I got a place at Birmingham City University (BCU) to do my training, starting in September 2018. I was told in my occupational health meeting that it was advisable to defer until the next year. So, I did. In March 2019, when I had just come out of hospital, I decided to withdraw my place. It then got to July and I was regretting that decision so I tried to get my offer back. Many emails and phone calls later, I was told I had to go through clearing, which meant having another interview. I thought I had it in the bag. Turns out I was wrong and got rejected. My only choice then was to apply for the next intake, which would’ve been September 2020, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I was never really stable for long enough to commit to it and when I was unwell, I didn’t want to do it at all. Nursing is a vocation and you have to be fully invested in it.
I think, as well, I was doing it for selfish reasons. I wanted to help other people to make me feel better. I thought that by becoming a nurse, I would pick up coping mechanisms and be able to relate to the people I was helping, to make me feel less alone. It didn’t help that I tended to perseverate on everything to do with mental health to the point where it completely consumed my life. Becoming a mental health nurse was just another addition to that.
Now that I’m out of the mental health bubble, I don’t regret my decision. It just wasn’t the right thing for me. I don’t think it will ever be the right thing for me and not just because of my mental health. It was never my dream, growing up, to become a nurse. I did have a phase when I was 12 where I wanted to become a psychiatrist, but that quickly dispersed. It was only becoming unwell as an adult that sparked my interest in mental health again. I would hate to have started my training, just to find out a few months down the line, that I didn’t want to do it anymore. Not only would I have used another year of student finance, I would’ve also taken a place on the course that someone more willing could’ve had.
Some people say everything happens for a reason. I don’t know if I believe that. All I know is that I’m not suited to nursing and I have a lot of admiration to anyone who is training or has qualified as a nurse, no matter what field. Whether you work for the NHS or a private company, keep up the good work!
You’re saving lives.