Advice and development

Make the most of your time on placement

Practice placements are one of the most exciting, yet daunting, parts of a nursing programme. It may be the first time you have been in such an environment. Good preparation can alleviate any anxieties and help your placement run smoothly.

Practice placements are one of the most exciting, yet daunting, parts of a nursing programme. It may be the first time you have been in such an environment. Good preparation can alleviate any anxieties and help your placement run smoothly.

 

Your university will provide information about your placement. Make sure you read it and know the type of work undertaken in the placement setting you are going to. Do some background reading into that type of nursing care.

 

Do you know how to get to your placement? Check the bus route number or the car parking arrangements. Being late on your first day can only add to your anxiety and make you feel you have to work harder to overcome a negative initial impression.

 

Many universities encourage students to telephone or visit their placement a week or two before starting. This is a useful opportunity to introduce yourself, ask questions and make any off-duty requests you have.

 

For new students in particular, shifts can seem long and tiring. If you start the day hungry and tired, they can seem even longer. Try not to skip breakfast and get a good night’s sleep before your placement. Make sure you wear your uniform, so that you look and feel professional.

 

Before you start the placement make sure you know which documents need to be completed for your practice assessment. Your mentor will be aware of this, but if you prepare in advance you will be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Do not focus on the practice assessment to the exclusion of other learning opportunities.

 

When you start a placement you should receive an induction so that you are aware of health and safety procedures and the general layout of the workplace. This is usually carried out by your mentor. If it is not offered, ask your mentor or the person in charge to give you one so you are able to get your bearings and undertake tasks efficiently.

 

Within the first week or two of an assessed placement, your mentor is likely to help you set objectives for the period you are there. The learning you have gained so far can help here. Are there any visits you wish to make related to your placement? If you are on a surgical ward, for example, it might be useful to visit the operating department.

 

There may be clinical skills you practised at university, but did not feel comfortable with. These could be something you wish to focus on while on placement. Do not be afraid to add some new objectives as you go.

 

The most important thing to do on your placement is to enjoy the experience. Ask plenty of questions and if things do not go as expected, tell someone about it – your mentor, the person in charge or your personal tutor.

 

Remember the adage: you get out what you put in. Work with your placement colleagues to get the most from your time with them, and you are also likely to receive a glowing report from your mentor

 

Further information
 

 

 

 

 

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