Words on a page

Trainee Nurse's Notebook

Trainee nurse’s notebook

In the process of sorting out the educational resources at the George Marshall Medical Museum I came across this notebook; it belonged to a nurse during her days at training college. It includes anatomical sketches, lecture notes, to-do lists and doodles. It’s the workings of her mind put down on paper as knowledge was acquired and experience gained.

It occurred to me that since finishing university in 2012 I have no longer kept any formal record of my day to day life; assuming Facebook does all the hard work for me. My rucksack is always full of scribbled to-do and shopping lists but other than the fact that I regularly forget to buy milk, they tell me very little. I had lost the discipline of writing to record and recording to learn.

This was the case up until I began my traineeship. All trainees keep a record of their learning as part of the role. As I’ve discovered, keeping a learning journal is an additional task to your week but the benefits are manifold. It will be a useful record for writing job applications when the time comes but it also serves as an important evaluation tool in underlining what training we’ve received and when we’ve put it to use.

Writing a learning journal has continued as a key aspect of the Professional Development Profile for the PG Cert. Danielle has previously written more on the module here. During the sessions, we were introduced to the process of reflective writing. This practice is not only about recording factual wheres and what fors. It is a process of capturing your thoughts and ideas throughout your experiences to help you identify your strengths, weakness and preferences in learning, to enable you to become a more mindful leader.

Foundling Museum, London

Foundling Museum, London

In November, Lily and I visited the Foundling Museum in London. We met with the Learning Coordinator who discussed their schools and family learning programme and gave us a guided tour of the galleries. It was an insightful and interesting day but it wasn’t until I returned to the office on Monday morning and began my learning journal that I could fully appreciate what a useful experience it had been. Through articulating exactly what ideas I had gathered I could recognise how I can actually put them to good use. Identifying what I had learnt in this way has had a recognisable impact on the educational workshop that I’m in the process of creating. Moreover, I will be able to reflect on my learning when writing my Professional Development Profile assignment.

So far, my traineeship has been so fast paced that it would be almost impossible to have recorded everything. I’m sure that much of what I’ve learnt may not even become apparent until long into my next role. However, the New Year will see the six month mark of the traineeships and with Christmas less than a week away, now seems like a very good time to take stock. I can definitely say that reflective writing and remembering to put words on a page will always be on my to-do list.

Thanks for reading,

Etta Griffiths