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How to arrange the best elective placement for you

  • Comments (5)

Students of nursing are in the lucky position to be able to arrange a negotiated placement. This period in the students training (in the third year) allows an almost unlimited possibility for students to experience something truly unique.

Some students take it as an opportunity to travel abroad and experienced nursing in another country. Some students use this time to work in an area of nursing that they hope to gain employment in after they qualify. Some use this time to get a placement location a bit closer to home. Whatever the reasons or the motivations behind your choices I have a few tips that will hopefully make sure you are as prepared as possible.

  • Be prompt: The places that you are going for will more than likely have their own allocation of students. To be accepted at your chosen location they must be able to properly accommodate you. This means that it really does help if you can make your decisions and contact your preferred location as soon as possible.
  • Be personal: I would assume that you are choosing these locations because it is an area where you will hope to get a job. Even if that’s not the case, you are getting close to the time when you will be having interviews and the world of nursing is very small and news travels fast. That means a good impression with these placement locations could help you when it comes to having your interviews for employment. Contact the ward (or wherever you have chosen) and ask to speak to the person in charge to arrange your placement. If you have the time, I would even visit the location in person and introduced myself. This personal approach not only shows a level of professionalism but it also shows that you are eager to spend time there, which does nothing but help your cause.
  • Check the rules: This could be the most important piece of advice. Up until this point you have been used to being allocated placements. The hassle and the administrative process of assigning students to areas where they will learn and develop has been taken out of your hands. Now the choice is all yours it is important to understand what rules and conditions are associated with your own universities negotiated placement period. Check that the location that you want to visit is allowed by your university. For example, my university won’t allow any student to have a negotiated placement in a community setting. Another regulation that my university has is that the first choice can be anywhere but the second choice must be somewhere in my local area. Once you have digested all of the conditions it is an imperative that you have your paperwork filled out and submitted on time which brings me to my final word on the subject. Don’t assume that if you fail to organise a placement yourself that the university will have some backup. If I fail to sort out my placement for the four weeks in January 2013 then those four weeks will be marked as an authorised absence and given that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires you to spend a certain amount of time in practice in order to qualify then this could have real consequences for your nursing course.

I don’t want to end things on such a dour note, your negotiated placement will be exciting. There are so many opportunities and experiences that you can choose from that I hope it becomes a highlight of your training.

I was lucky enough to be accepted at Moorfields Eye Hospital has my first placement. Let me know where you are going, or where you have been.

  • Comments (5)

Readers' comments (5)

  • You make a good point about negotiated community placements. I will need to check up on that for mine, as I was considering an elective with the wound clinics!

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  • Adam Roxby

    Hello there.

    Thanks for your comment. I would take the time to investigate it. There may be some restrictions or conditions.

    Your choice does sound interesting and I hope it goes well.

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  • Anonymous

    We do not have 'elective' placements. For our management, final semester 9 placement we can ask to be placed in certain areas but because there are so many of us the placement allocators cannot guarantee that people will get where they want.

    We are not encouraged or supported to go abroad, or outside of the local trust and have all been told not to go to a community placement, which is sad for a lot of students I know who are interested in working in community hospitals upon graduation. What's worse is that due to the number of students in our cohort some will end up in community hospitals but because we aren't allowed to request it, it may not be the people who actually want to be there.

    We have five choices, my top choice being HASU. Hoping for the best.

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  • Hi Alan,

    I'm currently a second year student and planning to apply for an elective placement at Moorfields Hospital. I'm a qualified optometrist in the Philippines and I'm interested in ophthalmic nursing. I will appreciate if you could share me information on how you managed to be accepted at Moorefields.

    Many Thanks,

    Manuel Fernando

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  • Anonymous

    Hi I am in my 2nd year of nursing and my elective placement is in a few months. Would like to know your opinion, do you think I would gain more from an oncology placement or a placement in intensive care?
    Thankyou for your help x

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