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'It's so frustrating when my placement will only let me observe'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“After being overly cautious throughout my training so far, my last placement (first one of third year) was really supportive and helped me build my confidence to the point where I actually feel like I can be a nurse.

“But my current placement has massively set me back. They don’t trust me and I end up just following a nurse around and watching because I’m not allowed to do anything. I’m doing less than I was in first year when I was terrified of doing anything at all!

“I plucked up the courage to start putting myself out there, asking to do things for myself and proving they can trust me but I actually got told to ‘remember I’m just a student’ the other day when all I did was ask if I could help with meds.

“I know I’m not qualified yet and don’t expect to be treated like a staff nurse but I have friends who are managing their own caseloads!

“Please don’t think I’m being over-confident - six months ago I refused to believe anyone was ever going to trust me to be a nurse and now I’m worried that this placement is going to make me lose the self-belief the last one gave me.

“Has anyone else been in the same boat?”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • I would get your uni involved. I have has this issue in my second year, I learnt so much in my first year, was doing injections and medication rounds to the point I knew so many medications off the top of my head and come second year, my new placement mentor wouldn't let me participate in ANYTHING and I too feel I've really been set back. I plucked up the courage to tell the manager of the ward and they are in the process of sorting it out for when I go back. To be honest, I don't think you will get this sorted without a bit of input from uni because otherwise how are you going to meet any outcomes or competencies? Don't worry about appearing over confident, you may be still 'just a student' but what are you supposed to do when you've qualified and are expected to do this all on your own? x

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  • Have you spoken with your academic advisor at uni? I think they would be able to help you. Just out of interest, is the nurse that said that to you newly qualified? Perhaps they are under confident in supporting students?
    Also it might be worth discussing the issues with your Practice Education Facilitator (PEF). It may help them to identify a training need for your placement area.
    Good luck with everything!

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  • If you don't feel comfortable speaking to your mentor and the staff about this yourself, contact your uni - perhaps your personal tutor or academic mentor?

    As the previous anon stated, the status and experience of your mentor or the nurse in question could be part of the issue here which isn't your fault or theirs but it should be sorted before it gets out of hand. You need to feel as though you are getting the most out of every placement.

    I understand that this has probably knocked the confidence that you built up, but don't let this change the way you practice in future. You are a brilliant nurse for making it as far as you have, and you will continue to be brilliant once you qualify.

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