From A Registered Nurse To A Student…

The first baby steps of A Stairway To Nurse’s Heaven were formatted and undertaken by a simple breath.

A single breath filled with weariness, fear, concern and a smidgen of determination.

It was in that single little moment after thinking, ‘what have I just done?’; I realised I’d just dedicated myself and life to a period of time which would be writing, editing and blogging.

Until said time came to a close when I hung up my online editing position as co-creator of A Stairway To Nurse’s Heaven and I put away my writing skills for another day.
When I started writing and blogging, my initial and original thought was the only person who would read my posts would be my mother, Lois.
Simply for the fact I was her daughter and it was a mother’s duty to inspire and empower her children because isn’t that what mothers are for?
Back seat drivers and supporters of stupid ideas, popsicle stick picture frame lovers and readers of all things blog related.
When I first uploaded Welcome…. Nurse Betty, I sat there and genuinely did not know how the wide world of social media and the internet worked.
It never occurred in those few moments after having posted and knowing there was no way in chance I could go back, people from around the world would click my name/link and start reading.
They would read to a point that when they left, they knew exactly how I felt while typing away steadily at my desk as I painted an image within their heads.
Never occurring to me I was about to paint a picture or portray hidden meanings behind cleverly crafted words in sentences.  Nor did it pass through my mind I’d have an Instagram, Google+ and Facebook account some nearly four year later dedicated to my personal and blogging life.
However, I am now wishing I had chosen two separate accounts for both my personal and private life.  

Especially when I had originally set up my Instagram account but like they say: ‘you learn from your mistakes’.
I sat there after accepting my placement at USQ, having thought of names and settling on one; that I wouldn’t be proudly sitting here with nearly 6000+ page views.
For those who think it is a lot of page views, I have to agree with you but like anything these days, it takes time and dedication to put out feelers, get people interested in wanting to know ‘what happens’ and write blogs.

However there are those who are sitting here saying, ‘that’s not a lot when I think about it’.

For that I completely agree with you as well but I consider those 6000+ views to be of pure dedication or curiosity.

People from various platforms of social media working in favor of me as I have updated and alerted my followers and readers.  Also it comes from having no ads or money from sponsors that have brought viewers.  Rather, it is from a mixture of hard work, forbidden topics and large amounts of coffee.
As a 22 year old wondering what in Lord’s name had I just done and had I ruined my social life (in one word: yes); it never occurred in future years I would get to meet, talk and inspire some pretty amazing people.
And in return be inspired, encouraged and empowered from others.
This post titled ‘From One Nurse To A Student Nurse’ is about one of those amazing and selfless people I have happened to talk too and be empowered.
This person is not only a Registered Nurse in some exotic location in Europe but is a fantastic photographer who I follow religiously on Instagram.
Lunch with a side serving of wisdom and knowledge..
When I decided I wasn’t going to write about Breast Cancer Awareness rather I was going to write about ‘Empowering‘ I started to send out emails, texts and messages.
Asking those who have held some important part in who I am today to tell me as a person, reader, viewer and friend what inspires and empowers them.
This in return started the evaluation of: Empower October.
Like any email, text or snail mail I get, I settle down in a comfort zone and find myself consuming words like they are butter to my freshly baked bread.
Within these words I was able to discover what empowers this person and in return, how they have empowered me.
A couple of weeks ago you asked me the question what does empowers me. To be honest so far this question never played an important part in my life and in the things I like to do or are obliged to do. LOL, maybe I’m a more simplistic person than I’m willing to admit.  Anyway, your question kept me busy for the past weeks and yes, I think I have an answer…
I’ll focus on my work and profession because I believe that is where we both share interests and points of view. Apart from all the good deeds and interventions we nurses are supposed to fulfill we also are committed to be prepared for the days we ourselves need help and support.
And who will we find on our bedside then? Enter the young and upcoming eager to learn the tricks of the trade unknowing but innocent nurse trainee or student.
Oh yes, even I was in that position then, some 35 years ago! In fact I hardly knew what was expected of me when I first entered the floor of Traumatology during our 3 months nursing prep education.  
But there was Patty and I’ll always be grateful the way she took me by the hand (‘though not literally) and introduced me to the team, the patients and how she helped through these first three days among patients recovering from more or less severe accidents, helped going through primary care work on real humans instead of dummies and she allowed us to take our time to feel comfortable. 

In all the years I worked in the Rotterdam university hospital we often met and we always at least shared a smile or exchanged a few words. I think my start in the profession couldn’t have been better. Patty’s genuine interest in our motivation and her personal approach may have laid the fundaments for the fact I still work in the biz with pleasure.
Surgery has always been my favorite specialty and I was lucky enough during my 4 year training on the job to work again on Traumatology with its hectic atmosphere and where the unexpected was always lingering around the corners. Fast forward 3 years (I was 24 then) and I was working and learning in my last training year on one of the surgery wards. The hospital had 5 or 6 surgery floors, each with its own specialty and this one focused on blood vessel related operations. 
Anyway, one lucky day Brigitte was introduced to me with the question if I was willing to help and guide her through a 3 weeks traineeship as a preparation for her training as what you call a ‘scrub nurse’, an operation assistant nurse.  Here it’s a separate 3 year education.
Hell yes was I willing to help Brigitte as she stand there with her long brown hair and ditto eyes and her 18 years of age. After a few days I already knew that I was working with what you can describe as a girl the nursing profession was waiting for. Although she set her first steps in nursing during this traineeship she acted as if she’d never done anything else. Brigitte had a joke and a smile for her patients, meanwhile maintaining a professional attitude some nurses never gain, not even after decades in the biz.
So after three weeks we had to make up our judgement and while discussing the mainly pro’s of her work we asked her why in heaven she had chosen to be an OR nurse while we were convinced here future was on our floors. Brigitte than told us that she certainly tried to apply for the training but that the people at the other end of the table were not convinced as we were but instead offered her the OR schooling.
Damn, up in smoke went our dreams of having the future of nursing within our mids. The head-nurse offered to contact the training institute to change their minds but Brigitte already had her mind and thoughts set on the OR.  In the rejection of Brigitte for the nursing school I did recognize my own experiences with application and selection procedures. My first attempt to enter the nursing profession was in a small hospital in Delft, not far from my hometown. 

After the talks and conversations I was informed, even recommended not to seek my career in nursing or healthcare in general!The same evening I called the Uni hospital in Rotterdam and was immediately invited for an application the next day. That next day after the talks I was called back by the training institute and was told I was welcome as a student nurse!

During all those years in that large hospital on 13 or 14 different wards including maternity and delivery rooms I never received bad figures and I dare to say I was almost always surrounded with enthusiast and engaged co-workers who were willing to support their future licensed colleagues.  What a pity for that little Delft hospital! 

How the hell did they miss my engagement and my enthusiasm? But in fact I didn’t pity at all for them. It learned me that you cannot judge a student nurse applicant from only one or two conversations. Put them on a ward in direct contact with all the patients and disciplines involved and than ask the co-workers to give their opinion.

Anyway, from Brigitte on I’ve always been guiding and supporting student nurses and nurse trainees. From my experiences in the fields of general and mental healthcare I teach them the tricks of the trade, in exchange they keep me alert and how to continue to pay attention to the basics. The basics of care are among the most interesting parts of the work but are often gradually lost in routine.
Currently we have a new ‘Brigitte’ on our floor. Her name is Christianne and she’s only 20 years old and this is her first traineeship. After one day working and discussing together I’m pretty sure Christianne belongs to the future of nursing. A professional attitude combined with youth, willing to learn, humor, criticism, ability to analyse and so forth. Hell, am I pleased to have her in our team for the next 20 weeks! And have the honour to be her tutor…


OK, long story short: what empowers me and keeps me going in my profession are the young people who have chosen to learn and perform this wonderful job, the moments we share our experiences. Those young upcoming professionals keep me aware of a shifting and changing world were the nursing profession develops with every new generation and never allows itself to stand still.

Hope this will answer your question.




When it came to finishing and signing off from Peter’s email, I sat there stumped.

I couldn’t understand why I had been left stumped and crying after reading Peter’s message for he had done everything I could have dreamt of.
On the context of going for a walk, I spent those moments out of the house pondering and wondering as to why Peter had managed to unlock some hidden part I hadn’t known existed.
It was only then after I came home, the answer suddenly hit me as to why I had been stumped and left in a daze.
The answer was Peter inspires me on a daily basis and empowers me on so many levels of which he doesn’t know about until now.
From the get go of sitting down at my rickety desk with my ancient laptop in front of me, he was one of the first many to leave a comment behind.
The comment had been posted on my very much outrageous blog about Euthanasia and my thoughts towards the subject were answered with Peter’s own.

I can honestly say I never felt berated for having voiced such thoughts of agreeing Euthanasia, particularly as a student nurse, should be given as an option for those who have a terminal illness.

I won’t list the word disease which would be correct and proper for the medical world but terminal diseases just sounds  morbid and less human.

Having received a message from Peter afterwards from a few more blogs, he has empowered me in moments and more than frequent times where I thought I could no longer continue writing.

He offered encouragement, thoughts and acceptance when I admitted more than a few times, ‘I have nothing to write’.

This in return made me sit down at a computer, switch off the brain from thinking and allow my fingers to start typing whatever they wanted.

Sure enough like any blogger would know, this is when some of our best and complete utter shit is created.

On the backs of knowing if we don’t uphold to our agreement of keeping you as a reader entertained, wanting to know more and wishing to continue coming back; we need to write.

As a result, Peter and many others have inspired me to continue writing and expressing my thoughts on both medical subjects that are considered taboo and should never be spoken of or written into words.

This empowerment has also spurred me on from breaking out of the comfort zone of ‘I am sleep deprived and I accidentally snipped off a rat’s dick’ to broaching subjects about life.

Trust me for when I posted that blog about sex, BDSM and porn at 10 o’clock; I didn’t sit there and think ‘I am totally going to be awesome’.

Rather, I sat there and worried about what some of my readers would think when they opened that link and saw it was discussing everything XXX and so much more.

All that was needed was my sexual fantasies and hey presto, would have been a go with closing down my blog.

But then as we already know and have guessed, I am a bit of a rule breaker in that regards and have not exactly toed ‘blogger etiquette 101’.

With that, I have to sincerely thank Peter.

For Peter has not only been a supporter/reader of my work but also has helped in some many times where I have run out of things to discuss.

For if it had not been his inquisitive messages stating, ‘when is the next post uploaded’ or ‘Dearest Scarlett, I sincerely enjoyed your last post…’; I don’t know if I would have continued.

Because when it comes to art of writing and uploading blogs, there is a moment where you get tired of it all and you wish it would cease.

There have been times where I have received a much needed and truly desired message from Peter, who has sparked that passion and reminded me as to why I originally started blogging in the first place.

It all started with a desire of putting finger tips to keys and writing my experiences as a nursing student, in the hopes of helping another student out.
Without Peter, I don’t know where I would be today as a person, student but blogger.
Because Peter, you’ve inspired and empowered me as a writer and a female writer at that.  

You have taught me many valuable lessons in regards to the nursing aspect of the medical field and how important it is to be a teacher for students, who have just stepped out on their first placement.

You have shown me what it takes when it comes to taking little doves under my wing and nurturing them the best of my ability.  Because by then, I would have forgotten what it would be like as a nursing student and having to realise how nursing students are exactly what we need.

A breath of fresh air.

For these students are in need of an incredible mentor who will not belittle or begrudge them if they get something wrong for the 12th time.  Rather they need, desire and require someone who is more than willing to explain things over if needed.  

While maintaining a professional distance as I allow their little dove wings to stretch, expand so when that gust of winds comes around; they can leave the nest without any fear.

You have taught me nurses, whether new or mature, need to keep in contact with what is new and improving within the medical field.


This can be done by reading new material being published, maintaining in contact with those who will continue to improve our desire for learning.  While making sure our professionalism is at its peak and at the end of day, we can raise our heads knowing we have helped those in need.

Peter, you are everything a patient and fellow nurse crave for in the industry.

You show a compassion that most do not possess and a willingness to be tender at touch.  Particularly when a student has no idea what is about to happen.  You show passion for where you are in life and for the nursing industry.


Not to mention, you have proven countless times when it comes to your patients; you respect them for who they are and not what their diagnosis or history states.

Finally Peter as the Aussie’s say down here in Down Under, South of the Hemisphere: You, Mate, are a bloody legend and little Aussie battler.


As a student nurse who is about to graduate next year, I pray that I find a nursing buddy who is great at mentoring me, who has more than enough kindness and patience.

Also I hope to make you proud when I take on my own students and teach them like you have done and will continue to do.

From the bottom of my heart, writing finger tips and the tips of my toes,


Love Forever,

~S xx
Note: All photos have been sourced with permission from

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