Advice and development

Be clever on training shifts

Welcome to the most exciting journey of your working life. During your nurse training, you may feel every emotion under the sun and will gain insight into a whole new world of knowledge, experience and people. Here are some survival tips to get you ready for your first shift.

Welcome to the most exciting journey of your working life. During your nurse training, you may feel every emotion under the sun and will gain insight into a whole new world of knowledge, experience and people. Here are some survival tips to get you ready for your first shift.

You will walk hundreds of miles on wards, so purchase three things: a decent pair of shoes, a water bottle and a lip balm. Remaining hydrated, looking after your feet and moisturising your lips are vital to maintaining your wellbeing.

 

 

 

My notepad has been my lifeline while on the wards. Be sure to look up and write down any word, terminology, or abbreviation you do not understand. In addition, have three pens in your pocket – one to use, one to lose and one for backup.

 

 

 

There are hundreds of books to read, each with their own secrets, tips and experiences to share. Ask your lecturers which books are best and learn about your trade.

 

 

 

Take time out from reading dense textbooks and start drawing to help your learning. Your bedroom walls can be used to display your studies. Bite-size revision is less overwhelming, and you will be shocked how much you remember.

 

 

 

Network with your colleagues to get one-to-one experience and the best teaching. While your university placements will be amazing, sometimes you will want to learn more about a certain area from a nurse peer in another field. I have shadowed clinical nurse specialists in palliative, stoma and HIV care, as well as observed a post-mortem examination. The power of networking is at your fingertips.

 

 

 

No one will thank you for putting yourself or a patient in danger, and there is no excuse for bad practice. Errors in manual patient handling can have a devastating effect, so if you do not feel able to manage, get someone to help you. You have just one spine and one registration Pin number – treasure them both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection is a vital skill to master. It enables us to think about our actions and determine how we can do better in the future. Acknowledging our mistakes is as important as celebrating our successes. Your mentors, lecturers and colleagues will have taken the same journey as you, so seek their advice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one knows better than your patients what it is like to live with medical conditions, from cancer to arthritis, so talk to them and ask questions. Patients love to teach students and share their good and bad experiences. They will also tell you stories that will have you both laughing and crying.

 

 

 

 

Your handover sheet will be the most valuable item while on the wards. Not only will it provide the name, age, past medical history and current plan for your patients, but also a place for you to scribble your part in their care. For example, you checked your patient’s pressure areas, gave medications or noticed anything different, such as mood changes, loose stools or no passing of urine. By writing these things on your handover, you will have all the information you need later on to write your notes, be able to see if you have missed anything and communicate better with your team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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