Strange Advice From A NUM To New Grads
With a lot of nurses and midwives graduating recently, there’s all sorts of encouragement and motivational speeches that help these students on their way. One nurse tells a rather unique story of her final days on placement…
I had an interesting time whilst on placement that I’m sure a number of nurses and midwives can relate to. Everything was regimentally run, task were completed with precision and had a very old school feel if you know what I mean. Overall, it was a really good experience and I’m thankful for all those who taught me a great deal.
There was something a little odd about my NUM (nursing unit manager) though. For most of my placement she was never to be seen. It wasn’t until the end of my time at the hospital that I had an experience I won’t forget any time soon…
The NUM gathered all the graduating nurses and took us into the lunchroom, presumably to wish us well and hand out some nuggets of advice.
Then she locked the door. This is getting a little odd.
After starting with a few clichés about how hard we had worked and how sure she was about our future success, it took a sharp turn.
“Don’t take annual leave in your first year. You’ll get a reputation.”
I beg your pardon? Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning to backpack around Europe during my first year as an RN but I expected to be able to take some leave. Transitioning from full time study to full time work can be a shock for some.
“Don’t take sick leave either. It’s a huge pain for employers and there’s enough going wrong as it is without losing nurses to a ‘cold’.”
EXCUSE ME? Don’t take sick leave? What am I supposed to do, just cough and sneeze all over patients? This ‘pep talk’ isn’t exactly inspiring!
“Also, don’t join your union. All they ever do is attend rallies for refugees and give all your money to the Labor party. They claim to offer education but they don’t deliver, they claim to offer legal advice but don’t. Just not worth your time.”
Okay, woah. Where do I start? I know they don’t give money to political parties and aren’t affiliated to any. I’ve attended some of the education seminars myself and why wouldn’t they offer legal advice? Perhaps it’s important to remember the phrase, ‘You never know the value of a union till something goes wrong.’
And of course, I have no problem with the NSWNMA rallying for things like women’s rights, climate change, anti-privatisation and also refugees. God forbid my union cares about a number of issues.
This has to be one of the oddest things to happen to me during my placement. If any NUMs read this, please don’t be like this. I appreciate where you’re coming from in some respect but giving out polarising advice based on your personal opinions isn’t going to ‘scare us straight’ as you might hope.