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Blog: Halfway through my placement, I've fallen in love with primary care

Second year nursing student Claire Carmichael finds that the skills and experience gained at her general practice placement have exceeded her expectations 

Second year nursing student Claire Carmichael finds that the skills and experience gained at her general practice placement have exceeded her expectations 


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I am half way through my eight-week placement in general practice and I genuinely never want to leave. This is a feeling I have not had during previous placements. I have fallen in love with general practice nursing, just as I knew I would. 

I am learning more than I had ever imagined and this placement has completely exceeded all my expectations. My mentor is fantastic. She encourages my learning, embraces change, is always looking for a better way of doing things and asks for my advice. 

Part of the team

In fact, the whole practice is lovely. I feel like part of a team here. Additionally, I am not referred to as ‘the student’. The staff call me by my first name and introduce me to patients with my name and then follow it with ‘student nurse’, making me feel like a valued team member. 

I have seen a variety of patients, conditions and illnesses. Every day is completely different to the next. You have the chance to build a rapport with your patients, and their whole family too.

Holistic care

One of my favourite aspects is that you are not just treating a symptom and sending someone home; you treat the patient holistically. This means managing patients’ mental, physical and social well-being. 

I also love that I get to see the patients through the whole journey. When they come in for a blood test, for example, we will later see them back for their results and then discuss any implications with the patient. 

Here are just a few of the areas I have been experiencing in general practice:

  • Diabetes clinic.
  • Hypertension clinic.
  • Baby immunisation clinic.
  • Asthma and COPD clinic.
  • Minor surgery.
  • Ear syringing.
  • ECG. 
  • Home visits.
  • Cervical smear testing. 
  • Phlebotomy.
  • Telephone consultations.
  • Documenting notes onto the surgery computer system.
  • Team working. 
  • Working autonomously.
  • Caring for patients of all ages.
  • Catering for patients with various specific needs such as language barriers, deaf patients, frail mobility. 

My placement documents have never looked so full of all the knowledge I have gained. 

Future advice

My advice to future students: please consider choosing general practice as a placement choice or future career. At least experience it and eradicate the stigma that this is an area to ‘retire to'. 

And my advice to general practice is to open your doors to student nurses; create more nursing placements so they can fall in love with general practice nursing like I have. 


About the author

Claire Carmichael is a second year nursing student at Birmingham City University
 

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