Andrea Monteserin Fraga - Nursing Student - San Rafael Nebrija University, Spain
Hello! I'm Andrea, a Spanish student nurse. I arrived here on January 22nd and I stay here until at the end of April. This is my last year as a student nurse!
In Spain we study for four years as a general nurse and then you can study a speciality for a further two years or more. It is very different in the UK because here you study three years in your chosen field, adult, mental health, learning disability and children’s nursing.
I have spent my first three weeks at the CTS (Central Treatment Suite) University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
I felt a little bit lost when I first arrived at the Hospital, but one of the nurses was so kind to explain to me how the unit works and all the details. I didn’t understand a lot, it was a new and totally unknown place for me and English is not my native language.
I’m really surprised regarding differences between how nurses work in Spain and how they work here in England.
I felt very happy in this place because they treated me very well. Next week I start in Paediatrics so I hope to learn and as much as I did in CTS.
Andrea Monteserin Fraga (February 2014)
In my second placement I spent four weeks on a paediatric placement.
When I arrived I was a little apprehensive because I had only worked a short while with children in Spain. When I arrived at the unit, the supervisor explained everything on logistics and how the paediatric unit works. She introduced me to the nurses who were there working that morning, and the result was great, I was considered part of the team in no time! The Nurses also confirmed that I could spend two weeks in day case and two others on the ward so I was so happy with the plan.
However, I was not feeling really comfortable with the uniform because nurses dress in blue and my uniform was white. I felt like ‘a real stranger’ and some people asked about the reason for wearing a different coloured uniform. It was clear that everybody was able to identify me and so I finally decided to ask my supervisor if I was allowed to replace my ‘white pyjama’ for a ‘blue one’.
At first, I didn't feel really useful because I was unable to communicate with the children, I did not know how to make them smile with a simple joke. English is my second language and sometimes it’s not easy for me. However, this experience is the best way to learn a new language, new culture and new way of working and I think that is a good way to grow both personally and professionally. We thought that we were not going to be able to cope with everything but myself and Ana are surviving as real champions.
I feel so happy in Paediatrics because the team has treated me very well. Next week I start in Critical Care, I am very nervous but hope to learn a lot.
Andrea Monteserin Fraga (March 2014)
In my last placement I spent three weeks at Critical Care. When I arrived there I was scared because I've never been at Critical Care before so its a new place for me. I was surprised because there were a lot of machines, I didn't like it because I prefer to speak with the patient.
Critical Care is not one of my favourite specialties, neither is it the one I like to study for in the future but I was really surprised about logistics, installations and how this unit works.
In my first day a group of nurses explained to us “Manual Handling”, I think that its very interesting in order to move the patients in the correct way. In Spain this work is done by the nurse’s assistants and “celador” (the man who carried the patients helps the nurse’s assistants). My nurse explained to me really important topics such as postural changes in order to prevent ulcers, washing and the hydration of the patients in order to keep them in a good condition.
In this unit I have bad and good days because I´m a really sensitive person and I try to be strong. I love my job and I know the pros and cons of this job but sometimes I feel bad because I could do nothing to improve some situations, so its sad. I don’t know if I will learn many new things in this unit but one of the things that I have to learn is to be a stronger person. I can easily get over these situations where I can see that there is a potential solution but it is difficult for me to get over other situations when you cannot help patients to improve or those situations when I see that the end is near.
This is a place where you find people connected to machines, they couldn’t live without those machines and when you look around to realize that you really need to appreciate all the things we have. This is really an experience that we will never forget. It has made us to improve not only our skills as nurses but also our personal values.
This has been my last placement because I qualify in June and I'm so happy with my time in England! It has been an unforgettable experience, I recommend it to everyone that can take it. I'm really happy with my time here and I think that it is a good experience for everyone. Maybe in the future I can come back here as a fully-fledged nurse.
Good luck everyone, study a lot! You are welcome to visit Madrid and Leon whenever you want!
Andrea Monteserin Fraga (April 2014)