Speaking to Student Nurses on their first day……..

Yesterday I was at York University to say hello to the new student nurses as part of their Welcome Day.

My daughter Sarah was in their very shoes a few years ago – she qualified from here as a nurse last year. When Sarah was going through her training, we were so shocked at how little training she had on dementia that I made friends with the lecturers and it’s because of that friendship that these students are streaks ahead of many nurse training courses as they have more training on dementia than ever before. So this is my second year of being part of the course.

Sarah drove me their and we’d only been in reception a couple of minutes when Rob, one of the lecturers, came out to meet us. His face was beaming as he knew he’d earned his Gold star by also having a cuppa tea in hand – perfect start.

We chatted for a while about his new found family friend – a fabulous springer spaniel. We almost got carried away looking at the photos and forgot why we were there!. Someone else came out to find us and said they were waiting for us………🙄

We walked into the lecture theatre to be met by 196 fresh new, eager nurse students.
I love working with students, especially for their enthusiasm, lack of baggage and eagerness to learn. They really can make a difference to the future as to how people with dementia are treated in a clinical setting.

Rob introduced me but had forgotten to put the picture up on the screen of me and my daughters so I immediately gave him a C for his first assignment, much to the delight of the students……..

Today’s talk was a brief introduction to my world and I described what it’s like for me living with dementia. I spoke of misconceptions and for them never to judge people:

“You know I have dementia – it’s not a physical disability so I don’t look any different from all of you – except a lot more grey hairs and wrinkles. We often call it the invisible disability. People with dementia are often thought of as taking up beds solely on the elderly wards but we rarely get admitted because of our dementia so we could be on any ward or in any department.

And I ended by asking them to imagine…..:

“Finally – put yourself in my shoes for a moment……imagine yourselves watching your most favouratist movie in the world……….the one you can watch over and over again………the difference is, you can remember what happens………I can watch my favourite film over and over again but can never remember the ending……it likes watching a new film time and time again…….”
I usually use watching Great British Bake off as an example but wasn’t sure whether they’d be fans like me………🙄

They all seemed very attentive and were warm and enthusiastic with their applause. I’m really looking forward to seeing them all again in November for a more in depth talk and discussion……..
A wonderful morning……..

The image of me and Rob is dark due to the screen behind - he said it was probably better that way! I didn't want to frighten the students by asking them to be in a photo with me.........next time though.....😊
The image of me and Rob is dark due to the screen behind – he said it was probably better that way!
I didn’t want to frighten the students by asking them to be in a photo with me………next time though…..😊

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

7 thoughts on “Speaking to Student Nurses on their first day……..

  1. Another winner, Wendy. Some of us with dementia but still in active touch with a university or two, have been asking our (mostly medical) colleagues what a Dementia-Friendly University Friendly University would look like.

    York University has done great work on disability but no one seems to realise that dementia is a disability like any other.

    So an Honorary Doctorate for Wendy Mitchell and a seat at the Governing Body (with access to cuppas) and a Mitchell Fellowship to make recommendations on what it would take to create a Dementia Friendly University, with you as a paid consultant

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And to think that after 3 years of becoming a qualified nurse some of them are enticed by the money on offer to get people off benefits. Some nurses are trying to work for the assessment company’s as soon as they get 3 years experience are trying to get jobs with the likes of Maximus, Capita or Atos, Some soon learn their mistake while others go over to the dark side. Little do they know that writing a report that reflects what they see and hear may get the report sent back to them and they are told to alter it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! I love this! There is so little about dementia in the education of any health professional, yet hospital wards are always playing host to a large number of people with dementia. It should be there on day one. Well done York Uni, and well done Wendy – you are amazing! x x

    Liked by 1 person

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