International Nurses’ Day: ‘Brilliant’ student nurse praised for outstanding performance

Categories: School of Health and Society

A student nurse from the University of Salford has been praised after an assessor recommended that she be recognised for her competence and dedication. 

Karolina Staniecka received the feedback after spending time on placement where multiple members of staff commented on her consistent high performance and commitment to going above and beyond for her patients.

But despite the praise, Karolina says she was never sure if she was ‘someone who could do nursing’. 

She says: “I was very shy at school and didn’t enjoy social interactions, especially not small talk with strangers. I wanted to pursue a career in science, but while at university I went for a part time healthcare assistant job in my local hospital, and I absolutely loved it. I had a revelation, as cheesy as it sounds, and just realised that I really wanted to be a nurse!”

Karolina asked for a transfer to adult nursing, and never looked back. She explains: “I love being on the frontline, directly caring for people, having the privilege to treat and watch them recover or be there to hold their hand and provide some comfort. Nursing brings good days and bad, but it is such a rewarding career.”

Studying at Salford was an easy choice for Karolina to make. “I knew that Salford was renowned for its nursing course, everyone recognised the white uniform with red trims! I had also met some Salford student nurses while working as a healthcare assistant, and only ever heard great feedback!”

Despite her passion for her course though and the wonderful feedback she has received, Karolina admits that at times it can be challenging. “I have to admit it is a rollercoaster of emotions at times! My biggest challenge was probably being on placement in a hospice, seeing death for the first time was really difficult. I was also going through a hard time personally as my great grandma passed away during my placement there. Having to walk back on to the ward and hold hands of people I barely knew in their last moments while dealing with that as well hit me very hard emotionally. 

“I surprised myself though at how well I coped, I used my feelings as motivation to be there for others, especially as this was during Covid-19 so visitors were not allowed. I felt that it was a privilege to be there for someone when their family couldn't be, so that they didn't pass alone. I left that placement feeling very grateful. I grew professionally and personally, improved my communication skills and strengthened my inner self.”

And Karolina has had many positive times too. She recalls: “My best moment would be receiving a little gift and card from a patient I cared for who had been through a traumatic experience and thanked me for my care and compassion. I was so overwhelmed with emotions when I read the card. Of course, we don't do it for the praise, or the recognition or gifts! But the appreciation shown, especially as a student nurse too, was so incredibly lovely. Knowing that I did something good, that I made a difference to someone's worst day, put a smile on their face and reassured them, definitely confirmed my reasons for going into nursing!”

Karolina says that as a student nurse there are opportunities to learn everywhere, whether practising clinical skills or making her patients a cup of tea and chatting to them about their lives. “I've heard so many interesting stories, got to know so many incredible people just by being their student nurse. Being on placements definitely allows you to explore and understand your community better, be exposed to so many different cultures, religions, backgrounds, and it's so fascinating.”

On this year’s theme for International Nurses' Day, #BestOfNursing, she says: “The best thing for me about nursing is the privilege of being there for someone on their worst days. Showing compassion, care, providing reassurance, cracking a few jokes to get a smile or even a little laugh. Making people feel a little better or more at ease, when their world is being turned upside down. I can't think of any other profession like it! 

“To anyone considering a career in nursing, I would say don't hesitate! Let your passion for care blossom. It is hard work, and you will need to prepare yourself for that, but I can genuinely say it is so enjoyable and rewarding at the same time. Research your universities, the structure of the courses, and the NMC requirements for student nurses. Understand the role and commitment you are making, and go for it! It's truly the best thing I ever did.”

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