1 August 2017
Mary Sigler from the US completed work experience at the RFH as part of her nurse training.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to be a nurse
I was born and raised in New Jersey, before moving to study nursing first at New York University (NYU) and then at the NYU London campus. I chose to be a nurse because I enjoy helping people and I could never see myself doing a job where I’d sit down all day. It also helps that I’m not at all squeamish and quite enjoy watching operations – as strange as that sounds!
Why did you choose to come to the RFL?
Many hospitals were fairly dismissive of my application, saying I needed a lot of qualifications. The RFL welcomed my application. I’m so glad I came here; the RFH is a big hospital with so much going on and the staff are all experts in their fields. It’s a great place for someone like me to develop.
What did you do while you were here?
I worked in a different area of the hospital each day, including the paediatric emergency, nose and throat and oncology departments. It was great as I experienced so many things that will make me a better nurse. The emergency department was definitely my favourite. I know it’s challenging and it can be stressful but I like the unpredictability of it, as there is always something exciting happening.
What did you learn?
I learnt the basics, but it’s different because I was applying them each day. It’s easy to learn things by studying through books and lectures, but the most effective way to learn is to actually do the lesson yourself. Things like infection control and talking to patients may seem basic but it is different when you are actually doing it.
What similarities and differences have you found between working in the US and here?
The UK is more open to practice over qualification, and that makes it easier for a nurse to come over from another country. However, the care remains the same, it is about providing the best possible care to your patients, and I think that is universal. Nurses are nurses because they enjoy helping people regardless of where they are from.
What do you plan on doing after completing your work experience at the RFL?
I will continue my studies in nursing using the knowledge I have gained from this placement. My long term goal is to return home to New Jersey and work in a hospital there. I’m also interested in volunteering as an emergency medical technician.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a nurse?
Stay positive and keep a strong mental state. Being a nurse can be extremely challenging at times. To look after your patients you have to look after yourself first.