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Another Brick in the Wall

August 3, 2015

A guest blog by Florian Nightingale

So, almost twelve months have passed since I first pulled on my blues and started grafting. It’s been an entertaining (for which read tumultuous) year. I’ve learned a lot and have developed beyond what I ever thought possible, both as a nurse and a person. I will echo some thoughts I had in an earlier blog for Grumbling Appendix: the year has been a bitter sweet one. For this, there are many reasons – I’ll talk more about them in a while.

This first year has been one hell of an experience. It has tested my strength as a person and my desire to stick to my standards and values as a professional. To maintain those standards, and to take myself to exactly where I want to be as a nurse, I’ve had to push myself through a variety of challenges to my motivation. More importantly, I’ve had to make the seemingly simple – but in reality very hard – decision to stick to what I believe nursing to be, and not give in to those other, more anachronistic, voices that I don’t agree with. That has taken considerable moral courage on my part and in some ways on the part of those I know who are of a similar mindset to me.

Those negatives aside, this year has indeed taught me a lot. It most certainly has set me up well for my new job which I start next week. The biggest lessons it has taught me are as follows:

If not me then who?;

Reinforcing my personal integrity to ensure things get done;

A vast amount about the conditions I treat;

We eat our own. We are our own worst enemies.

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned, and the one that will stay with me more than anything else, is my desire to stick to what I see nursing being. Maintaining my drive over years to come is going to be tricky, and I am considering where I could go if and when I start to get fed up with nursing. This is as a direct result of the final lesion that this year has taught me – and it is an exceptionally sad observation to make of nursing in 2015.

We are our own worst enemies. The least progressive profession and the owners of the most entrenched mindsets. These are holding nursing back from all it can be. From my place in the vanguard of a new generation, I have the opportunity to counter this and ensure that there is a decent atmosphere for nurses of the future. However, I doubt that all the people I trained with are as obstinate and driven as I am. A sad note but probably a prophetic one.

All in all, lots of lessons learned. Not all of them pleasant or enjoyable, but beneficial nonetheless. I move to a new post next week. In some ways this year has set me up well for it. I won’t know how good I am until I get there. There is some trepidation but for the most part I am happy to be moving on. This is for a variety of reasons, foremost among them because it’s what I really want to do and somewhere I can see my career going because I can find my own path, or at least the idealist within me thinks I can.

I leave you probably in a similar place to where I am. Not quite sure about where I’m going, how I feel about it, or, sadly, how much longer I’ll be in nursing for. Good night and good luck! All in all, it was just bricks in the wall.

  1. Hey Florian!

    Interesting blog. Disappointing in some ways, but very encouraging in another. You have the balls (if I may say that) to keep on doing what you believe in and what you know is right. That’s one of your graduate skills – confidence and confidence in your knowledge.

    What you have experienced will happen over and over again – but instead of feeling downcast you will start to feel pity for those who are so entrenched in their views, so shortsighted, so self-interested. And you will swat their views away like so many irritating flies. You clearly understand what it is to be a professional – working at the full extent of your knowledge and competence and openly expecting others to do the same. Keep on doing it. As more and more graduates enter the workforce the tipping point will come – it will take a few years, but it WILL come. And you will have been in the vanguard of that change.

    Good luck in your new job. Keep your expectations high.


  2. Florian Nightingale permalink

    Dear June,

    Thanks for your support. Thankfully I’m of a nature where I am just fantastically stubborn. Donkeys and I have something in common it would seem. I already pity those people who are so deeply entrenched. Thankfully they will be gone soon, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts for GA more needs to be done at university to help students do as I have. All I have learned in things such as what is classically deemed to be more advanced skills has been of my own accord.
    The main issue I have is that these people are my management at this time. Some will be gone soon. It many more have a lot longer left to run. However there will always be Luddites. One example I can cite is me carrying my stethoscope. A good paramedic friend made a very valid point, it is a tool of the trade, you wouldn’t see a mechanic without a spanner. Sadly the attitudes to what nurses should or shouldn’t be are going to take a lot more than just a few grumpy sods like me to change.

    All the best and thanks again,


  3. Biggest issue is that we keep trying to pin down what nursing is or isn’t. It’s anything that we choose to do. It has no boundaries and no limits other than knowledge and competence. One chooses the kind of nurse one wants to be.
    Stay happy and keep moving.

  4. lesley58 permalink

    There are some very good nurses who aren’t graduates!

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