Clinical placements

What to do when words fail

Communication problems are not uncommon when people with complex needs are admitted to hospital, and one nursing student is creating a toolkit that will include tips from specialists and signposting to additional support

Communication problems are not uncommon when people with complex needs are admitted to hospital, and one nursing student is creating a toolkit that will include tips from specialists and signposting to additional support

In my third year of training I was on clinical placement on a children’s ward where I helped to care for a 12-year-old boy with autism, who I will call James.

James had been admitted following a prolonged period of distress and self-harming, and was due to be discharged that day. He had been calm for most of the shift, but the moment he was told he could leave the ward he started kicking and screaming, lashing out at his mum. Nothing the nurses, play specialists or his sister said could calm him down.

Before starting my nurse training, I worked as a team leader in a care

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