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'Mistakes do happen'

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Laura’s theatre nursing placement felt overwhelming at first but she found it taught her lessons far beyond what she could learn in lectures

Laura Hodgetts

Laura Hodgetts

I’d never had anything to do with surgery before so when I found out I had been allocated a theatre placement, to be honest, I was extremely nervous and a little overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to expect from the placement or what would be expected of me. 

But I was also excited to find out more about the whole process of theatre nursing and the responsibility that scrubbing in would entail.

”I felt I couldn’t be much help as everything was completely new”

When I started, initially it was a bit confusing and I felt lost with all the instruments that were used. I felt I couldn’t be much help as everything was completely new and seemed just a little alien to me, such as the different uses of equipment, staplers and surgeon preference, etc.

However, once I began to actually participate in the surgery I became quite focused on the task before me. Having the practical experience really helped me to enhance what I was learning in lectures. I was also very aware of the people around me and the support and reassurance they provided in the theatre.

”I was cross at myself for having acted without thinking”

I felt this particularly when I accidentally desterilised my first set of gloves before a procedure and when I placed a lung lobe into a specimen pot for histology.

The support during both these incidents was very reassuring, even though I was cross at myself for having acted without thinking.

The staff encouraged me to ask questions and reassured me that mistakes do happen, but that it is imperative to be honest, not only from an infection control point of view but also in order to create and maintain an open and trustworthy relationship with my colleagues and other professionals.

”The placement has given me a greater sense of self awareness”

This helped me develop a working knowledge of how I should practice as a healthcare practitioner in accordance with the NMC code of conduct.

The placement has given me a greater sense of self awareness with regard to my own actions as well as the practical lesson of being alert about maintaining my sterile field and instruments.

It’s spurred me to ask more questions and maintain my enthusiasm by continuing to enjoy my training as a nearly qualified member of staff.

Laura Hodgetts is a current student nurse

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