Nursing is a family

Today I had a really brilliant experience. I’m currently working as a locum community psychiatric nurse as part of the NHS team close to my home. It’s a trust I worked for before. In fact I spent several years as a permanent staff member on the wards and in the community early in my career. That’s the background to this story.

Back in 1999 I was working as an E grade staff nurse (remember those?) on a psychiatric acute ward. At that time we had a fresh-faced 18 year old student who clearly had potential. In fact she was one of those students whom you just ‘know’ will go far. She had ‘talent’.


But she had an issue to resolve. I won’t go into details except to say that I worried that (through no fault of her own) she may become disillusioned and abandon her training. I did what I could to help but I couldn’t be sure that it was enough – though I certainly did my best. You see nursing is a family and like all families we really should look after our young.


Eventually she moved on from the ward as all students must. Nurse training involves many clinical placements. She went to another ward and I never saw here again. Until….

Today, 15 years later, I had occasion to request help from another nursing team. I needed a specialist. Guess who that specialist was….

The slightly hesitant 18 year old student is now a confident, competent and compassionate professional. Far from losing heart and leaving this wonderful profession she has blossomed into the fine mental health nurse we all knew she could become. I know this because I got to see her work first hand.

And best of all – she had a student of her own in tow.

The nursing family works best when we look after our young.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s