Third-year Adult Nursing student Tiffany shares her advice for those embarking on placements as part of their nursing degree.
Ahh, placements. If you didn’t already know, throughout your Nursing degree, you will have several placements.
Some you must “pass”, others will be insight placements so you can get a little look at other departments in and outside of the hospital. This means that when it's time for you to qualify and choose where you want to work, you should have a good catalogue of areas to choose from.
Placements can be challenging to navigate at times, especially if this is your first time working in care.
Even if this isn’t your introduction to care, it can still be a little hard to navigate a new role and new responsibilities, but it's all so much fun: the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Research in advance
As soon as you get notified about the area your placement is in, send an email and introduce yourself. Here you can ask if they have an electronic student pack they can send you, as this will give you a better idea of what you should be looking at.
If not, then just do some general searching, Google will be your best friend from now on. You’ve also got your lecturers at ARU who might be able to provide some support and guidance, too.
2. Get organised
When it comes to placements, it's a juggling game – you're dealing with so much academically but also personally. It tests your organisational skills at times, but it is all to develop you as an individual and future staff nurse.
If you know you’re not great with your time, get a diary or organiser on your phone and stick to it!
3. Embrace everything
Over the last year I’ve come to learn that placements are not only there to aid your learning and provide you with some of the most amazing and heart-wrenching experiences you will ever have. They also help you to get to know yourself in a whole different light.
Most importantly, your knowledge and confidence will grow. Even with bad experiences, there are always lessons to be learned. Take every step as a learning curve and you’ll get what you need to from the placement experience.
4. Practise. Practise. Practise.
The most fun part of placement will be getting to practise all those skills you’ve been learning in the skills labs at university. Having actual patients and being able to develop your skills is such a great feeling.
What’s even better is when patients are so appreciative of the small things you do that you don’t even think twice about.
They make the whole journey worth going through, just to see a smile on their faces and even better when you can discharge them home in much better health than when you first met them. Those moments always make you reflect on why you started the degree to begin with.
5. Stay curious
Your “Why” will bring you through some of the most difficult times in placement and that’s why I always say, never forget it.
You will meet some great people on placements: healthcare assistants, doctors, nurses, and many others alike who will help to elevate you on your journey to becoming the best nurse you can be.
Placement: a place to learn, grow, laugh, cry, care, develop and so much more. Enjoy it!
Tiffany studies BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing at ARU in Peterborough. We also train nurses in Cambridge and Chelmsford. Find out more about nursing, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.