I graduated from BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing. After working at Ipswich Hospital, I am now a prison nurse at HMP Warren Hill.
We got asked to opt in by the government to be employed as a band 4 nurse to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of doing our last 13-week management placement we actually did a 6-month placement. I was based on one of the cardiac wards at Ipswich hospital, Claydon ward. It was a green ward at the time but unfortunately COVID did sneak through and I actually contracted COVID myself while working there.
Getting used to the PPE was a challenge, obviously it was all so new and it changed on a day-to-day basis really. I remember coming out of one of the patient side rooms and suddenly we had to wear visors and googles whereas previously we weren’t wearing those so it was a case of keeping up to date, it was changing daily.
It was a scary time especially as I had a child at home and my mum is my childcare as well so there was the fear of bringing anything home to your loved ones but I instantly knew when the government asked that I wanted to opt in and help. It was definitely rewarding. As nurses we train to take care of people and what better time and what greater need than during a global pandemic when people were at their lowest and most scared. As families weren’t allowed in hospitals we were their nurses and quite often their family too.
I worked at Ipswich hospital when I first qualified but now I am working at HMP Warren Hill, a male closed prison, as a prison nurse. It’s very rewarding. I don’t think people realise there is so many different sectors to go into once you have a nursing degree. There is the NHS which is fantastic but there are also the private sectors as well. A very diverse range of jobs you can go into.
For anyone considering a nursing degree I would say, absolutely go into it but go into it with your eyes wide open. It is probably one of the hardest degree courses you can do. You are working long hours on placement as well as juggling studying, possibly working too and family commitments. Be prepared for hard work, it won’t be easy but days like today and days on the ward make it all worthwhile. When you are stressed to your eyeballs, writing your dissertation and things like that, the goal is to that day on stage, or as good as, with your family watching you and celebrating your achievements.