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'I already know my specialty; do I have to do placements in other areas?'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“My first placement was on a respiratory ward and I absolutely loved it. I know I’ve not seen other areas of nursing but I know already that that is where I want to work.

“Problem is, I’m now having to do a placement with health visitors, which seems pointless when I’ve already made up my mind!

“My personal tutor says that it’s unlikely I’ll have another respiratory placement throughout the course, so I was wondering if anyone knows of any courses where you don’t have to rotate and can pick your specialty from the start?”

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Health visitors deal with respiratory illness as well. You may find that after a few more placements yo umay change your mind.

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  • I am a great supporter of a broad training before specialising as patient care is complex and requires an ability to draw on a very wide range of experience.

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  • As the above comment has stated, patient care is complex. If you were to specialise now in what you think you want, you will be failing your patients .

    As you progress through your course, as many of us have done, you will probably change your mind many times.

    Experience and knowledge will only be gained by exposure to a wide set of illnessses and patients needs.

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  • Claire O'Malley

    I loved my first placement, not so much the secod, so can empathise :) You may or may not change my mind, but that's up to you. (I change my mind with nearly every placement.) If you do remain passionate for respiratory, try linking other placements back to it - how do health visitors help with preventing and treating respiratory illness? What other problems might people with respiratory illnesses have? (for example, people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are more likely to smoke than the general population.) Depending on your uni training, you might be able to focus on respiratory there, for example doing something related for your dissertation.

    Some placements might drag because you know you're not suited to them, but the wide range of training will give you a broader experience that will help you be a better respiratory nurse :)

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  • I'm a student nurse also, my heart is absolutely set on A&E, my first placement is in NICU. NICU is never an area I've considered working in but learning about the anatomy and physiology of these babies, learning about what makes them sick and how to help them get better is very interesting and the knowledge will help me in A&E if a sick baby came in. Not everything is pointless even if it doesn't relate to your chosen area, the other thing is you can't honestly say you want to work in respiratory for the whole entirety of your career so the other experience will help you if you ever want to change area, good luck with your training :D

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  • I am currently in General Practice and I think this is the thing I want to do when I graduate but I think it always takes doing something something different to reaffirm that, there's no harm in trying something new even if it is to confirm that it isn't what you want to specialise in. I also think that its important to remember that different fields give you a deeper understanding of a certain speciality.

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  • With every placement I've gone into, I've been convinced that this is the area I want to work in. I love everything about mental health nursing and every placement area has been amazing. I now think I know which area I want to work in when I qualify, but I am enjoying gaining experience from different strands of nursing and different placement areas. I believe it will help me a lot later on in my career, especially if I ever feel like I need a change of scenery in years to come.

    I understand it can be frustrating when you feel like what you're doing is pointless and has no benefit, but I promise you if you look for it, you'll find something useful from each placement. Be it a little bit of info, or vast amounts. It could be a decision that you definitely don't want to work in that area, that's OK. But please make the most of your placements and you'll see in time that it was for the best that you get broader experience before specializing. There is something to take away from each and every placement, sometimes it isn't always easy to find, but I promise you it is there.

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