Rebecca Leighton said she was “passionate” about her job and wanted to return to a “normal life” after charges against her were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service earlier this month.
“It was hard. I learned, obviously, through what I had been through, not to look too far down the line as to which way my life is going to go,” she told ITV1’s This Morning.
“I just had that little bit of faith that this is going to end and it has got to end because surely they have got to realise at some point that it is not me.”
Miss Leighton was speaking in her first interview after being charged in July with contaminating saline solution at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
The 27-year-old spent more than six weeks in custody but was freed on September 2 after proceedings against her were discontinued.
Last week she was cleared to return to work by the Nursing and Midwifery Council subject to conditions, despite admitting to the theft of opiate-based drugs.
She remains suspended on full pay by Stepping Hill while inquiries continue into allegations that she stole medication.
Miss Leighton told This Morning of her disbelief when she was arrested by police early on July 20 at her home in Heaviley, Stockport.
“It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous. Obviously I was asleep, in bed, I was meant to be at work the next day and I woke up to the police banging on the door,” she said.
She added: “Even when they arrested me, I thought I would be home for teatime because surely they know I have done nothing wrong.”
Miss Leighton said: “I just couldn’t make sense, I couldn’t string a sentence together.”