In late February I’m a bit slow off the mark for New Year’s Resolutions, but as us 3rd years start our Leadership & Management placement tomorrow I thought I’d write (in no particular order) about some ‘placement resolutions’ that I’d like to start doing or things I already do that I need to keep up. For the more organised amongst you this is probably second nature but I feel like I would have appreciated these tips when I was in first year! I’m an Adult nurse but hopefully these things should be relevant to all fields so I hope you find this useful!
- Batch cook lunches for the week: I’m terrible for overeating when stressed or short of time and often find myself eating fas
t food or ready made sandwiches on my break, leaving me feeling bloated and lethargic for the rest of my shift. This time around I’m going to make an effort to save money and stay healthy by pre-preparing food to bring with me to placement. It’s also a good idea to have some emergency cereal bars in your bag for a shift when you need an extra boost of energy!
- Pack your bag the night before: I’m really not a morning person, especially in winter when your alarm goes off at 5am in the dark and you feel like you don’t see daylight for weeks! Knowing that all my stuff is ready to go and all I have to do is fill a flask and eat some toast like a zombie, makes it just that little bit easier to get out of bed. This sounds obvious but I try and put all my placement bits and bobs in a box all together- it’s brilliant to avoid rushing in the morning when the night before you’ve come home from a long day and thrown your name badge, ID card, fob watch, bus pass etc.. on the floor with your uniform! Ps. Invest in a good travel mug! It’s the most useful thing I bought in 1st year! Kim also has a great blog on preparing for placements (‘Pre-placement necessities’)
- Always double check your PAD: It’s actually embarrassing how many times I’ve had to go back to placement after finishing to collect a missing signature. Save yourself a trip and learn from my mistakes!
- Speak up sooner with problems: On a previous placement I had an issue, I raised this on the ward and also with the PEF, but unfortunately it wasn’t dealt with in the way I’d hoped and started to affect how I felt about going to that ward and was really getting me down. It took me a while to bring this up again with my AA, and realise that it wasn’t a satisfactory solution to the ward problems. Remember if you’re unhappy on placement and need to resolve an issue, don’t hesitate to ask! Usually PEFs are fantastic and your AA will always be supportive but if they don’t know about the problem, they can’t help you! If you need more information about where you can go to for Support on Placement check out the Placement Survival Pack.
- Take notes: I try and jot down things I’m not sure about to look up later, for example; a new acronym or a condition I’ve not heard of before. Then it reminds me to look it up later and jot it down in a pocket notebook. It’s also really handy to keep a list of useful numbers in.
- Background reading: If I’ve been allocated to a ward with a speciality I’m not familiar with I always try and read a bit more around the subject for example; common conditions, A&P/pathology behind it, main drugs I’m likely to see on this ward etc.. However if I’ve done this in some free time around allocation day it might be a long time before I actually start there so I’ve also started jotting these down in my notebook.
- Make a timetable: One of the hardest things about nursing degrees is balancing your time when you have so many extra things to do whilst you’re on placement. When you’re working you can just come home and that’s the end of your day, you don’t need to worry about working on that essay or writing some reflections when all you want to do is collapse in a heap on the sofa! I’ve tried to make myself a timetable as soon as I get my off duty, to try and organise my time around shifts so I don’t leave everything last minute- sticking to this however is another matter! I’d also say that if you feel your workload is too much, you’re not coping or there’s other things going on in your life that’s affecting how you feel- go and speak to your AA about it, don’t struggle on alone!
I hope you find some of these tips useful, got any of your own you’d like to share or suggestions for new posts? Please get in touch below!