Andrea Prieto Pena - Nursing Student - San Rafael Nebrija University, Spain

Andrea Prieto Pena - Nursing Student - San Rafael Nebrija University, Spain

Hello! I'm Andrea, a Spanish student nurse. I am in my fourth and last year as a student nurse! I arrived here on January and I stayed here until at the end of April 2015. I came on an Erasmus programme.

From the first moment I didn’t hesitate to coming to the UK because this country is where nursing began, and additionally I could improve my English. 

I arrived on January 21st and on Monday 26th I began my training at CTS (Central Treatment Suite). I was nervous. Different language, different procedures ... but the staff who worked there helped me a lot. They took cared for me and they were very attentive and helped me improve my skills and to learn the most I could. They managed to make me feel comfortable with them. ‌

I spent three weeks at CTS and then I went to a Childrens’ ward (217).

They usually do long-day-shifts of 13 hours and a half... for me that was too much ... In Spain the shifts are 7 hours except the nights that are 10 hours. But I was optimistic and thought ... If  they can do it surely I can...? I was there for four weeks. It was very tiring working so many hours and consecutive days. But the children on this ward made me feel so happy and transmitted to me the energy to endure three days a week working with them!

Children are special... They have the facility to convey happiness. Children are very strong, they fight every day against their disease and they teach through their smiles and words that every effort has its reward. In addition, there is the added the help and support from their parents: They were also fighters and optimistic.

And my last placement was in Critical Care where I spent four weeks. Also doing long-days-shifts. I was scared. Each patient had many machines around. Alarms machines beeping all the time...

What caught my attention was that this ward every nurse supports one patient. Important issues were infection control as I think that is very important to avoid infections between one patient and other. Good “Manual Handling” techniques were very useful in this kind of placement because the patients could not move by themselves so needed nurses to help them to avoid developing pressure ulcers and keep their skin in good condition.

Here the most important thing that I’ve learnt has been to be a stronger person. In this ward, people are in very critical state, you see people who die and people who improve.

I’ve also learnt the importance of the family support for the patient. They are the ones who make the patients improve because although the patients are sedated (most of them) they can hear, and they recognize the voices that are talking to them. That’s why it’s also important to talk with them at each handover, and introduce yourself, telling them where they are, what the date  is… to create an atmosphere of trust and help to orientate patients to prevent psychological disorientation.

Thank you very much to Dawn Moss and all the Critical Care staff for these weeks! It is time now to go back home and qualify. I have learnt a lot and most importantly, I have grown personally and professionally.  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.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been looking after me here, thank you to the School of Nursing & Midwifery for this opportunity.

Top 10 in Nursing for The Complete University Guide 2020 Student Nursing Times Awards 2019 finalist Bronze Athena Swan Award