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‘I feel unwelcome on my placement’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m two weeks into my first placement and absolutely hate it. I am dreading going back next week and keep telling myself that everyone gets a bad placement but, seriously, does it have to be this horrible?

“Every single member of staff seems to hate students. Which in a way is great because they let me leave a couple of hours before the end of the shift saying that there’s nothing for me to do, but I’d rather do a full shift on a placement I enjoy! I’ve been told by one nurse that she “couldn’t be bothered” to show me how to do manual blood pressure.

“It’s an outpatients ward so there’s very few learning opportunities and not much I can do without supervision.”

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Going to placement for the first time is stressful and you can easily feel like a fish out of water. Outpatients has masses of learning opportunities, you just know what they are yet, which is understandable. I recommend that you talk to your placement mentor, personal tutor and the link lecturer about how you are feeling. Also ask your mentor for help in identifying learning opportunities that will allow you to work towards the learning outcomes. From what you have seen and done so far, see what contributes to the learning outcomes and make some short notes; this might help you to feel a sense of achievement. Have you had your first interview yet with the mentor? If not, ask for it, as this will allow you tine to discuss how you are feeling.

    I really do empathise with your situation, but I doubt the staff dislike all students. This can be a common perception when in a new situation, you are out of your comfort zone. I am sure you will soon settle in and enjoy the placement. I hope this helps in some way. Best of luck.

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  • As a recently qualified student nurse, i do empathise! But as the previous comment states, there are loads of learning opportunities on outpatients, if possible ask to go onto the surgical wards that are linked with the outpatients setting, or maybe ask to watch theatre procedures. It's also a really good idea to spend some time with the HCA's if possible, they are a wealth of knowledge - they will not all hate students even though you feel they do.
    I'm not sure what university you are with, but it may be worth speaking to them or if there is a student link nurse in outpatients, or maybe even the practice learning leads.
    I was very lucky on my training and only had one placement that felt like hell! But just keep your head down and think it's only for a few weeks! Good luck!!

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  • Both previous comments are useful - however, I sense a level of 'burn out' in the staff working in the unit. How can students be inspired to learn and want to progress with that sort of attitude towards them? Whilst it will be challenging I would encourage you to be proactive and find your voice - Its the biggest hurdle you will face in nursing and a skill you need to learn quickly. Go back in next week with a 'wish list' of what you want to see/learn. A good starting point is observations of patients, do the meet and greet, talk to the patients - learn about them and tell them about you. In my experience patient's love to chat and are a willing participant in offering their arm for BP/pulse. Practice manual BPs - challenge the nurse who said she couldn't be bothered. Even if its the only learning you gain it will set you up for the rest of your career.If you look willing and are proactive I guarantee that the nurses will start looking to you to do jobs and interacting more. Remember the work is pressurised and there is a perception of never enough time for teaching/mentoring (which is rubbish!).Don't sits back and wait for something to happen, go and seek out the opportunities

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  • I am very sorry you feel like this, I went through the exact same on my placement and did not feel supported through it at all. I lost so much weight due to the stress and anxiety it caused me, lost my appetite, could not sleep at night. This is an issue that really needs to be addressed because I feel like students aren't given a voice. I was even told my mentor, 'students will always be at the bottom, just get use to it'. At the bottom? I cannot believe students are perceived as that, when we have just entered a profession which dedicates itself to caring for others at a time when the NHS is really facing nurse-staffing level pressures and lets face it for long 12 hour shifts which are mentally and physically exhausting we don't get offered a great pay but we've chosen to do it anyway. So a little bit of encouragement and support from peers, particularly on placement, is not asking for much. Anyway, I can tell you when I experienced this on my ward it put me off nursing completely. I began to even question why I entered this career if people were going to be so cold and rude towards me because i'm not counted in the numbers, without even giving me a chance. But I can tell you, the feedback I received from the patients is the ONLY reason I am still on the course. They believed in me and gave me the support I needed. They reassured me that I have made the right career choice and I will make an excellent nurse because of how I made them feel. Please don't make any hasty decisions and quit, just always remember the reason why you wanted to be a nurse and don't let anybody ruin your goals/dream.

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  • Hi there!

    I completely empathise with you and uncerstand exactly how you may be feeling now. I'm newly qualified and I had similar experience in my first placement too! I had horrible experiences in my management placement too, but let's just talk about first placement.

    Do you have access to Practice Placement Team in your hospital trust you working with? I would highly recommend to involve them in your case! You can share your feelings with them too! I received brilliant support from there at both times and I'm really grateful that I chose to involve them. They are very professional and support student nurses and qualified nurses at the same time. Try that and see if it helps!

    Take care and wish you well for future xx

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  • I am sorry to hear you are experiencing a bad time on your placement. am doing my mentorship course now. If I can say, just use your time to interact with your patients. catch up on the theory part of the placement. you ask them questions. Good Luck

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  • I too have experienced this sort of negative behaviour whilst out on my first placement, I was quite shocked as we are meant to be in a caring profession yet as one of comments above mentions we don't care for members of our team and that includes students. I think that I have learnt to try and take away at least one positive experience from those sorts of placements. I hope that your next placement is a better exeperince

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