It was with some excitement that I pounded down the homestretch. Forcing tired muscles to keep pumping, pushing through the pain and sweat, racing towards the finish line of the ONP (overseas nurses programme) course.
I speak metaphorically. I haven’t actually been for a run for two months now. But it has felt like a long marathon in the process of obtaining my UK nursing registration. A long drawn-out, and surprisingly expensive process that has taken over the last sixteen months of my life.
Why do you ask, why go through all the pain and torture of jumping through the many hoops that the English Nursing Council set up? Well the answer is simple. I love being a nurse. There are a few other little things that factor in too like how nursing is better paid than having a pub job (well hopefully anyway!), flexibility of the work schedule (no Monday to Friday job for me thanks very much), benefits of contract work (only short-term commitments), but it all boils down to the fact that I love being a nurse.
But you ask, aren’t you trying to break out of the mentality of having a normal working life? Well the answer is yes. I left New Zealand with the dream of travelling and experiencing the world. I want to broaden my horizons and grow. But there’s also the factor that travelling isn’t free. Unless you have a bucket-load of savings, or win lotto, it is hard to do the travel for the amount of time that I want (at least a couple of years). Even backpacking on the cheap with hostel dorm accommodation and going at slow pace to lower costs, it still costs money at the end of the day. I plan to work short three-month contracts in England with a month or two off in-between to continue backpacking somewhere in Europe, before returning back to England and starting another contract to ‘save up’ for the next backpacking month. And the neat thing about nursing too is that generally it’s twelve hour shifts over which means only needing to work three days a week. Which equals FOUR DAYS OFF A WEEK to zip off to interesting places. Sounds wonderful to me personally. I’ve even made it more thrilling for myself by saying to my agency, that I will work anywhere instead of being boring and saying I only want to work in London for example. So literally I could end up doing a contract absolutely anywhere within the United Kingdom. Doesn’t that just make your heart sing with the happiness of adventure?
Feeling slightly convinced yet? Excellent!
So it was with trembling legs that I attended the final uni day of my ONP course. Within a few hours I had passed the small exam with flying colours, and received the final piece of paper needed to obtain registration. Finally.
In the meantime all I have to wait for before I can start my first contract, is for the council to post out the official registration thingy to me which can take a few weeks depending how efficient they feel. In the meantime I will be spending all of August backpacking through Scotland and a little bit of Spain with the hopeful intention of settling down for a work contract in September.
The two other American nurses Heather and Jaime (that have been also staying with me in Bournemouth) flew back to America the day after the ONP conclusion to finish off preparing things back home for a month before their return. I felt a little jealous as this week I have been feeling quite homesick and missing my family and friends. That’s one of the bad things about being on the other side of the world is that flights are just a bit too expensive and long to pop back home for quick visits.
I had a relaxing time for the rest of the week watching a How I Met Your Mother marathon (one of the all time best shows in my opinion) and going on walks with my Bournemouth host family. Last week’s walk was to a beautiful bay called Lulworth cove. It was a stunning day with fantastic coastal scenery. Look at these gorgeous photos:
This weeks coastal walk was to another place called Dancing Ledge. Again more beautiful English scenery:
Plus I found the exercise and sunshine really helped the homesickness.
Another highlight of the week was doing a day trip into London to do the Harry Potter studio tour. It is an AWESOME and MAGICAL and very touristy thing to do. Definitely add it to your bucket-list. In fact I would book flights to London specially just to do this tour.
But before I knew it, it was time to say my goodbyes and head to the train station. It was hard leaving my adopted Bournemouth family as I feel like they really included me and made me feel welcome. Adorable friendly pets and warm comfortableness. Not to mention the cooking and delicious desserts. It was the kind of place where it’s impossible to stick to a diet as your waistline will expand anyway. It is a compulsory condition of staying there. Plus I got to try (and love) some classic English foods such as Yorkshire pudding, trifle, toad-in-the-hole, bread and butter pudding etc etc.
Next stop – Edinburgh!