NQN · Pre-Nursing · Reflection · The StN Project

Finding your identity in the transition from being a student to registered nurse

It’s that time of year where a lot of us are in that period where we are not really a student nurse anymore but we’re also not a registered nurse. We’ve finished all our exams, assignments and placements but we’re awaiting results, job contracts, start dates, uniforms and registration. I’m currently in this stage, I’ve chosen to work with the team that I’m going to be starting with come September and I’m so glad I chose to do it but what I am finding difficult is finding my identify and I have the feeling I’m not the only student/ nearly registered nurse that feels like this. 

Abby Transition

I’ve identified as a student nurse for the past 3 years, I’ve thrown myself into that identity, created my personal student nurse twitter and blog, being a student Information officer with the RCN, being a student nurse course rep, going to parliament to fight for student funding and being part of the Student Nurse Project. I’ve worn my badge saying Student Mental Health Nurse Abby 2016 Cohort with pride and now that student status is gone, who am I? I’m not a registered nurse, I’m not a Newly Qualified nurse, I’m not support worker as I’ve completed my training but I’m also not a student nurse.  


The question who I will be as a registered mental health nurse also spins in my head. As A student I was pretty motivated, organised but at times my personal tutor may have described me as over keen! Will I be the same as a registered nurse or will I be different? How will I be now I’m not moving from team to team every few months, will it change my practice? Now I have an income how will that effect my life? When I’m registered and the buck falls with me, how will that impact me?  


Being a student mental health nurse has completely changed me as a person. It’s developed me massively both professionally and personally. Will being a registered nurse change me again? How will it change me? And how will deal with that? So many questions that nor myself or others can answer, only time will answer them.  


A quote that I always like to remind myself off in times of transition and change is…  


“If nothing ever changed then butterflies wouldn’t exist” 


Change can be tough, even if it’s an amazing change that you’ve been working towards for 3 years like transitioning from a student to registered nurse, it’s still a massive life change and that can be understandably scary. However, if nothing ever changed and transitioned then we would never develop as professionals or people. I’m attempting to embrace this change, use it to develop myself as best I can and prepare myself to be the best registered nurse that I can possibly be 

Written by Abby Martin, *nearly* newly qualified mental health nurse (@MHNurseAbby on Twitter)

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