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'How do you make the best of a 'boring' placement?'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“My current placement is on an outpatients’ clinic and I am so ridiculously bored!

“There is literally nothing for me to do and the staff there are even reluctant to let me observe at times. I think there was a problem with a past student but I’ve never really got to the bottom of it.

“I was meant to have my mid-point review last week and it’s still not happened. I asked my mentor about it and she just said she’d do it later - as in fill in the paperwork without talking to me about it - and said that I was ”doing fine”.

“Not exactly the in-depth discussion about my learning needs that I was after!

“Everyone I’ve spoken to says we all get “that placement” and I just have to grin and bear it. That’s not really good enough but I get it.

“But if we all get that one placement, how do other people get through it? I’m struggling to see the point in even going in at the moment!”

-          Anonymous

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Im afraid i dont know how to help because im in exactly the same position.
    I'm at placement right now and im here browsing Nursing Times because there is nothing else for me to do.
    Some things are interesting but there's only so many times I can look over someones shoulder as they do admin on their computer before I go mad.
    (Im a mental health nursing student so thats saying something!)

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  • Use the opportunity to do some rewding around your assignment. I have been on such a placement and I used the opportunity to browse for papers around my assignment, or sometimes read the Trusts policy (which you can use as evidence to sign-off some formative skills).

    I'm a current mental health nursing student.

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  • Take the opportunity to organise days away from your placement base. This is your chance to get a better insight into the work of specialist nurses, and learn more about some conditions. You can tag along a clinic, for example COPD, diabetes, wound dressing, paediatrics, sexual health. I have found that the nurses are always enthusiastic and keen to share their knowledge. Check out your local health centres and ring the corresponding services.

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  • You can bring in work around your assignments and read them to help influence your academic work. Also, I would observe as many procedures as you can and the communication skills involved in conversations. Most of all, I would talk to the patients, find out about their background, any health problems they have. You also have the opportunity here to give health advice if you wish to. I would additionally spoke out to as many other teams as you can in order to widen your exposure to other nursing specialties. Hope this helps.

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  • I have also in the past had a "boring" placement- for 8 long weeks! I did struggle at first to find motivation but ended up spending time away from the unit in connected areas which you may find helpful. For instance if you are in a diabetes clinic you could ask to spend some time on the diabetes ward to compare the difference in care then spend the afternoon writing a reflection for your portfolio. I found doing this helped me get the most out of placement and help me fill my portfolio.

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  • now was the mentor actually a qualified mentor because this should be picked up at the early stages and an action plan devised. you could all add to the action plan as you are expected to be pro-active.
    some placements may not be your cup of tea but remember small parts add to the whole and you never know when you might need those gems of information

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