, you’ve been working hard, massive workloads, high pressures, raised stress levels, I honestly understand it. But, can you put yourself back in the shoes of a student for a moment? Remember how limited the hand on experience actually is already. Sporadic, spread out, placement periods, ranging over (in my case) 6 weeks at a time which equals to only 19-20 shifts! Actually not a lot if you put it that way right?   

Now I’m not saying that I want people to become ill on behalf of my learning experience, but I’d rather my shifts not be quiet. I want to learn, grow and perform the nursing cares I am actually allowed to do when in placements, since when I’m writing essays these do not come to mind. I want to grow more and more confident and competent in assessing the sick/deteriorating patient and in doing so be triggered to ask questions, and see you as the qualified nurse do the amazing job that you do.   

So my request to you is to not be afraid of the word. When things are quiet then that is what it is. Nothing more nothing less. Cause in the end, isn’t quiet just another word in our day-to-day vocabulary?  

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