Florence Nightingale still inspiring students on International Nursing Day
International Nursing Day is celebrated every year on 12 May to honour the birth of Florence Nightingale on this day back in 1820. Florence is widely acknowledged as the matriarch of modern nursing who pioneered improvements in health care that saved hundreds of lives, and who turned her vocation into a respected, fully fledged profession.
Her journey to becoming an international nursing role model wasn’t easy but her intelligence, determination and self-confidence paved the way for her to become the first woman to receive the prestigious Order of Merit honour. Today, ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ still inspires thousands to follow her shining example. Like Florence, many people experience a ‘calling’ to become nurses including our students at Skills Training Australia. So, we caught up with some of our new recruits to find out what drew them to nursing.
Why did you want to study nursing?
Lisa: I’ve wanted to study nursing for years but put it off because of kids and work. But then my work situation changed and I realised I needed to do something else. My sister is a nurse and I was always so inspired by her stories. So, with lots of encouragement from my family, I finally took the plunge.
Georgia: After high school, I didn’t know what to do so I started working full time in childcare. However, after a few years, I realised that I wanted something more challenging. My mum is a nurse and she encouraged me to consider it as a career because it’s pretty flexible (which is good because I’ve got kids) and there’s so many areas you can specialise in. I’m really glad I listen to her because I’m loving the course.
Maxine: I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. In fact, I used to practice on my siblings! However, I felt I lacked the maths skills to apply for nursing so worked in childcare instead. It was only when a friend pushed me to get a maths tutor that I decided to give nursing a go. And I’m really glad that I faced my fears because I’m coping with the course content just fine.
Has studying nursing matched up to what you thought it would be like?
Lisa: I thought it was going to be much harder than it is. But I’m managing the workload because I’m motivated, organised and prioritising study in my life right now.
Georgia: I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought I would. It’s very intense and some of the subjects are really hard but everyone in the class really supports each other because we’re all in the same boat.
Maxime: I wasn’t prepared for the extra work at home! It’s more than what you go in expecting to do. I didn’t expect my lifestyle to change so much — my social life has kind of died [ha ha ha]. But that’s okay, it’s only two years and all my friends have been very understanding.
What’s been the most rewarding thing so far about the course?
Georgia: Getting through Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) was a big win for me because everyone said it was going to be really hard and I passed it! It was a really tough subject, especially for my classmates who hadn’t studied in a while. However, the way everyone banded together and helped each other through was quite amazing, and we’ve all become good friends because of the experience. If you can get through A & P, you can get through anything!
Maxine: Learning and achieving. It’s easy to be intimated by hard subjects but I’m really proud of myself for not letting them eat away my confidence. My advice to anyone doing this course who hasn’t studied for a while is to not put too much pressure on yourself, do your best and ask for help because your classmates and teachers will get you through.
What have you learned about yourself doing this course?
Lisa: That I’m actually able to retain information, even after three kids [ha ha ha]!
Georgia: That I’m able to achieve goals if I really set my mind to it. It’s also made me realise that I really want to be a nurse and further after I’ve finished my diploma.
Maxine: To believe in myself and not let fear get in the way of achieving my dreams.
What are you looking forward to most about working as a nurse?
Lisa: Being able to make a real difference to people’s lives every day is the main thing I’m looking forward to.
Georgia: I’m looking forward to walking in the door after a hard day in the office and being proud of what I’ve done.
Maxime: I used to work in a job just for the money and it wasn’t that rewarding to be honest. For me, I’m really looking forward to getting up in the mornings and applying my skills and knowledge in a profession I’m really passionate about.
What would be the one thing you’d want to change about the nursing sector if you could?
Lisa: I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience in the sector yet, but in an ideal world, I’d like to see a higher nurse to patient ratios so we can give more individualised care.
Georgia: Better pay. I don’t want to sound ungrateful but I don’t think the salaries of nurses really reflect the level of responsibility and the nature of the work we do. We have to work long hours, at times put up with abusive patients, high-stress situations and make life and death decisions so I think we should be rewarded accordingly.
If you’re inspired to become a nurse then get in touch to see how we can help you get the qualifications you need to make your mark in the healthcare world.