Beth Pink shares her experience of her first placement.
I have nearly finished my first placement on an inpatient acute ward, and I’ve struggled. I’m writing this to share with other students to let them know that if they’re struggling, they’re not the only ones.
I struggled with confidence from the get go. This came as a shock to me, as when I embark on something new, I always fake it to make it, but this time it didn’t work.
This was partly because this was just so new to me and it really mattered, and partly because I was shot down on the first day by my mentor, who couldn’t even bring herself to look up and say ”Hello” in a quiet and empty room waiting for handover.
I also didn’t know we were waiting for handover. I was just ushered into a room and was told “We’re waiting for em”.
Now, I’m not young and inexperienced. I’m 30 and have had a fairly ‘colourful’ life so far, but this particular placement mattered to me as my first one and making a good impression was really important.
On the first day I was also asked to complete a care plan for a patient, with no experience I found this daunting but did what I was asked. It was in that moment of sitting down with a service user and talking that I realised something.
My confidence didn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. It’s also irrelevant that I didn’t know what a TTO was.
What mattered was being kind, having a smile on your face when it’s needed, and genuinely listening to people who are obviously going through a rough time in their life. Students?
The staff have seen thousands, so don’t worry about it. If you don’t know something and can’t approach someone for whatever reason, find someone you can approach.
For me it was a third-year student who had been there for some time and knew the ropes, and also happened to be lovely person
For a person battling through life that needs comfort and care, someone in a uniform – student or not – should be someone they can turn to for a talk, just a look or a cup of tea.
Yes, staff, I know I shouldn’t be making them drinks. They can do it themselves, but if I offer and someone accepts, it’s about more than the tea. Be that. It’s why you came into this.