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'I saw something upsetting on placement and now I can’t sleep

  • 1 Comment

Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m on placement in A&E and a few weeks ago I saw something really disturbing on my shift.

”I knew going in that I was going to see people in a bad way, and during the incident I actually felt totally calm but since then I’ve been having trouble sleeping.

“I try to go to bed at a reasonable time but I end up just lying there for hours picturing the incident. Then during the day I’m jumpy and absolutely exhausted.

“It’s got to the point that I’m making stupid mistakes because I’m in such a haze. Then a couple of days ago I heard this buzzing in my ear and at one point I thought I heard someone calling my name but I was alone in the room. I’ll be honest, it really freaked me out.

“I’ve heard about this sort of thing happening to sleep deprived students but I don’t know what to do about it.”

- Anonymous

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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Leanne Patrick

    Have you tried speaking with your mentor? They're there to support you and help you to talk through things you are experiencing on placement. They will likely have been through something similar at some point.

    Meanwhile, processing things can take time. Delayed reactions to stressful events are really normal. But it sounds like it's beginning to affect your day to day life.

    You could try mindfulness to help with sleep issues. It's a great way to help clear out your thoughts so your mind isn't racing when you're trying to go about your day or sleep. I personally find apps and guided meditations much easier than trying to do it by myself.

    Definitely speak with your mentor, or your personal tutor at university. It's important to get support from people with experience and they can give you advice on what is best moving forward. Perhaps a bit of counselling through the university even, which there is absolutely no shame in.

    It's important that nurses care about the people they come across; it's inevitable that sometimes we will struggle because of this. It's good that you are reaching out and not trying to battle on.

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