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Staff nurse Paula Povey explains the transition from nursing student to nurse, and the changes she has implemented on the ward.
The transition from student to staff nurse happens virtually overnight. My personal responsibility and accountability seemed to increase a hundredfold in a matter of hours.
As a student, I could always fall back on 'I will just go and ask the nurse in charge of your care'. As a registered nurse, I am that nurse in charge. I need to know all about my patients and I am accountable for their care. Moreover, on a busy surgical ward, I have to look calm and organised so that patients and colleagues see me as approachable and capable.
Perhaps this is what is meant by the art of nursing. In the first few months of my preceptorship, I have realised that the pace of change in health care is relentless. There is a constant drive for improvement in the face of growing cost constraints.
I am aware of being part of a larger multidisciplinary team. Its sole objective is to ensure that the patient is cared for as sensitively as possible and it is constantly searching for new ways to achieve this. As a qualified nurse, I am no longer an observer of this process, but an integral part.
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