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'My placement asks me to do more than student nurses should'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I genuinely don’t know where we stand as students on the following issue.

“I’m on my mental health placement at the moment (I’m doing adult nursing but my course do exposure placements). It is generally good but a couple of times I’ve been shadowing a member of staff who was on a one-to-one and they asked me to cover while they went to the loo or get a drink.

“I sort of said I was unsure at first and they told me it was fine because the patient is really settled and that we were just waiting for the doctor to review them and take them off obs.

“I didn’t want to kick up a fuss because they were right, the patient was settled and they were only away for 10 minutes at most but it’s made me a bit wary about how much it’s okay to take on.

“My worry really is that I’m often working with this member of staff and they seem to ask me to do more and more. When we’re doing meds together they just let me get on with it and don’t really check. I am really careful of course but I’m a long way from qualifying so I’d feel a lot better if they’d check!

“Are there any tips on how I can be more assertive? Or should I just be grateful that I’m being allowed to get so involved?”

-       Anonymous

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Mention it to your mentor. And remind the person whose letting you hand out meds without checking it's them who'll get in trouble should you an unregistered practitioner give the wrong medicines.

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  • I hate this kind of situation and feel it happens alot to me. Its so difficult as you dont want to upset the applecart by refusing or making a fuss. Ive had friends who thrive on this type of extra responsibility where as myself personally it makes me nervous. I try to be assertive and when asked I add that I dont mind doing it but I am concerned. I basically put it out there that I am not confident in the situation they are asking me to handle. It really presents them with a choice and covers yourself with regards to working within your limits.

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  • All tasks undertaken by students should be overseen by their mentor. Your mentor should pick up on your hesitance to take on these tasks and reign back a bit. Yes, sometimes a good mentor will push a student out of their comfort zone and into an uncomfortable area, however this shoud not be ad hoc it should be structured and there really should be some kind of debrief action. As far as medication is concerned, the mentor is risking their PIN when a student performs a task and all medication administration by you should be immediately countersigned by them. Students are often left in these difficult situations and it sometimes infuriates me because this is your journey, your education, you only get the one chance and it should be as positive for you as possible. However, I applaud you for recognising your limitations and knowing something isnt right, those are the building blocks of a very good future nurse.

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