Its happened guys. I’m currently on my final placement as I type (metaphorically not physically), how scary is that!! I have to admit, when I first started this course and saw students on their Final Placements I had reservations I would make it to this point…would I learn enough to get there?? would I be confident enough to look after more than one patient?? Would I pass my OSCEs and learn the clinical skills?? Would I survive night shifts?? It was enough to make me dizzy.
THANKFULLY, here I am! I’m pretty proud of myself- throughout the last three years each placement I have been on has helped me to grow and build on not only my theoretical knowledge, but also my practical skills. Working in close contact with other students, qualified nurses, and patients has allowed me to continually learn and develop as a person.
When it comes to placements, its important to remember that even though some are short (in second year we had quite a few 4 week placements) you have to get stuck in and make the most of opportunities that are offered.
This can be really hard as it can take time for you to settle in to the ward, or school, community team etc and with the people you are working with, but that becomes easier as the course goes on. Whilst you might not be overjoyed at all your placements, you have to make the best of them and find things you can do to solidify your learning….in the community you give that sub-cut injection! Go out with the specialist nurses! Go to post natal support groups! Things like going on home oxygen assesment visits, they might seem trivial but when you are back on the ward it will click: ‘my patient is being sent home on oxygen, I better refer to the community nursing team before discharge to make sure its safe’, everything you do can be used as a learning opportunity and improve the care you give to each and every patient.
In special schools, speak to the Makaton Specialist! work with the school nurse, do presentations on personal hygiene! Understand the different disbilities that children can suffer and see how children and adolescents overcome them, allowing them to live their best lives. Communication skills are hugely important, and I’ve found that I use techniques picked up at my special school placement everyday on the ward.
Most placements on the ward have sessions being run by education faciltators, for example safeguarding sessions, blood glucose monitoring, aseptic technique, medicine managment…if you get the opportunity to attend make sure you do! It stands you in good stead for you final placement as you have a better grasp on certain skills and willl be able to perform them more confidently.
Every placement is organised for you to learn new skills, its so important to make sure that you go in with an open mind, try and forget pre-conceived views, and don’t always take your collegues opinion as gospel! Even if they have been to that area before you, you may have a completely different experience! But if you go in with a closed mind, then I can guarantee you will not have as much fun, or learn as much as you could!
So, moral of the stroy is…. make the most of all the learning opportunities, because when you get to your final placement its your time to shine and show that you have taken charge of your personal development and can be an asset to the team you are working with!