‘Just a student’ but you are so much more
As a link lecturer, I was visiting a trust and waiting for a meeting on a busy ward. I was passively watching a student nurse performing nursing care activities for a patient who was sitting on a chair. On completion of the tasks, I overheard the patient say, ‘thank you, nurse’, to which the student nurse replied ‘No, I am just a student’ then gently placed their hand on the patient's shoulder, leaned in to say ‘please let me know if you need anything else’, smiled and left. I was then called to my meeting, but this conversation was still etched in my mind.
Clearly, the student nurse had been right to correct the patient regarding their status. But to say that they were ‘just a student’ sounded quite negative. Could it have been imposter syndrome, professional socialisation, demoralisation or lack of confidence? Sadly, I missed my opportunity to address this with them. I felt that such activity had displayed all the criteria of being part of nurse training, fulfilling the ‘6 Cs’ of care: compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment. It showed much more besides, such as good character – a value held dear to us as professionals, showing qualities of having principles and creating a good impression.
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