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'My placement don't want me there'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I got off on the wrong foot with this placement when my uni told them I’d be arriving a week later than I actually was.

“I even rang beforehand, but whoever I spoke to clearly took no interest, so when I turned up on what should have been my first day I was told off as if I was a child for getting the dates wrong.

“It’s gone downhill from there.

“They make no secret that I’m in the way and as I’m first-year they don’t trust me to do anything. I’m on outpatients so there’s not a lot I can do off my own volition.

“The only way I’m meeting my learning outcomes is by doing spoke placements as much as I can, but one of the nurses accused me of trying to “cheat the system” by looking for opportunities to spend time off the unit.

“Any tips for getting through the next five weeks?!”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (4)

  • I had a placement like this. The senior members of staff made it perfectly clear I was in the way, not trusted to do anything and undermining me in front of patients! My suggestion would be to contact university. We had meetings with our uni mentor and placement mentor at the beginning and end of every placement, do you? If so then maybe drop them an email stating you are having a couple of issues and are wanting a meeting for clarification of your role and responsibilities on this placement so not to step on toes.
    Maybe also include your proactively seeking experiences with the MDT on this placement to broaden your understanding of the patient experience, then your placement mentor would be hearing from uni directly.
    I really hope you get it sorted. I had 8 weeks of nightmares on my horrendous placement. If all else the game. Pass the placement and take it as a learning experience of how not to treat students when you're qualified! I sure did x

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  • Hi there.
    I'm sorry your placement has started out so badly and appreciate how difficult it feels to not be wanted in a practice setting. Often these environments are inundated from one student to the next with little break so I appreciate they may be annoyed if they weren't expecting you yet.
    However this is not your fault and there is no excuse for their poor attitude towards you. It sounds like you have tried your best to meet the outcomes by arranging insight visits which is a good idea. However if the communication between yourself and your mentor has been little, I can also see why they may think you don't want to be there (even though you do).
    What you need to do in the first part is arrange a meeting with your mentor asap to discuss the learning outcomes and how you will meet them in clinics. Obviously it is possible (I too had a clinic placement) or you wouldn't have been sent there. If this is refused you need to get your uni link tutor involved asap to facilitate this as without the support of your mentor you are at risk of failing the placement which would be unfair.
    At the danger of sounding pessimistic within our stretched services sometimes the care for students' needs is seen as lowest priority. As student nurses it is our responsibility to manage this, and indeed good preparation for being an assertive nurse.
    Student nursing is a long hard three years but you are doing well. Good luck on this placement and in your future in nursing!

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  • This situation can happen at any point in your student career, not just first placement of first year. I suguest that you speak to your mentor first, explain how you feel and why. I have just had to do the same thing with my mentor as she was not very good at giving me feedback on how well/or bad I was doing and I often felt incompetent. We had a good chat and the air was cleared and found that she is a stickler for correct paperwork and promised to make sure she praised as well as corrected work I have done. I am on my second to last placement of third year so that just proves my point. But never just go off complaining to others until you have given your mentor a chance to explain or change her/his behaviour. She may just be shocked about how you feel, not everyone can pick up the signals. Good luck with the rest of your training.

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  • I am extremely sorry to hear about your predicament. This is not what should happen to anyone during their nurse training. The fact that you actually contacted the placement before your arrival should have prepared them, unfortunately this has happened, but I think that you should firstly discuss this with your mentor, especially the behaviour of the person you spoke to regarding your placement. If you feel that your mentor is not supportive you could speak to your personal tutor and see if they can offer you some advice. It does not matter how many students that a designated placement area has, each student is as important as the next.
    It may be that the area is renowned for their problems adapting to receiving students frequently and this says more about them than their students. If nothing else, at least you know how not to behave as a future professional, as I did on one of my first placements.
    As for the person that thinks you are looking for excuses not to be on your placement, maybe someone should point out that nurse education has undergone major changes to placements, including Hub and Spoke placements. Maybe this individual is not a mentor, or if they are, do not attend yearly mentorship updates.
    You could use this opportunity to reflect on the situation which will also help you to develop as a student and a future professional and hopefully a mentor once qualified.
    Enjoy your studies, but try to remember to use all placements/activities as potential learning activities, whether positive or negative. It's all about you and how you evaluate and use all experiences to your advantage to ensure you come out the other side of nurse training as a well rounded individual.

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