You’ve done it, you’ve made it through exams, A&P is over and you’re still standing. Everyone is packing up to go home, Parklife and Pangaea are on BUT; you are a student nurse…
Before you panic, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go out and blow off some steam with your peers before they go off on sunny holidays. Whilst they’re still there it is essential you make the most of it. Block placement is an amazing opportunity and your first real taster of life as a full-time Nurse, you work a 37.5 hour week and in my case these hours could only be made on weekdays so Social activities were strictly a weekend venture.
It’s a 9 week placement which sounds like forever, 315 hours total, it is daunting but I say this with complete honesty that it completely flies by. Once you get into the swing of your new placement its such a breeze, you go in, you learn, you experience such amazing and interesting things and meet such vibrant characters and help people when they are feeling their most vulnerable. You may get home exhausted but then Netflix is always there for you.
It is tough seeing your friends from other courses posting photos on Instagram of their tanned legs on some beach in Greece, when you’re spending your evenings washing your uniform, making your packed lunches and binge watching Nurse Jackie. But each day on placement you will learn something or experience something new so use this time to REFLECT.
By reflect I don’t mean gaze out of your window staring into the middle distance and contemplating how much fun it was pulling out 30 staples from a patient’s abdomen. I mean put pen to paper and get some thoughts down about your day in practice. Everything goes in your Portfolio and is valuable to help document your progression through the course and is really helpful to consolidate in your head what it is that has happened in that day.
Think of it as a more professional diary. If you don’t like what you’ve written, don’t put it in the portfolio but even the process of taking your experience and working through the Gibbs reflective cycle can be really rewarding and entertaining. Also the more reflections you have he more you can show off to your AA and just look generally impressive to everyone and keeping yourself busy when you get home makes each day go faster than the last and before you know it you’ll be posting those photos on Instagram and enjoying a well-deserved rest.