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'Fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real'

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Nervous about placement? Don’t be, says second year student Marlene


Psssssssssst! Hey you! Student Nurse! Yes you -

Picture it: a room with more than 20 student nurses grouped together for simulated practice sessions.

The nurses are washing their colleagues’ faces, brushing one anothers’ teeth. Some students are checking one anothers’ temperature and measuring thier blood pressure; with a tool hardly any of them can pronounce, much less spell, except phonetically!

You got it, the marvellous ssssvig-no-mom-meter (not the correct spelling mind you) a wonderful device but oh the spelling and pronunciation takes some getting used to - eeeeek!!

With the blood pressure cuffs attached, the tension of the student nurses hits an all-time high, cuffs begin to loosen, the pressure can no longer be contained, the cuffs break free, noooooooooo!!! [Gasps for breath…] and why?

Why, this is all in the name of preparation, for….dah dah dah daaaaaaaaah - PLACEMENT!!

PLACEMENT!! Aghhhhhhh it’s that word that anyone from outside the profession would probably think can only be contained by a bunch of garlic and a crucifix, the word that keeps student nurses feeling tortured as they work for 12 or 13 hour shifts. The word that brings student nurses out of their homes in the dark at 5am on a winter morning, and sets them free from the wards at 8pm that, er ‘same day’?!

Okay, so I’m exaggerating… a tad.

“I would be dishonest if I told you placement doesn’t come with its challenges”

Yes placements are a massive experience and a huge part of the student nursing programme. I would be dishonest if I told you that it doesn’t come with its challenges, but what doesn’t? As a second year PgDip nursing student, I have to admit that this was the area of the course that I feared the most, but determination and focus on the main prize was (and is) key to getting through.

Being able to see the biology up close, particularly in theatres was amazing, although definitely NOT for the faint-hearted and witnessing the birth of a baby via caesarean section was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had. Well apart from giving birth myself, oh and getting married!

BUT watching the medical team support a neonate with their breathing was incredible! Seeing a tiny lifeless baby being given compressions and then begin to gasp for air, definitely leaves you lost for words.

It is then that the textbooks and lectures all begin to make more sense and you realise there is no doubt that you were right to choose nursing.

Seeing these miracles, made me feel even more proud to be a part of this wonderful profession.

“Seeing a tiny lifeless baby being given compressions and then begin to gasp for air, definitely leaves you lost for words”

I totally understand, you may have some level of anxiety, and it is natural to feel this way, my advice is do not believe the negative stories you hear about placements. You are your own person and it is important to let YOU shine during your placement.

It is an opportunity for you to learn all you can, ask questions and be willing to accept tasks, be a part of the team! Do your homework before you get to your placement, understand where you are going and what the department or ward does. Understand what your role will be, and show personality.

Let the fear of nursing placements be a thing of your past. Remember, us nurses must be courageous, committed, caring, compassionate, competent, and have excellent communication skills. After all, fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real.

Let the real evidence, that is, your placement, speak for itself and try not to let the fear factor get in the way.

By the way, it’s a Sphygmomanometer! Thank goodness for the nursing dictionary and good old Google!! Good luck!


Marlene Raji is in her second year studying children’s nursing at City University, London

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