Why being a neurodivergent student nurse is awsome!

Hello lovely people 😃🫶🏻

Happy International Nurses day! What a fantastic celebratory day this is! 🤓🌟

I love being a student nurse! Being a nurse in general is awesome, but I do love being a neurodivergent student nurse. However we are often underestimated in our abilities and what we can bring! I am very open about my neurodivergence, but I respect that it can be really challenging for some to disclose that they are ND in fear of stigma! 3 years on in my nursing journey and I still get nervous about starting placements in fear of stigma! However my ambition is this narrative will change one day, and it will change because there is a powerhouse of individuals and groups just like me and my team at SUNN behind this motion for change! However this blog post might give you a flavour of why being a neurodivergent nurse is totally awesome. In this blog I will demonstrate why nursing is so perfect for a ND individuals, or more so why ND individuals are so perfect for nursing! Let’s celebrate ND nurses! 🤓

There’s no order to this list…. (Don’t tell me your suprised when you know I have ADHD!) Maybe you are surprised because I’m also autistic and love structure?!

Anyways let’s do a count down…. Now these points are really a reflection of my own ND nurse experience!

6-ND nurses are entrepreneurial always full of great ideas! Example: I only came up with the idea to write this blog at half past ten the night before, while brushing my teeth. But I just had to do it… so I have lay here writing it until the small hours while I nurse a chest infection/cold… which takes me on to my next point!

5-ND nurses are sooooo hard working and extremely determined! You want a job done- an ND nurse will do that task right to the end, no matter what the hard cost is to them! (Often very selfless and reliable). Many ND nurses will have worked extra hard their whole life to get to where they are today! If we have a hyper focus on doing a task and making a dream or vision come true you can bet that the task will be done, probably to a high very standard too, and sometimes completed early!

4-Now I know some fear that the challenges neurodivergent individuals face may hinder their ability to deliver safe practice but this statement could be applied to neurotypical individuals too. The difference is often an ND’s challenges are more known which is why they have strategies in place. ND nurses know their strengths and challenges.In knowing their challenges they know how to manage them to ensure they are practicing safely, so you can expect most ND nurse to double, even triple check things, and yes they may appear a bit slower than you’d like them to be but please remember they are doing this to make sure they deliver the safest care to people and their families! So actually a pretty safe pair of hands really… (It’s so important colleagues give ND nurses space to use their strategies and reasonable adjustments (RA) without discouragement. RA are in place for a great reason! There’s times ND nurses might not verbalize their strategies this might be because it is all internalized and they do it without realizing it. On reflection I have realized that I perform my strategies on auto pilot mode and don’t really give them a second thought unless I am questioned and challenged about using them, which is really disheartening. After being discouraged in the past I now make a conscious effort to verbalize /justify what I’m doing and why, in the hope those in working with will understand. However unfortunately this information is not always well received! This is what the ND powerhouse need to work on! We don’t want to push nurses away before they have even started, as this will contribute to the already crippling retention and attrition crisis we face in this work force! Anyways I’m rambling on here.. which brings me to me next point.

3- ND nurses are great communicators! When nurtured and made to feel included this boosts some confidence in ND nurses and promotes positive and efficient communication. (As you can see I can talk for Scotland). 😁 This well needed workplace inclusion is “thee” key to a productive and happy workforce which we so desperately need to protect in this profession!

2-ND nurse can think outside the box and see the bigger picture before many can. We are really innovative! A critical eye is what you need in nursing to pre-empt and forward plan for situations! A recipe for quality care!

1-ND nurses have oodles of empathy, which is really the most important point here! ND nurse are underdogs! You can expect many ND nurses to have encountered some really challenging times in their life, and from these experiences they have a great willingness to empathize with others; both staff and patients who face difficult times in their life. Empathetic nurses are definitely the right people we need in the nursing workforce . 🥰

Happy international nurses day to all nurses ☀️😁🫶🏻🌟🎉

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