One Year as a Newly Qualified Nurse

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I recently hit a pretty big milestone; I managed to make it through a whole year as a qualified nurse (without losing my registration). That’s a joke but I can honestly say there’s not a day passes at work where I don’t panic about it. The past year has been a rollercoaster ride. Being a mental health nurse is filled with so many highs and lows and my brain usually feels like mush by the day of the end. It’s such a cliché but there’s truly nothing I’d rather be doing (except living in a campervan with two dogs). But there’s nothing I’d realistically rather be doing.

To mark the occasion I wanted to share just some of the things I’ve learnt in the last year.

  1. You realise quickly how little university prepared you for being a nurse.
  2. But on the other hand, you realise that uni put the fear of God into you about how ‘terrifying’ nursing is, when in reality, good organisation, a calm mentality and listening skills make up most of the job.
  3. You’re allowed to make mistakes – just own up to them immediately.
  4. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
  5. If you’re ever considering whether a patient needs their physical observations taking, then yes they do.
  6. Force yourself to do the things you are scared of. There will be shifts where you’re the only person qualified to do them.
  7. Listen to your healthcare assistants – they are the backbone of your ward/hospital/community service.
  8. Familiarise yourself with death, you will see it even if you think you don’t work in that environment.
  9. Learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses. “Oh you don’t deal with vomit? That’s great because I’m not good with spit.”
  10. Ask for help. There are no stupid questions. Nursing is about life long learning.
  11. Listen to patients, to relatives, to staff. Listen to everyone and listen actively.
  12. Find a pair of shoes that you can walk around in for 14 hours a day.
  13. Take your breaks. Nobody thinks you’re a superior nurse because you went a whole day without eating anything.
  14. Take every opportunity to learn something new.
  15. You’re going to feel like you’re not good enough approximately 5 million times a day. Even experienced nurses feel like this. It’s a good thing that means we want the best for our patients.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt from your job?

Rachel x-x-x


Productive Relaxation

Productive relaxation is something I have done for a number of years without even knowing it. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve coined the term ‘Productive relaxation’ to explain what I do in my free time.

Lots of people can think of nothing better than sitting down to watch the television for the afternoon with a nice hot cup of coffee. I would love to do that too. But you can bet I’ll be doing another 3 things at least while I watch TV.

For me, productive relaxation is more than multitasking. It’s a constant need to be doing something, that in my mind is, ‘productive.’ I always thought I was the kind of person who could just lie in bed all day and not get bored. Turns out I’m not.

Relaxing, to me, just isn’t relaxing so here are some ways I like to relax.


If you haven’t heard of it, Duolingo is a website and app that lets you learn languages FOR FREE. If you’re not traumatised by your memories of GCSE French then check out Duolingo to learn a new language. There are so many to choose from and they make it really fun. This is one of my favouriting ways to ‘relax.’ I feel productive and I don’t need to leave my bed.

Quiz Shows

This probably sounds quite strange but I like my head to feel busy lisinopril 20 mg. And quiz shows fill this hole perfectly. There isn’t a quiz show that I don’t love and one of my favourite things to do is sit in front of the TV with a coffee, shouting at the screen. Please comment with your favourites because I love finding new ones! My personal fave is Only Connect.


Memrise has a similar feel to Duolingo. It’s colourful and fun but this website is all about memory. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s remembering things. That sounds so weird, I know but hey, that’s me.

Memrise is perfect if you’ve got an exam coming up or you just want to brush up on your skills on a topic for no real reason. But if, like me, you enjoy sitting down in your free time and learning all the state capitals then it’s great for that too.


My favourite of all activities to do when I’m ‘relaxing.’ Blogging is such a release for my brain. It keeps my hands busy, it lets me get my thoughts out and I would like to think it’s improving my writing skills. It’s also led me to join the wonderful blogging community of Twitter which means whenever I have a spare moment, I can always find something to do!

Are you good at relaxing? Or do you constantly need stimulation?  Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x


Learning To Say No (Without The Guilt)

Learning to say no is one of the most difficult yet most important aspects of loving yourself.
We’re told from being young that it’s so important to say yes to things. That when an opportunity is presented we must say yes because otherwise we will regret it.

It’s easier to say yes. It’s more appealing to agree to doing something, rather than offending someone by saying no. But if you say yes to everything, it’s likely that you’ll end up without any time for yourself. This can be disadvantageous for 2 reasons.

  1. You have no time for yourself so you become frazzled over everything that needs doing and have no rest time for self care.
  2. Continually making yourself busy means that you don’t have time to address any issues going. Are you saying yes to everything so that you don’t have to be alone?

So how can you make it easier on yourself when you say no?

Say It Right Away

If you already have too many commitments and you know you won’t be able to make room for something else, then say no right away. Don’t say maybe. Don’t say you’ll think about it. If you can say with certainty that you can’t fit that extra commitment in then say it now, because you’re just extending the inevitable if you keep someone waiting. You’ll feel worse and you’ll have given them false hope and no one’s happy. Obviously, if you actually want time to think about it, then that’s totally okay!

Compromise Is Cool

If saying no is too final for you then think about ways you can compromise. Compromising means that you aren’t saying you’ll do something that you don’t want to and it means that the other person partially gets what they want to.

I hate going out but my friends really enjoy it. So even though I rarely go out drinking with them on a weekend, I will always say yes to special occasions like birthdays. This way, everyone is happy.

Be Honest

This is the one I trip up on usually. I often say no without really saying no. I make excuses but the excuses are often lies. I’ll say “Sorry I can’t come to that. I’ve got something on in the morning so I need to be in bed early.” Or, “I’d love to come but I’m getting a bit of a headache so I won’t be able to make it.” The truth is that I’d love to be in bed early because I just like going to bed early. I don’t NEED it though. And chances are I do have a headache. But if having a headache stopped me I’d never do anything because I get them more often than I don’t get them!

So try and be honest. Now I try to say “Going out isn’t really my thing,” or “I’d love to but I just don’t have time to fit that in.” I feel better about being honest and the person I’m talking to knows that I’m not just flaking on them.

Saying no is hard and it’s a habit that takes time to develop. But these 3 tips have helped me feel more confident about saying no with conviction so that I have more time for me and more time for the things I do care about, without feeling guilty and without hurting anyone’s feelings.

How do you deal with saying no? Are you a people pleaser? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x