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'I just don't see what I can learn from a pre-op placement'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m a second year student nurse. Recently, our placements have been handed out. I’m rather pleased about them, except for one. I got pre-op. 

“I don’t see how pre-op can benefit me. 

“I’ve experienced pre-op in the trust I’m working at as a patient and as a relative. Fair enough I haven’t seen ‘behind the scenes’ but I’ve seen front-line stuff and it doesn’t feel like I’ll get the best out of it.

“Can someone please help or advise? Maybe you’ve been on a pre-op?”

- Anonymous


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Readers' comments (5)

  • Hi,

    I'm not sure what kind of pre-op placement you're going to, but I recently had a placement on a surgical orthopaedic ward - by far my best placement to date! Really interesting preparing people for their procedure, both physically and mentally, as well as providing support and interventions when they return.

    If you mean a pre-operative assessment centre, I had a friend who went there last year and she loved it. I did an outreach there for 1 day, and it's great for developing your assessment skills and building up your communication skills too.

    The pre-op clinic is vital to the wards obtaining all the information they need before the receive the patient, and you could play a big part in that. There's plenty of opportunity to learn about existing conditions and how these may affect the person's care, as well as an understanding of what steps need to be taken by both the patient and staff beforehand - vital knowledge if you get a surgical placement in future, you'll be one step ahead!

    I hope you manage to get the best out of your placement - if you find that you're struggling to learn new things, there is always the opportunity to arrange relevant outreach to other surgical areas. Good luck!

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  • Pre op placement is a good period where you can do pre op assessment . Also you get a real time experience to understand the physical, psychological, & emotional problems of a patient before surgery. Pre-op teaching is another interesting aspect where you can get expertise. So don't miss it.

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  • I have had pre-operative assessment as a placement. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot! There is so much opportunity to learn! As with all nursing placements, I believe it is important to go in with an open mind and aim to get out as much of it as possible. Enjoy and good luck!

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  • I have watched the development of pre-op assessment as a standard part of surgical care, and like many when it was first introduced, thought it was a bit of a waste of the patient's and our time.
    However, as an experienced surgical nurse who recently underwent planned major surgery, I would suggest this is your chance to see how nurses in this area can really make a difference.
    My condition was outside of my own clinical specialty, and I had questions to ask, which I thought would sound silly coming from an experienced nurse. However, the nurses running the pre-op clinic offered clear explanations, reassurance and gave me realistic expectations.
    Good preparation meant I sailed through the experience, so imagine what that good preparation does for someone who is totally unfamiliar with hospitals and procedures.........?

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  • Try it, you might like it. I would advise all student nurses to get as much variety in their training as possible, odds are you may well be in one area/ speciality for years post qualification.
    PS, you wouldn't turn down a trip to New York just because you have seen it on the telly!

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