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‘My next placement is in an area of healthcare that doesn’t interest me’ – sound familiar?

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Every student at some point in their training will feel disappointed with a placement, Chloe explores how you can make the best of the situation


It’s the morning of the Big Reveal.

Your phone starts buzzing with messages from your student nurse friends who have just found out where they’re going for their next placement.

But you’re left feeling disgruntled - the location you’ve been given just doesn’t float your boat. It’s not one of the areas of healthcare you can see yourself working in once you’re qualified and on the face of it, there is little to grab your interest.

Do not despair!

Even if the placement is not where you had hoped, it could have a lot more to offer than you think…

Firstly, find out as much as you can about the placement before you start as your preconceptions probably don’t match up to reality.

How do I know this?

Last year, I had a placement on a specialty ward and at the time I just couldn’t see how it would be remotely relevant to my future career plans. I imagined the weeks ahead would be nothing but a tick box exercise.

“I just couldn’t see how it would be remotely relevant to my future”

Then I arrived on the placement and realised it was so much more than this. I was able to improve my drugs calculation skills, learn from dedicated and encouraging nurses and care for patients who showed a huge amount of courage even when faced with life-threatening situations.

If you’re proactive you can plan visits to other areas relevant to the speciality, which can offer exciting learning opportunities. I watched open heart surgery, an unforgettable experience and unique to this speciality placement.

It seems a shame to be striking off each day of placement on the calendar as if you were serving a prison sentence. The NMC recommends child branch students see a range of healthcare environments so you can practice under supervision in a variety of settings, but at times it can be difficult to see the relevance.

It’s understandable to feel down hearted but turn it around, ask yourself: “What you can I take away from this experience?” Make it count.

“Most students find they have a mixed bag of placements”

I’m one of a group of seven child branch students and we tend to rotate around the same placement locations. This means we can share our experiences and offer helpful tips to each other, such as how effective a cup of tea is in endearing you to the scary senior nurse who appears to have two moods; cantankerous and really cross…

Most students find they have a mixed bag of placements, some they love and others that warrant a big sigh of relief at the end.

It’s not easy to change a placement unless you meet specific criteria so try to accept where you’ve been given and have a positive attitude. Consider how you can use the placement to enhance your CV, be open-minded and you never know, you might just enjoy it!

How have you felt about your placement allocations? Have you been able to benefit from a placement you thought you wouldn’t like?

Chloe Alden-Dennis is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for child branch


Join Chloe on Friday 26 September at 8pm when she’ll be taking over the @StudentNT account to host a discussion on what to do if a placement doesn’t interest you. To join in, simply search for #SNTtwitchat and use this hashtag in all your tweets.

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