Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them. In episode twenty four we meet Nursing graduate Matthieu.
Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 0:07
This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season one, class of 2020.
So my name is Matthew Stephan or Matthieu in French. I'm originally from Geneva in Switzerland. Living in Edinburgh just now I've just graduated last summer, my bachelor's in nursing. And I've just started my first post as a newly qualified nurse at the intensive care unit, at the Western General just right after graduating, and I'm also doing the advanced nurse masters at Edinburgh University too. And that's one year full time. So I'm just getting all that done now and, and just doing my job part time alongside the studies. So it's a busy year, but I'm managing so far. So it's almost easier to just carry on bash on and get it over and done with. Because I think the thing is with nursing and maybe some other disciplines is that you can graduate get go straight into a job. And then a lot of people say to themselves, so I'll do a Master's later on, or go back to university after so many years. But it can be difficult to do that sometimes, because then your life circumstances change. If you've had a gap, not being in education, or you've got kids or a house and a lot more responsibilities, it's a lot more difficult to do that. So I think that is also just a motivation of mine was to just keep on going and just go and get it into it's in my pocket, no one can take it away from me. And then that's it done.
With our the bachelors of nursing itself, it's 50%, theoretical and 50% practical. So it's all I've known over the past four years and my undergrad of having both practical work and my university work. But now the only difference is that my practical work is that I'm a qualified nurse, and it's paid as well. It's my job, and my studies is separate from that. And that's in some ways where COVID has made it maybe a bit easier, because all the university stuff is online. So I can watch my lectures in my own in my own time, so not when I'm at work. And I'll never have to miss classes and things like this. So it's scheduling wise, it's actually made it a lot easier.
It's such a jump to go from student nurse, even season final year student nurse, to first year newly qualified nurse because it's almost like you're right back at the beginning. And I think when you're in your last year of nursing as a student nurse, you feel you, you know so much, you have all this experience, and you're enjoying it and then you start your first post and you've got all that all that responsibility. And all that kind of pressure almost kind of hits you. Because now you're no longer a student, you no longer have that, um, even a uniform as students, we wear a grey uniform and it's quite easy to kind of hide behind that. And just, I'm a student, you know, that's not got any responsibility. But as a nurse, it's very different. And so I think stepping into that role, in the beginning felt super scary and overwhelming. And I think you find yourself that you're kind of right back at the beginning and you tell yourself, oh, I don't know anything, I forgot things. And I think it's a bit of imposter syndrome that you have, in the beginning,maybe, I definitely had. And I also think that in the first four months, I feel like I've learned so much as in those first four months as a newly qualified nurse, not more than I had for the four years as a student nurse, but just because of the practice you're getting and the exposure, it's you you just take in so much.
I think it was just this time last year when all the kind of lockdown stuff started. And our university told us that now we're going, you're going to go into paid employment, and we're going to be taking on positions as student nurses in the front line. And they were saying that if we didn't, if we opted out, so if we chose not to do it, it would delay our registration and our graduation. Some people in my year kind of took that as a "We're being shafted". That's a word that a lot of people used. And I think they kind of not looked at negatively in that way. But you know, it's so strange, because at this time whilst so many people were losing their jobs and those unemployment levels going sky high, and we were given jobs, well-paid jobs, full time hours. And so many of my friends who graduated last year are still applying for jobs. And just every every time they said something, they just get rejected. So I consider myself I think we consider ourselves in our cohort, really actually lucky, which is strange to think of in that way. And as healthcare workers, we don't we can't work from home. We've seen lots people in this nation working from home, and that has its own kind of struggles and everything. But we've we've had the luxury of actually still being able to go into work and have that social contact as well. You hear people saying 2020 has been like a terrible really terrible year and it has for so many people. But I've maybe not felt that it's been a bad year in the same way that a lot of people have.
My first post is in intensive care. And so I think we've obviously been affected by lots of really sick patients with COVID-19. And then I've seen the worst that this illness can do to people. I've seen people being on ventilators for, for months and months on end, a lot of people dying. And the thing is, a lot of these people, I think, in the first wave were a lot older were above 60, 70, or they had lots of secondary health conditions. What we have seen with the second wave is that people, the patients are a lot younger, we're getting people into their 40s and 50s, without underlying health conditions. I think that's that's the kind of that was the frightening thing, I think. I think if people were to go do a shift in intensive care, or to see how sick some of these patients are from this disease, they would be taking it a lot more seriously in terms of keeping to the restrictions, to the guidelines, not breaking the rules. And I'm just feeling I'm really hopeful with these vaccines, I think the way that this country has been able to deliver them at such a speed, I think it's been so incredible. And I think that's that really is our ticket out. So I'm really, I'm really hopeful that in a few months, we can ease out of this lockdown slowly and gradually, which I think is sensible. And then hopefully we don't have to go back into lockdown.
Everyone keeps on saying even the nurses that have been qualified 10, 20 years have said they've never seen anything like this. It is a bit overwhelming to be starting my nursing career in the middle of this. Because I came to nursing quite late, I didn't realise I was going to be a nurse until maybe a year before I was applying for it at university with a lot of people maybe my course had would say that they've always wanted to be nurses, since they were younger, but it only occurred to me when I was 17, 18. And I think maybe in the beginning, I had a little bit of just a few doubts of you know, is this really the career for me, am I quite sure of what I'm taking on? But I think now when we see how, how just important and how needed nurses are nurses, doctors any healthcare professionals are it really I think that's really added to my sense of year of commitment for it.
Yeah, I think I saw it was a few weeks ago, I saw that nursing applications for undergrad undergraduate programmes were up by like 30% compared to last year. And I think that just speaks volumes in itself. I think the public is aware more than ever, just how needed nurse nurses are I think there's something like 40 or 50,000 nursing vacancies across the whole country, which is terrifying because what you have in the nursing profession is a lot of nurses - I don't know the exact statistics - but a lot of them are in the next five or 10 years, will be retiring. We're an old kind of profession, we need to be training more nurses, we need more people interested. Nursing is such a rewarding career. And there are so many different areas, you could work so many places you can take it. And so to anyone maybe that is listening to this, if you've ever thought to yourself, you know, I want to become a nurse Well, I just think you should do it and consider it and just, there's something in it for everyone. I love my job. And I want the same people to feel about their work and their job, the way that I feel about mine and to go into work and to know that you're making a difference.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 8:30
We also ask our graduates to share a place somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this has finished.
So I've really thought about this a lot. And I think first originally I was going to say The Hague in the Netherlands, the city where I lived before living here in Edinburgh, because my family's still there. And I think with the past few years, it's the place that I considered to be home. But I think since the pandemic I've obviously not been home now in a long time and I've not seen my family since I think Christmas 2019. And I've literally just been in Edinburgh for the past 14 months, I think I've left I left once to go down to London to settle my brother in at uni. But apart from that I've just not left Edinburgh at all. And actually, I think that's made me see Edinburgh in a whole new light because..... so this time last year when it all kind of started, a lot of my friends were going back home were leaving Edinburgh and to stay with their parents and because that wasn't quite an option for me because of work. So I think I've now come to the point where it's Edinburgh is my home. No, it isn't no longer the Hague anymore. And yeah, I now live here I have my job here. If I'd have just graduated normally if it was a normal year, maybe I'd move to another city to Glasgow to London or.... I didn't really know that I would definitely stay here but now I think having been here a year after graduating, I think I'm definitely glad to have stayed here, to have stayed in Edinburgh and Edinburgh really is my home.
Sonia Mullineux (host) 9:59
Thank you for listening Join us next time for another graduate and another story
Kirsten Roche 10:12
You're not on your own when it comes to planning for your future. Your University of Edinburgh community is here to support you. And this includes ongoing support for graduates from the Careers Service. Why not take a look at our website to find out more about how we can support you get the future you want. Go to ed.ac.uk/careers to get started
Transcribed by https://otter.ai