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I have not always wanted to be a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse, and she would regale me with stories of the past that far from inspired me – at the time. Coupled with reading about nursing in the media, pursuing a career in this profession was not on my agenda.

However, when I was 13, my life changed forever, and it was then I could clearly see that this was the vocation, which is what I believe nursing is, I simply had to follow.

My younger brother was diagnosed with Leukaemia, aged just eight. I watched on helplessly as he battled the disease, going through painful treatment and missing out on the trivial trials and tribulations of childhood. During his long stays in hospital, I would sit with him and watch the nurses as they fussed over him, cared for him and made him comfortable. One day, I asked if I could help, and before I knew it I was actually doing something for my brother. I was able to help take his temperature, his blood pressure and could lend a hand folding the corners of his new bed sheets under. With the help of these wonderful nurses and doctors, and in my own mind, me, my brother got better and came home. It was there and then that I decided I wanted to do the same for others as these people had done for my brother.

That is the idealistic view of nursing. My grandmother was able to give me the real view of nursing, and years on I know that working in this profession is stressful, demanding and emotional.

The role of nursing is changing, and conditions are far from ideal. I realise that all nurses go into their careers with hopes of caring for people, yet often the day-to-day running of a ward can interfere with this.

I was able to get work as an auxiliary nurse during my time at college, and am aware, if not acutely, of the difficulties staff face on the wards. I am interested in learning about patient care and assessing patient needs, but also about the management side of nursing.

I know the demands placed on nurses are tough, and that it really does take a special person to become a good nurse. But what inspires me to be that good nurse is that I have never before, or since, experienced that feeling I got from helping my brother during his treatment, and I don’t believe I will until I the day comes that I am able to do that very thing for someone else’s loved one.


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