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Ella’s toolkit for Mental Health Nursing students


Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

14 June 2021

Mental Health Nursing student Ella shares her advice on what to carry with you and keep in mind on placement and in the classroom.

Starting university can be an extremely nerve-wracking time for everyone, and for nursing students, something even more nerve-wracking is starting a new placement.

I had no clue what to expect before starting this new career path, so I have created a toolkit to help you through your first year of Mental Health Nursing at ARU.

On placement

I would extremely recommend purchasing a small A5 notepad because I am telling you now, you will NEED it!

This goes without saying, but you’ll need a good few pens in your uniform pocket too.

I also recommend you wear a fob watch, this comes in handy when recording your patients' physical observations as well as for checking the time.

Starting your first placement can be scary, but it is important that you do not feel the pressure to know anything you haven’t been taught. As long as you clarify with your mentor that you are new to nursing, they will 100% not be expecting you to know too much!

Get involved with anything you can on placement, but remember, you are there to learn how to be a nurse, not to be used as an extra member of staff.

Document everything you achieve as evidence you are learning and you can’t go wrong!

In the classroom

Expect to learn a lot about bioscience in your first year of nursing, regardless of which branch you have chosen.

Human biology is the foundation of nursing, so my advice is to become familiar with the very basics before you start. However, it is not essential to revise anything before starting your course as the lecturers will teach you anything and everything you need to know!

Something that is important is knowing your revision style and what works best for you to retain information, as it will feel like a lot to remember.

Make sure you use the support systems that ARU offers if you feel like you are struggling either academically, physically or mentally, there will be solutions to any problem you have as long as you ask for help!

It is so important as nurses that we are aware of our own mental health and only work within our own personal capabilities. Whether you are on a placement or theory block, you need to take as much time out as you can for self-care, as being a student nurse can be difficult sometimes.

Practice what you preach, we are here to give patients advice on how to improve their mental health, so let’s make sure we are doing the same thing for ourselves!

Ella studies Mental Health Nursing at ARU. You can find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.