thanks for the brilliant cakes boo!
Please refer to my disclaimer before reading any of my Nurse Boo categorised posts
*Beverley’s name has been changed
When I first saw Beverley I knew she meant business. She had a presence. Almost indescribable, she was scary in an authorative way and a way that only someone who is confident in themselves can be. I’m sure Beverley worked hard for years to become a ward sister. She’d worked this ward for years and knew everyone well so she didn’t have to unleash her ‘scary side’ too often, but you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Beverley.
I guess to be a ward sister you have to have an element of that, be organised, able, available and know your staff and their capabilities well. You have to be able to scare them into doing well so to speak.
I’d seen Beverley around, I’d seen her laugh and joke with her colleagues. I could see she had a softer side, but she also had a walk of power, a stance of grandiosity. She had short cropped hair with splashes of grey and big featured eyes with an athletic build, she was one of those women who was probably older than she appeared, because she looked good.
After two days of working closer to Beverley I could see she had a good relationship with my mentor, she referred to lots of the younger nurses as her daughters and she their ‘mama’. I tried to make smiley eye contact with Beverley several times. It was like I was invisible, as though her eyes could see straight through me. I guess I was irrelevant as a student nurse, but I always felt it was a bit more than that. Maybe I was being paranoid but I felt instantly disliked and perhaps ‘judged’ by Beverley, despite the fact that she never actually looked at me, I knew she was watching me.
I’m somewhat a people pleaser and perhaps I misconstrued Beverley’s perception of me, but it was a feeling I got and then on my second day she shouted across me to my mentor “does your student know how to do this?” I guess this is where my theory became more confirmed – “YOUR STUDENT” a total disconnect from me – I was nothing to do with her, I had no name and no identity I was just a student that ‘belonged’ to someone else, not to mention the fact that I was standing RIGHT THERE. I can speak and be spoken to, I may be student but I’m not invisible or stupid. It’s something I won’t forget. One of the things I’ve learnt in being a student, and a nurse-to-be and inexperienced and the girl who is always the new girl moving from ward to ward is that a smile and an easy going nature can get you through a lot. A smile was not, however, going to get me through Beverley’s enormous barrier as an authoritative role.
I’d been there for a couple of weeks and I had plans after work as I was finishing at a decent time. I changed into my scrubs when I got to work so I came dressed to work. Nothing dressy, just some jeans and a top, make up done and some bouncy curls in my hair. Hair always goes up for work so I didn’t know if it would still look as nice or as curly by the end of the day, but a girls gotta try!
As I walked through the corridor to the changing rooms Beverley walked passed me from behind. A few steps ahead of me she suddenly stopped and turned around. She looked at me, in the eyes, for the first time. Ever. “I wanted to ask” she said, “what did you do before this?” her eyes slightly squinting in her curiosity. I smiled, and was a little bit taken aback, there was no hello or casual greeting just straight into the question….this was the first time Beverley had even spoken to me. I probably stumbled on my words at first, being somewhere between a little bit shocked and a little bit intimidated. It’s always hard to explain my story to people, especially at the hospital, mainly because they just don’t understand why I left all that behind and why I chose nursing because it’s just so very different. I explained to her that I owned a cake shop and tea room for 10 years, that I had some health problems that made me evaluate my life and had also meant I’d spent a fair bit of time in hospital that had influenced my desire to do nursing. I explained that I was a mature student and that I’d been to university before and because of my background and my ability to do so many other things that I felt less pressured if this wasn’t for me. Beverley questioned my decision, she clearly couldn’t understand why I would want to be a nurse, something that always slightly startles me about nurses reactions to my story, I don’t think I’ve met one yet who’s said ‘wow that’s amazing, nursing is wonderful what a great choice’ it has yet to put me off though, but I guess general moral in nursing is low these days.
“I knew you did something creative or something in fashion” she said. Not sure if I was supposed to take offence from this or as a compliment – does she think I dress nicely as she is seeing me in my ‘normal clothes’ for the first time? Or is she saying I’m clearly too into fashion and make up to be a serious nurse? Who knows but I took on more of the ‘offence’ part. She looked pretty disgusted and as if I was pretty stupid when I said I didn’t want to be the boss anymore and that I wanted more freedom and holidays and sick pay and be able to switch off when I went home. Her face screamed ‘HOW STUPID ARE YOU?’ as if I was saying nursing was easy, easier than making cakes!! Clearly that’s not what I think, but I think people are so ignorant to the fact that running a business is extremely hard, no matter what it is. That you don’t switch off when you go home, that you don’t ever come first and that you don’t just work when you want to.
I think both Beverley and I both walked away thinking the other one was wrong and perhaps slightly smug in ourselves that the other didn’t have a clue! Most people hear my story and think its inspirational that I will be an asset to nursing because I actually want to be there – but I know that Beverley doesn’t share this belief. In fact why I have chosen to share the story of Beverley is that she is the only person in my journey so far who I feel has doubted my ability and just generally ‘not liked me’ Being liked is important to us as humans, but I not everyone likes the same cup of tea?
Beverley spoke to me more after our conversation in the corridor that day, not much, but at least she looked at me after that and not through me as though I didn’t exist. I don’t think our conversation changed her opinion of me and made her have any more faith in me, but I think Beverley had already made up her mind about me anyway. The fact that she came to ask me direct questions showed that she had seen me, she had acknowledged my existence and she was curious about me, maybe she wanted to dislike me, maybe she thought different of me after we spoke, whether it be in a better or worse light. I don’t know – because Beverley still has that barrier around her. I have been back to ward a few times since finishing my placement there and she has now gone back to looking right through me. I guess remembering me would show she even slightly cares and that may tarnish her ‘tough cookie’ exterior.
The thing is that the story of Beverley will stay with me and that’s why I wanted to share it. She may not have even acknowledged I existed, never mind knowingly and willingly taught me anything about being a nurse, but that conversation that day in the hallway taught me a lot about being a nurse and about being Zoe. I put my scrubs on that morning even more determined to be a good nurse, even more determined to be a ‘fashionable nurse’ and mostly even more determined to show Beverley she had got me wrong. She’ll never know how her doubt of me that she made no effort to conceal, actually spurred me on.
Maybe Beverley has smarter intentions than I think? maybe not? I’ll just take it for what it is.
*Beverley’s name has been changed to protect her identity in compliance with my blog disclaimer.
Last week was a busy week, parties, cupcakes, celebrations. We also featured this week in the Ham and High for our inauguration cupcakes,
Affectionately known as Boo to my friends, I opened bake-a-boo in 2006 and after 10 years of making cake dreams come true, hosting fabulous tea parties and releasing a cookbook I have now closed the doors of the tea room. Plagued with severe endometriosis and several food allergies I’m turning all the bad into something good and after being a great patient, I’m now training to hopefully become a ‘great’ nurse! Here I’m sharing my journey, and talking health, my inspirations and life after bake-a-boo…..and of course CAKE! You can take the girl out of the cake shop but you can’t take the cake shop out of the girl so find out here how I can still help you with cakes and treats and parties galore x