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'I dread the great expectations that come with being a third year on placement'

Claire Shirley is about to start her first placement of her final year, but she’s as nervous as ever …

So the pre-placement rituals start again; cleaning the house like a mad women (because that’s what I do when I am stressed), uniform pressed and hung up ready to go, pens, scissors, hand gel and notepad, with notes I’ll never use bulging from the pockets, fob watch and name badge carefully pinned into place, new black socks, new white underwear,siz alarms set (because I am adamant I won’t wake up despite never being late for anything) not forgetting the ridiculous amounts of reading I have done preparing for things that I’m probably never going to be asked …

So here I am, about to start my first placement of my third year and I am as nervous today as I was three years ago when I started my first placement.

This despite everything I’ve learnt, all the positive feedback I have received and knowing how much I have developed - I still have that overwhelming feeling that I don’t know enough.

I fear two things on this placement; the dreaded question ‘what year are you’ and the great expectations that will follow. Then we have the statement I have heard said to many before me ‘you’re a third year now you should know this’.  

I really am in panic overdrive.

What I must remember is that I have got this far and it’s been a journey and a half. I remember my first placement like it was yesterday, I really wasn’t sure it was for me, actually I think I cried more during that first seven week placement than I have during my whole adult life!

But I stuck it out and now with only 10 months to go until I qualify I honestly cannot believe how much I have achieved over the past three years, and I really am proud of myself and the type of nurse I am going to be.

Looking back at all of my placements so far, most have been fantastic. Some have been terrible but each has offered me a great learning experience even if I couldn’t see it at the time. Each placement has helped develop my assertiveness, leadership, communication and my role as a patient advocate. Being a student nurse is not easy, but who said it would be.

To each placement I take with me some golden rules:

  1. Be punctual
  2. Be professional
  3. Ask questions
  4. Get stuck in
  5. Be assertive
  6. Work to your own limitations
  7. Spend time with the MDT
  8. If you don’t know something ask your mentor, or jot it down and read up on it when you get home
  9. Reflect
  10. Put the patient at the centre of everything I do
  11. Smile and enjoy it…it will fly by

So I guess I just need to remember my own golden rules and hope I get some sleep tonight! See you in the morning A&E!

Claire Shirley is a third year student nurse studying at the University of Wolverhampton.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Totally agree with those two issues you raised. Trust me the amount of crying I did!!! not on my first placement but on my final consolidation placement, OMDs I remember it so well. But be proud like you are - you will get there as I did. Good luck

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