Having worked as healthcare assistant for almost three years prior to starting the nursing course, I had some preconceptions about what my first placement would be like.
This was an advantage and a disadvantage to me as one of my biggest worries was that I would fall back into the role of a healthcare assistant (HCA) on placement which would prevent me from learning as much as I could as a student nurse.
I expressed these worries to my mentor who encouraged me to understand my new role on the ward as a student nurse. An advantage to my experience was having a shorter adjustment period to get used to working in a hospital, which enabled me to get started on developing my skills. One way I was able to do this was by spending time, and sometimes a whole day, with members of the multidisciplinary team. I was able to learn about the role of Physiotherapists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, the Charge Nurse and Phlebotomists. This was very useful as by understanding the role of other members of the team I found it was easier to understand my own role.
It is worth saying that experiences will differ greatly from ward to ward for each individual. I feel as though one placement cannot be representative of your nursing career and learning experience which is why it is so great that we have a multitude of placements.
There will be some aspects that you enjoy and others that you don’t. I had to remind myself that it was ok to not enjoy 100% of the placement and that nursing is a challenging career. The thing that helped me the most throughout my placement was the support of my very dedicated mentor and liaising with my friends on the course who all have ups and downs themselves! Even at the end of such a short (5 week) placement I did feel sad to be leaving the team who had made me feel so welcome.
Geraldine, 1st Year, PG Dip Adult Nursing