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‘My first placement was about developing my fundamental care skills’

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Student nurse Carys recounts her first placement experiences, right from learning about maggot therapy to caring for a Welsh-speaking patient

carys rees adult nursing 26221

carys rees adult nursing 26221

Carys Rees

For my first placement, I worked at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon hospital on Ward 4. I mostly dealt with discharge planning and geriatric care. I worked 37.5 hours a week (three 12.5 hour shifts) for eight weeks.

This placement was mainly about developing my fundamental skills of care, so I spent the majority of my time assisting with feeding and hydration, moving patients, for example to and from the toilet, and maintaining hygiene. 

I observed many procedures like last offices and catheterisation. I also had the opportunity to give out medication and injections, under the supervision of my mentor. 

I had two mentors - an official ‘signing off’ mentor and a buddy mentor. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time with my official mentor, as she was the ward manager. As a result, I was given a buddy mentor to work with, who would give feedback to my official mentor on my progress and in order for my competencies to be signed off. As well as working with my mentor, I spent time working with HCAs and other RGNs. 

The most interesting thing I saw on my placement was maggot therapy! It involves using maggots, specially grown in a lab, to eat away dead flesh on open wounds. Seeing how big the maggots were after the three-day period of treatment gave me a mixed feeling of ‘yuck!’ and ‘cool!’ 

A standout moment for me was discovering a Welsh-speaking patient with dementia when she asked for a cwpan o de which means a cup of tea. We engaged in a conversation in Welsh, and she told me how her parents taught her to speak Welsh when she was a young girl. I felt proud that I was able to talk to her and provide care in her preferred language. It was very touching. It reminded me that there’s more to nursing than giving out medications and doing procedures; there’s getting to know patients and being there for them.

I enjoyed my first placement as it allowed me to develop my fundamental care skills, which are essential basics for care. However, as YCC isn’t an acute setting, I am eagerly looking forward to working in acute care. Ideally, I would love to work in a fast-paced area like A&E!

Carys Rees is currently in her first year studying adult nursing at University of South Wales

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Readers' comments (1)

  • "Ideally, I would love to work in a fast-paced area like A&E!" Ha, good luck with that. Seriously.
    4 of my 6 placements were in the community and was told my sign-off would be a good one (leading me to think something similar to A&E) and it was endoscopy so...

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