My NQN year diary: Victoria’s first three months
10 November 2021
Ahead of starting her Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year, we spoke to Set 42 student Victoria about how she was feeling before beginning her full-time paid probationary position.
Currently, a quarter of the way through her NQN year, Victoria discusses the process of applying for the job, how the interview process works and settling into the family for her first full-time nannying role.
“I’ve been in my NQN position for almost three months, and I am loving it! I am in a beautiful area of Surrey with one energetic and loving charge aged 15 months. I am a live-out nanny and live a short drive away from work in a small flat.
Applying for NQN jobs
Before the NQN jobs list even came out, I knew I didn’t fancy working in London and was hoping to find a job in Surrey. When the jobs came out, I filtered by location and looked at the jobs in the Home Counties. I was worried that there wouldn’t be many in the area I wanted, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many there were. I then read through every single job advert in the Home Counties and made a spreadsheet with different headings to help me choose which first three to send my CV to. After many hours of reading and re-reading the job adverts, the job I am in now rose to the top of my shortlist.
My NQN interview
The interview process included a 12-hour interview, the thought of which terrified me. Interviews for an NQN job are a bit different from normal job interviews as we spend time getting to know the children and talking with the family about the role. I was so anxious before this interview as I really wanted to impress the family. I must admit I didn’t sleep very well the night before, but after looking over my notes from lectures with the NQN team on interview tips I felt more at ease and ready to give it my all. My interview was a little different to others as I went on a weekend, but it still gave me a great insight into a typical day for the family and to get to know my charge’s routine. We had a lovely day. We took a trip to the local park and went for a walk in the morning. In the afternoon, I carried out an activity I’d prepared (rainbow spaghetti) which my charge loved! I also cooked a spaghetti bolognese for us all to eat together, to try and show off my cooking skills. I found the interview really helpful as I felt it gave me and my employers lots of time to chat about the job, my charge and their preferences. I left the interview with a huge smile on my face as they had offered me the job!
My 12-hour interview confirmed that they were the family for me and allowed me to see what a day in their life was like. After the family interviews, we were in regular contact, helping me to gain lots of useful information about my charge and the family.
I was initially very nervous about this upcoming year, but as soon as I stepped through the door on my first day I was put at ease and welcomed into the family. The first couple of months have been busy and super fun with a few challenges along the way. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my charge and exploring the area. I am also really grateful to have met some lovely local nannies who have been incredibly helpful in showing me the area and inviting us along on many play dates.
How the Norland degree and diploma are helping my on my NQN year
My placements during my time at Norland have been invaluable in helping me settle into this role. Not only did they give me a wide range of experiences but also gave me the confidence and ability to build strong relationships with my current employers. Building a relationship with the family has been really easy and has felt completely normal and relaxed. I feel my relationship with my charge is getting stronger each week and I am getting to know the parents more and understanding their preferences. We have recently been on a holiday, which gave us all time together to cement the strong relationships we’ve built. I think it’s important to build these relationships and to listen to the parents’ preferences as these will vary from family to family.
My food and nutrition lectures have been so useful in my role so far. The skills and knowledge gained from these lectures have helped me to create some tasty meals. From my lectures, I have gained the skill of planning balanced and nutritious meal plans for my charge. A few favourites so far have been a lentil ragu packed full of vegetables, and a delicious birthday cake.
As my charge is still quite young, she doesn’t fully understand behaviours and emotions yet. Sometimes she can get quite upset or frustrated and doesn’t always know how to manage these emotions. At Norland, we learned about emotion coaching which is an evidence based strategy for supporting children’s emotions and behaviour. When my charge is upset or frustrated, I acknowledge and validate her feelings, explaining that I can see and hear she’s upset and assuring that emotions are normal and ok. I help to label her emotions and talk to her about appropriate ways to show these. She’s still fairly young, so it’s something we’ll continue to work on.
My working day
My working day starts at 8am. When I arrive at work it’s usually time for my charge’s breakfast. We enjoy a bowl of muesli or banana pancakes before getting ready for the day ahead. We like to get out in the mornings whether it’s for a walk, a class or to the park whatever the weather. Between 11 and 11:30am it’s lunchtime. A firm favourite at the moment is a cheese and spinach omelette with broccoli on the side. After lunch my charge sleeps for around two hours. During this time, I prepare dinner and get on with some nursery duties such as cleaning the highchair and pram, and laundry. Once my charge has woken up, we spend the afternoon either doing a home-based activity I have set up, or go out for a play date or to the park for some fresh air. Dinner is at 5pm. After clearing up from dinner we often enjoy some quiet play or reading before I finish at 6pm.
What I’m most proud of and excited about
When I look at my NQN year so far, I’m most proud of the bond I’ve built with my charge. I was worried that it might take some time for us to build a secure bond as a completely new person coming into their life, but from day one our bond has just been getting stronger and stronger.
The NQN team have been a great support in these first couple of months. They’ve checked in numerous times, and I know that they’re always at the end of the phone or an email if I ever need anything.
I’m really looking forward to the festive period with my charge. I think the run up to Christmas is going to be so much fun and so magical. I’ve already got ideas of some festive activities and outings which I’m really looking forward to!”
Would you like to find out more about the NQN year? Watch our Norland Unwrapped that explored the NQN year in more depth.Watch Norland Unwrapped