Top Tips for Your First Placement

 

There is only two weeks until the first year placements start!!! Not only has this made me super nostalgic (and panicky because I’m halfway through my degree now), but it gave me the idea to write down some top tips.

Be YOU. This may sound like the cheesiest advice ever, but it’s true. With every placement, I’ve started this year, I’ve been quiet and not myself at all for the first few weeks because I’m so nervous. But what I’ve (finally) learnt is that once I started acting like me, I felt so much more relaxed. Make jokes, smile, talk to your colleagues. The secret to making it through any shift, even when you’re not having a great day, is with the people you work with! PLUS, the more you act naturally on placement, the easier it will be to feel more and more like a proper nurse, not just some clown in a uniform.

Throw yourself into every opportunity (if you’re comfortable****). I made a habit of not saying no to any task that was handed to me, just so I could experience everything. Sure, I didn’t always want to walk down to the Pharmacy and ask (for the 8th time that day) where our medication was , but it helped! I got to know the hospital, understand the breadth of the role that the pharmacy has, and take a little breather from the business of the ward. Even boring tasks help you learn something, even if all you’ve learnt is I’m not a mad fan of this!

****Sometimes, you aren’t ready. There are times when you will be asked to do something (like giving an injection) and you might not feel ready. That is OKAY! Talk to your mentor, learn the methods and take some baby steps. You get to decide when you’re ready!

Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. They happen all the time. We are learning and working! You’ll do things wrong sometimes and that is okay. Whoever is teaching you should walk you through it anyway.

Talk about your day! One of my favorite times of day whilst on placement is going home and getting it all off my chest. Since I live with non-nurses, I often filter out the gory bits (bless them) but it really helps to process the day and reflect.

Get your paperwork sorted out on time! Both of my first-year placements involved me panicking because I didn’t talk to my mentor about paperwork. I thought it would make me look pushy. It doesn’t. 99.99% of the time, your mentor might have just forgotten or they might have a plan of their own. Just talk to them! If issues arise from there, talk to your PEF and AA.

And finally- GOOD LUCK! This journey is hard and can be frustrating, but there will be so many days when it’s so so worth it.

If anyone fancies trying their hand at blogging their experiences with placement, why not give us an email, a Facebook message or a tweet? We’re always on the lookout for more student nurse’s and midwives!

Finally got around to writing a blog about being proactive

IMG_2469Self-motivation is a real skill for life that you’re supposed to possess if not hone at university… However, it’s no secret that a student’s skills of procrastination often experience the real improvement.

Both in placement and in university it is often (unfortunately) down to you to be pro-active and motivate yourself to succeed. Success for a student nurse, however can be measured in many ways.

Success could mean getting good results in your exams or if you struggle with essays it could just be passing them.

Success could mean going and engaging with all of your lectures and seminars or success could mean getting that condescending consultant to say “Thank You or Well done” to you for your hard work.

For me success is having a patient on discharge saying that you made a difference. The first time it happens it’s like a drug, sounds lame, but its true. You have no idea how helpless and scared that patient might of felt and for them to acknowledge that you made that go away, if even for a second, makes you feel a bit a like a superhero.

So when you’re on placement, halfway through a super tiring long-day and you slept in and didn’t have time for breakfast or didn’t sleep well the night before or someone was rude to you and a patient asks for help, you need to be proactive in deciding to consciously be outstanding. Each patient you see, each call you answer, each task you carry out, you need to try and say to yourself “I’m going to do this to the best of my ability for the patient”.

This can apply to revision as well! When you’re getting distracted and your friends are sending you links to videos of sloth’s having a bath on facebook, look at your notes and think about what this revision will do for a patient.

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Google “baby sloth bath time” You won’t regret it

In a few weeks time someone with Hypoparathyroidism could come into your ward and because you put your phone on silent and sat and went on revising you know that they could have very weak bones and could be susceptible to fractures so act accordingly. Or you can win a patient’s confidence by being able to identify by name each of their medications and what they treat, immediately putting them at ease.

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Telling a patient that you’re just a call bell away and really meaning it can be so comforting

Often when you go home you won’t think “I made that patient’s bed really well after I repositioned her today” but if she’s lying in bed all day the thought she might hold on to is “That lovely student nurse took such care to make sure I wasn’t lying on a rucked up, untidy bed because she knows that can make me sore”. It’s the little things that if you are constantly striving for excellence in your care that patient’s will notice. And when they come to discharge they can look you honestly in the eye and say you were there when I needed you and you cared.

I can’t think of a much more successful day than that.