With attending university full-time, working in the evenings, a car that appears to enjoy breaking down and the first assignment of my second year due, the last few weeks have been fairly tough
I have been tired and even a little tearful at times – nothing a little chat with my personal tutor couldn’t fix; she has been great.
My advice to students is that if there’s something bothering you, however small and insignificant you think it may be, don’t be afraid to share it with somebody: a problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. Nonetheless, there are a lot of exciting and positive things going on over the next few months and I’m feeling really good.
I was glad to get back to placement this week so that I could do a bit more of what I enjoy. It was great to see the team again; they have just received the news that they have been short-listed for Community Placement of the Year at the Student Nursing Times Awards. The atmosphere in the office is fantastic and the team are excited about attending the awards. Now all that remains is the decision about what to wear.
It’s surprising how much it means to have somebody recognise that you’re doing something well. I know that simply being nominated for an award has left them feeling uplifted and honoured. On the topic of the SNT Awards: one of learning disability staff at the University of South Wales has also been short-listed for lecturer of the year. Well done, Dr Neil James and good luck!
March 20th and 21st will see the tenth annual ‘Positive Choices’ conference taking place. I’m going with a group of students from my course and cannot wait. This year it is being hosted by Kingston University, London. It is a national event dedicated to learning disability student nurses and provides opportunity to meet and build links with like-minded people from across the UK and Northern Ireland. I still keep in touch with some of the students I met at the event last year whom have now qualified – who knows: they could be my boss one day!
I’m definitely looking forward to ‘cutting some shapes’ at the party which takes place between the two days of the conference. The event coincides with World Down’s Syndrome Day, so many of the students and professionals will be supporting this by wearing lots of socks. Why not join in and advocate for the rights and inclusion of people with Down’s syndrome on Friday 21st March?
I’m looking forward to my next placement which will be at an assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities. It’s going to be a new experience for me as my previous placements have all been community, hospital and school-based. My placement with the community nursing team has enabled me to see what leads to a person being admitted to an assessment and treatment unit (this could include a decline in a person’s mental health, problems with medication or an escalation in behaviours that challenge) and the support required after discharge. The next placement will allow me to see what happens after admission so there’s going to be a lot to learn. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks of placement and I’m ready to take on the challenge.
Claire Harries is Student Nursing Times Learning Disabilities branch Student Editor