Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Firstly, I've never done this blog business before but I've always thought about starting one, so here goes... I've worked in hospitals since the tender age of 16; nearly 20 years ago, fresh from school and a virgin to the realities of life. I wasn't the model pupil or child by any means; being diagnosed with ADHD at a time when it wasn't seen as a real thing. Instead, I was seen as just a naughty problem child for the most part of my school life. I was just a child figuring out my role and purpose in life, and just misunderstood. Often having crazy outbursts due to frustration or boredom. Luckily for me I had a very good family network at the time. They understood me, even though I was a massive handful (never a dull moment in our home thanks to me) and they pushed me to achieve what I wanted in life. When I left school, I had a passion for science and biology and a calling to help others. Not that most people recognised that fact through my behaviour. But in truth, deep down, I have a kind heart. It was just masked by a tough exterior, to get me through my misunderstood, adolescent years. As a child I spent a lot of time in hospitals; having lots of different operations, as well as through my many, many, many accidents. Often breaking bones and, on one occasion, even getting hold of a Stanley knife and severing the ulnar nerve in my hand whilst in the bath, trying to cut the lid of a bubble bath figurine (narrowly avoiding a sex change in the process, as you do). Just one example of the never dull moments in my childhood! So, once I left school in 2001, I wanted to give something back. I remembered all the kind people who had supported me whilst under their care. I thought "I want to do this. I want to be a nurse, just like my aunty Ally." It was my mum who found an ad in the local paper for a cadet scheme at a local hospital, and off we went to an open day. I spent a few hours talking to people who worked in the hospital and about what they do and what qualifications I could get through this new scheme. I was blown away; this inspired me to go for it so I put my name down to show interest. I returned home and soon I was filling out an application form, with the help of aunty Ally of course. I totally forgot about it as the weeks went by. When I got a letter in the post to say I had an interview, I was so proud and bursting with excitement. I promptly went out with my mates to celebrate; down the local woods or the park, I can't remember now. I drank my weight in White Lightning cider and smoked my fill of the cheapest cigarettes I could get. There were only 10 spaces on the scheme, so I did my prep. With my parents' help and aunty Ally, I somehow got it. The course lasted two years. In that time, I completed my NVQ levels 2 and 3 in nursing. I gained so much experience of the running of the hospital in the process but I was shocked at the same time. I'm not sure how many times I vomited in the sluice room, or nearly over patients, but let me tell you it was a lot! It was the awakening I needed in life. I had found my calling in nursing. The cadet scheme led me to do my nurse training and I spent the next 3 years as a male student nurse. Trying to shrug off and change the social stigma at the time that nursing was a job for women and not men. Fighting against the "norm" in my own crazy fashion (nothing I wasn't used too). But this didn't go to plan. As I was growing up, I spent a lot of my time going out to gigs and pubs, getting smashed, and trying to find a girlfriend - which lead me to neglect my studies and flunk uni. I did, however, meet my amazing wife during this time; forging a lasting relationship which still stands today. A person that has always been there for me, even though I'm not the easiest person to live with. A relationship which has given me two wonderful children in the process with my wonderful wife. I spent the next part of my career as a bank HCA (Health Care Assistant), working on multiple wards until 2008. I then took the plunge and went full-time, but it wasn't until 2016 that I got the opportunity to try again. I applied to start a foundation degree, to become an associate nurse practitioner. I then topped up my degree to a bachelor of science with honours. I even got a First, which wasn't an easy task, believe me - having a son under 5 with ADHD and autism, as well as expecting our second (my daughter) towards the end of my training! Meaning I had a lot of time off and had to make a lot of placement hours up, as well as the countless hours I spent studying. Again, this wouldn't have been possible without the support of my wife. She has been my rock over the years, even though I know I stressed her out and gave her grief in the process. Finally, I had made it. I got my pin number in February 2020. Wide eyed and ready to embark on my new role as an RN (Registered Nurse) for the first time - only to be flung into a global pandemic! Let's just say I don't do things by halves! This is the start to my nursing role and my introduction to a mad first year as an RN!