It's been a milestone week with a Pleasing that I couldn't ever have envisaged happening, or being content with, even just a few months ago.
Every year, since I passed my nursing finals back in July 1976, I have had to retain my registration and declare my intention and competency to practice with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
That first registration was a memorable one...
The summer of 1976, the heat and an astronomical pollen count made revising for finals and sitting exams in central London pure torture. I had discovered a stack of medical revision workbooks in Foyles and invested in them months earlier because they talked you through every anatomical system...neurology, renal, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiac etc etc. Common enough now but less so back then, so I had made a plan and allocated one system per week, taking the book everywhere with me, because unlike degree training now, we were still working long shifts and expected to revise when off-duty. I invented ridiculous mnemonics to try and remember things, adding in the obligatory "On Old Olympus Towering Top A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops" for the cranial nerves... Olfactory, Optic...er...um ...anyway, moving on, my head must have been a mish mash of rubbish by the time I turned the paper over.
In a week when hospitals, nurses and failing standards of care in the NHS are under scrutiny yet again, it seemed interesting to note that, back in the days of old-fashioned nursing exams, the marking was heavily weighted towards the nursing care elements of the question. I have no idea what student nurses are asked these days, but we certainly knew where the priorities lay... with the patient in the bed and their total nursing care, which included care of the family.
Over the page I see I answered the following question too...
'What could you teach a junior colleague about the information the nurse may obtain from the inspection and examination of :-
We were a mine of information on all things voided, excreted and expelled though I'm not sure nurses have to do that any more.
I was on night duty when the exam results were due, the nights so hot we were feeding babies out on the balconies of the hospital, and I can remember doing the hand-over report to the day staff and feeling as sick as a dog as I walked back from Great Ormond Street into the Nurses' Home at 27 Bernard Street, opposite the Brunswick Centre and along from Russell Square tube station.
Nervous wreck doesn't quite cover it.
I was getting married on September 11th and moving to Plymouth with Bookhound come what may. He was going to art college and I was going to train as a midwife at Freedom Fields hospital, a re-sit was unthinkable... in the end so was midwifery training, but that's another story.
We all knew that when you cast eyes on the post you absolutely wanted to see a THICK envelope, and definitely not a THIN one. Thick meant all the relevant paperwork for the registration to be returned, thin meant a 'sorry you have failed' letter, but the exact consistency of 'thick' had plagued us all for weeks in the run up. How would we know. As I walked in the doorway there they were on the table, a mixed and very obvious pile of 'thicks' and a few 'thins' waiting to be opened, and various people in states of elation or despair who already knew their fate.
Thick was mine and never was I so glad to read this...
So the registration paperwork arrived a few weeks ago with dire warnings that if not returned with the annual £100 retention fee ( a 33% increase on last year, and £17 back in the day) I would be in breach of my registration, and lapsed and it would be illegal to work in the UK and I would probably be smacked or something.
I had already made the decision back in January this year, but there's no telling what might happen when the paperwork arrives...oh maybe just one more year...just in case. In the end I rang the NMC on July 15th (for the first time ever) and said goodbye, farewell, cheerio, completed the Intention to Lapse paperwork ... Reason : Retirement (tick) and that's that, and I honestly don't feel a hint of regret or sadness because, after thirty-seven years, the time is exactly right.
So farewell my lovely SRN (now RGN) RSCN (Registered Sick Children's Nurse) RHV (Registered Health Visitor) letters, we have been together a long time and you have served me well, a very big Pleasing throughout my working life, one that has opened some amazing doors and from which I have learned so much about life, about people, and about myself. So I am now finally free from the constraints of professional registration and that feels good ... and even better I have £100 to spend on some lovely roses...another big Pleasing.
I have found a Great Ormond Street rose so that's going in first..
Then something nice and pink to match the colour of my uniform...
Maybe there's a Florence Nightingale rose??
Any other suggestions??
And now your Pleasings too, you must all have some...