I just wanted to add a quick little update into my life right now. I’m one week into a month of placement - working 8 hours shifts, 5 days a week. Which feels just a bit nuts, and can be super overwhelming if you’re not ready for it.
I just wanted to share a few tips with any nursing students out there who may be currently studying up and preparing for their first placement. Some of which may even be valid for any sort of placement really.
If you can find a place to stay nice and close to your placement, gather a group of friends and go for it! It may not always be practical. And it may seem a bit daunting at first, because if you’re anything like me you’ve never spent a lot of time away from home. It is however very much worth finding a group of people who you think you might be alright to live with for however long your placement may be. I found a few friends who faced the same 40 minute travel time that we wanted to avoid, and let me tell you nothing beats coming home straight after your shift and being able to share with other people with similar stories. It helps with staying sane.
Pack your lunch. Hospital cafeteria food is surprisingly good. I fell in love with the sandwich bar down at Barwon Health Hosp as soon as I realised it existed. Unfortunately, my bank account didn’t appreciate this love. All of those $6 sandwiches add up over the week, and it may be so convenient but let’s face it - where there is an eftpos minimum, there is usually a chocolate bar to accompany the sandwich. Just a few minutes of prep before hand can save you a lot. And with your brain in overload from all the cool things you will be learning, and the long hours you may not be used to, you’ll need the extra fuel. Stay healthy and save, pack your lunch!
Don’t hold it all in. If you’re not feeling okay with anything regarding your placement, don’t just deal with it alone. Your facilitators are there to help you not only learn, but have a pleasant experience. If you have any issues with patients, nursing staff, or other healthcare workers, talk to your facilitator. Sometimes you may witness uncomfortable events, such as the death of a patient. That isn’t always easy to deal with, but it’s important to know that there is support available. Speak up, because you don’t have to cope alone.
You don’t have to know all the answers on day 1. I’ve lost count of how many time this week I’ve been asked if I knew something, and even as a third year sometimes the nerves just take over. The important thing to remember is that you’re there to learn. If you don’t know the answer, ask. And you can always look it up later, say if your patient has a condition that you’re not familiar with. You’ll never be alone as a student, you will have a buddy nurse. They will appreciate of you ask rather than pretend you know.
Just enjoy it while it lasts.Some people may hate their placements, I won’t lie - there have been places that I did not enjoy. But at the end of the day you’re only there for a limited amount of time and it’s best to make the most of it. If the only thing you learn by the end of it is that you don’t want to work in that field, that’s still something. At the end of the day, it’s all about adding to your experience and figuring out if this is really for you.
I think that’s all from me - I hope you all enjoy any placement you may have!! Take care, and don’t forget you can always drop us a question and we’ll be happy to answer.