A University of Wolverhampton student has been inspired by her experiences of training to become a nurse to write poetry about the “beautiful career”.
Jemma Bird, from Walsall, is now in her third year of a BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing degree.
Over the years the 34-year-old has captured her experiences in poetry, from the negativity sometimes portrayed in the media through to her own feelings of what a privilege it is to care for people.
Jemma describes her inspiration, with her poem ‘Just a Nurse’ below:
“As a third year nursing student with six months left until qualification, I sometimes struggle to believe I have come this far. It was my life-long ambition to work in a sector where my prime purpose is to help others and, with this dream materialising and getting ever closer, it is a decision I am always glad I made.
"However, the decision to pursue nursing wasn’t an easy one. As a 16-year-old impressionable girl, I spoke of my desire to become a nurse to be met with criticism and objection, mainly in the form of derogatory and disparaging comments of what people assumed about a nurse’s role. Years later the perception and attitude towards the nursing role still seems apparent today, often met with attitudes of hostility and negativity. With media headlines often criticising and showcasing the worst of nursing care and failing to address the many achievements that the nursing profession accomplish, it isn’t difficult to see why this view still exists.
"Now 34 years old, after caring for people for two and a half years whilst studying a bachelor of science nursing degree, I realise the view of nursing held by some could not be further from the truth. I have found nursing to be a beautiful career that not only helps others in so many different ways but helps shape the person undertaking the role into the person they become.
"During my years studying I have written poetry relating to my experiences along the way. The following is one I wrote during my first year and still reflects how I feel about the privilege of being able to care for people during their most vulnerable times.”
By Jemma Bird
Just a nurse was said to me.
Just a nurse when young and wee.
Figuring out who I should be,
Just a nurse? Was this for me?
Just a nurse, it’s what I thought.
Just a nurse, It’s what was taught.
Just a nurse? How very wrong I was.
Just a nurse?
I know they’re not.
And here’s because.
Feeding, cleaning, assessments and more.
Drugs rounds, washes
Blood on the floor.
Bandaging, swabs, IV drips and tea.
That 11 o’clock tea break is needed, believe me.
Sometimes if lucky ten minutes to drink.
Sometimes not even ten minutes to think.
Assignments, legislation, governance and law.
Anatomy, physiology, biochemistry to explore.
Information and exams, you don’t understand.
Yet you read and read, till it’s all second hand.
Catheters, bed pans, helping people change.
Emergencies, resus, helping people walk once again.
Theatres, x-rays, surgery and more,
Being with patients and waiting by that door.
Not because you have to,
Just because you care
When a patient asks you to stay with them
You stay with them and share.
Their feelings of grief and worry and fear
When they have no one else but you that’s here.
You become their friend for part of that day
Someone to keep their worries at bay.
Holding hands and wiping tears.
Sharing good news and fighting back fears.
Hugs for patients who need them most,
Laughter, smiles and inside jokes.
And if you lose your family,
We feel that too.
We really want the best for them
And the best for you.
Playing cards with the elderly man
Who thinks you’re his wife,
His wife who’s no longer part of this life.
And all you can do is play along and smile
Hoping that somehow you make him happy for a while.
Nurses are pushed, prodded and pulled
Yet they don’t complain and carry on in their role.
Up at five and home at nine,
And all this is taken in their stride.
Just a nurse?........
I’m a nurse with pride.