Becoming a nurse with a stammer

The article's author, Abbey Ludkin, at work as a nurse

Newly qualified nurse Abbey Ludkin talks about her hospital training placements, seeing her confidence grow, and how rewarding the experience has been.

Today marks one month since I qualified as a Registered Nurse. As an adult with a stammer, I can't believe I've come this far and I am so proud of myself. 

Going to university to study nursing wasn't easy, but it was the best decision I ever made. Whilst there I made a lot of friends who were so understanding about my stammer. Over the course of three years I had six clinical placements in hospitals, which were far more challenging than any essay I ever wrote. 

Most of the time I forget my stammer even exists, because the patients come first.

I had never done care work, or had to speak to people the way I had to when on the placements. I absolutely avoided phone calls wherever possible on my first few, after someone hung up on me. I had a block for so long they thought I wasn't there anymore, which really knocked my confidence. 

The article's author, Abbey Ludkin

However, every placement I had commented on how far I had come with my confidence, and by my final few I was even offering to make phone calls for people. Yes, a lot of the time I stammered and yes, it was embarrassing at times. But something my speech therapist told me recently really helped. They said this: no one cares; we all worry about ourselves far more than we think others worry that we stammer. 

Patients are usually lovely towards me and don't mind when I stammer. I try my best to put them at ease before and during their surgery and they all seem to really appreciate it. They always thank me for being so calming and lovely towards them and this reminds me of what a wonderful profession I'm in, and how lucky I am to get to help people every day. 

So to those of you who stammer and think that you wouldn't be suitable for a profession which involves lots of talking — honestly, just go for it!

So to those of you who stammer too and think that you wouldn't be suitable for a profession which involves lots of talking — honestly, just go for it! Occasionally I have a very mentally draining shift where I stammer a lot. Most of the time I forget my stammer even exists, because the patients come first. But more often than not I go home satisfied and proud of myself. 

Good luck!

Read more articles about people getting on at work with a stammer, here. For information and tips for coping in the workplace and job hunting, see our At Work section.

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