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A website for young nurses and the young at heart in Aotearoa

New Graduate Nurse

Leigh Elton (RN, BHSc Nursing)

My name is Leigh Elton, I am just coming up to completing my first year as a registered nurse at Starship Children’s Emergency. I was lucky enough to score my dream job when I graduated last year and have thrived in this fast pace environment. I work with an incredible team, who have supported me in my learning over this year.

I studied at AUT University, after traveling when I left high school. I had never been a very academic student at school, but having once decided on a career I was able to excel under the lecturers at university. Studying to be a nurse had a range of challenges and we were told when we started that at the end of three years we would come out as different people. Having come to the end I think they are right, unlike other degrees, I think nursing forces you to learn about yourself and your own morals, as well as society that we live in. The best advice I would give for anyone studying is to get a great group of friends when you start to help take you through the next three years.

The transition to becoming a registered nurse from a student has been interesting and not as I expected. The year has been a bit of a rollercoaster and I think most new graduates would agree each in our own individual ways. Mostly, however, it gives you the opportunity to consolidate the knowledge that you have learnt, there are many times I have gone, “Oh that’s why they taught us that!”

As a student you get a chance to work with a range of nursing styles and you see the kind of nurse you want to be, as well as the ones that you definitely don’t want to be. Before I started working, I took the time to write a list of the qualities I always wanted to entail as a registered nurse; I look at it from time to time and it’s good to remember and keep on track of the nurse you want to be each day at work. Often you can get caught up in the culture of your workplace; this being both good and bad, so remembering the qualities you want to uphold is important.

I think that as a nurse and a student, the sooner you realize that you will continually be learning and reflecting the better. Nursing is a continually developing and expanding profession, which is why I love it; I love that I will always be learning and continue to develop, both personally and professional and that the opportunities as a profession are endless.