Transitioning from a Registered Nursing Associate to RN – what’s changed?
1 September 2023 | Bryony Fordham
I began my nursing journey when I applied to the Nursing Associate (NA) course back in 2017*. I was working in a mental health acute ward and looking to venture out into the world of nursing and see what was happening out there.
I graduated in 2019 after having the best experiences in different placement settings (mental health and physical) and knew what I wanted to do: District Nursing.
My placement in the district nursing team in Doddington in the fenlands opened my eyes to a whole new world. With the sense of community from the team and the patients, I was having flashbacks to episodes of Call the Midwife (although thankfully we now have cars, and I didn’t and still haven’t delivered a baby). I loved how different the role was to my then job of being on the ward and felt so passionately about achieving it.
As soon as my preceptorship was completed, I accepted a new job in the district nursing team. I had made it! It was so exciting to start afresh, in a new role, learning by the second. Soon enough I had signed off my competencies and was feeling confident in my role, so I applied to the Adult Nursing top-up course to make me a qualified adult nurse. It was scary but also felt exciting to look back on how far I had come already.
I was told to expect a gloomy and oppressive atmosphere, but what I was greeted with was brightness, smiling faces and a wonderful team. I learnt so much from the hospice, knowledge which will stay with me for my future palliative patients.Bryony Fordham
The top up course was different to the NA course, it had a feeling of achievement but with an undertone of anxiety and nerves. What was going to happen after this? Would my job role feel the same? Would I like this change? When my dissertation was submitted and everything was completed, only then would I focus on what lie ahead. I was going to be a registered adult nurse!
I had great support from my team when I came back after completing the course. I was able to settle into the role at my own pace and I didn’t feel rushed to start doing everything straight away. I was eased into the new shiny role of ‘Nurse Bryony’ and everyone was fully supportive.
So, what had changed for me?
Caring for people with end-of-life care needs was something I was never involved with as a nursing associate, but since choosing my management placement at a local hospice in Cambridge, I found a new passion for end-of-life care. Working in the hospice for 6 months, I felt as if I were part of their team. I loved the atmosphere in the hospice; it’s very different to what I was told to expect by family or colleagues. I was told to expect a gloomy and oppressive atmosphere, but what I was greeted with was brightness, smiling faces and a wonderful team. I learnt so much from the hospice, knowledge which will stay with me for my future palliative patients.
Since being back in the district nursing team, I have booked onto a pain management course for end-of-life care with the same hospice for my CPD. I’m now working towards getting my competencies signed off so I can care for palliative patients in the community.
I plan to continue to expand my horizons whilst working in the district nursing team and feel so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had since starting my journey.