Student Nurse Daunted but Excited as she Prepares to Join NHS Frontline

Abbie Turner

Abbie Turner, who is in the third year of her Adult Nursing degree, has opted to do an extended clinical placement to play her part in the fight against coronavirus. 

“It is very daunting, but I’m excited in a way,” said Abbie, of Weoley Castle, Birmingham.  “I know this is going to be a huge learning opportunity for me.  I’m thinking about it a lot, but I know I’ve made the right decision.  I want to get out there and help and I want to embrace it as much as I can.”

The 22-year-old is waiting to hear where and when she will be working on a six-month paid placement.  She has requested to work at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“I have spoken to those on the unit I have opted into and they’re ready for us and will support us,” said the former Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School student.  “I’m as prepared as I could be.”

Abbie said much of her recent training had been focused on coronavirus and treating patients with Covid-19. With the health authority advice changing rapidly, Abbie said lecturers had been “incredible”, keeping them up to speed on the latest guidance, while checking they were okay. 

She said her recent experiences had really given her a sense of how people value the NHS, particularly during the current crisis.  “People are grateful to us,” she said.  “I have had a patient cry and say ‘thank you so much’, but I don’t expect it.  It’s my job and I went into it for a reason.” 

She recalled another incident while queuing in the supermarket.  “I had been at work and my uniform was in my bag and this elderly lady said ‘thank you for everything you are doing’,” said Abbie.  “I was really touched; I didn’t think she was talking to me at first.  Then people were letting me go in front of them in the queue.  The last few weeks have been emotional for me and for all healthcare professionals in general.  People are starting to realise how hard we work and how the NHS isn’t getting enough funding.”

Abbie said she had wanted to be a nurse from the age of seven after being in and out of hospital in her childhood due to her epilepsy.  “When you have been surrounded by it all your life you can’t imagine yourself doing anything different,” said Abbie, who chose Worcester after hearing about its reputation for outstanding healthcare education. 

“It’s caring for people. It’s the adrenaline as well.  When I did a placement in A & E, you didn’t know what was going to come through the doors.  You do get your days when you’re deflated, and you need a day off, but other days when you think how much of a fun day I have had.  Also it’s the thrill of seeing someone recover as well.  If you don’t have that thrill of helping people you shouldn’t really be in the field to be honest.”