INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY CASE STUDY: CHARLOTTE CRELLIN

“My nursing career story doesn’t start off so great, so bear with me. It does get better.  

I never wanted to be a nurse. I was never one of those children who used to play nurse or say I was going to be a nurse when I grew up. My sole ambition was to be Kylie Minogue and sing on Top of the Pops. I plodded along through school not really knowing what I wanted to be. When I finished high school, I still didn’t know. It wasn’t until I was about 25 that I really knew what I wanted to be in life: A nurse.  ‌

My dad was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012 and sadly passed away in 2013. Throughout his illness my mum and I cared for him. I took him to all of his appointments and saw the differing levels of commitment and compassion he received from various health care professionals. On one occasion, we encountered a less than passionate nurse and I felt that I could do better. I could become the nurse that cared and would be there for my patients and their families and not just treat them like one patient in a long line of others waiting to be seen. I said to my mum and dad one day, “I’m going to be a nurse”.  

I applied to the University of Wolverhampton and was accepted onto the adult nursing course. I started my training in 2013 and qualified in January of this year. I thoroughly enjoyed my training and have made some lifelong friends along the way. Alongside my training, I learnt so much about myself; I am incredibly strong and resilient. The support and guidance I received from my tutors helped me no end. My training was a rocky road with my dad passing away and then being in a car accident. There was a time when I wanted to leave the course, however I persevered and made it through.  

The knowledge and strength that I acquired along the way helped me decide what kind of nurse I wanted to be. I didn’t take the normal route most newly qualified nurses take and go to work in a hospital - I made the decision to become a practice nurse and work in a GP surgery. The decision to become a practice nurse was easier than finding the job. Practice nurse jobs are few and far between, but I was offered a job at a GP surgery in Rugeley and started in February.  

My job is incredible. I am in such a privileged position in that I am there for people from birth until they die. I’m learning all the things needed to be a fully-fledged practice nurse and have been able to build on the knowledge I already have. I’ve got that blue uniform that you work hard to get, and it feels great once you’re wearing it. I have a name badge that says NURSE!

My nursing degree gave me such a good grounding of knowledge in all areas and I’ve been able to build on this knowledge. All that revision for my viva that escaped my brain on exam day is stored away somewhere in my head and I use it every day. The things I learnt on all my different placements have helped me when talking to patients who are maybe going somewhere for a procedure that I’ve seen and can reassure that person that it isn’t as bad as they are thinking.

One big thing I learnt in university was Making Every Contact Count. We were told that we carry out health promotion all the time and at every opportunity we get. In general practice, I carry out health promotion all the time. So much so that I’m probably seen as mean. I’m the nurse that tells you off for your cholesterol being too high. The nurse that tells you to stop smoking, that you need to cut down on your drinking and exercise more and lose weight. On the other hand, I’m the nurse that can help you live your life a little better. The nurse that congratulates you on your weight loss. The vampire that takes your blood. The nurse that supports and cares for you.  

Ultimately, I have learnt that I am a little bit like Kylie Minogue. I mean, I can’t wear tiny gold hot pants and I can’t sing for toffee, but I am someone that someone else looks up to. I am someone that can inspire others. I am a nurse.”

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