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‘My placement wants me to work Christmas’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“Firstly, I am well aware that nurses sometimes have to work Christmas. But should student nurses?

“My mentor has planned all my shifts including working the 23rd and 27th December. This is simply because I ‘need to learn to work unsociable hours’ and not even because it’s the only time I can work with her. I sort of tried to complain but she told me that I’m lucky having so much time off when she has to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“Everyone else on the course is finishing the week before and I had planned to go home, it’s going to be difficult to get a train back in time for placement on the 27th.

“I’ve thought about speaking to uni but don’t want to look like I don’t realise nursing is a 24-hour job.

“Is my placement being unreasonable?”

- Anonymous


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Readers' comments (8)

  • Surely if you're cohort is officially on annual leave, you can't be expected to work placement? That would be wrong.

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  • I can only really speak for the courses local to me, but the placements here all have an 'Intersessional break' for two or three weeks, so none of our student nurses will be on a clinical placement over Christmas. I suggest you have you chat to your personal or course tutor, as they will know if this is a 'reasonable' request or not. Good Luck.

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  • It's not clear from this whether Christmas week is definitely still placement time for you- at my uni nobody is on placement over Christmas because the university is completely shut so there's no uni support in the event of any issues, but I know other unis have different policies.

    So- If you're meant to be on annual leave over Christmas week, definitely unreasonable. If it's still technically within your placement, it's not great but you probably wouldn't get out of it...

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  • YES your placement is being unreasonable!!
    There is no reason at all you should have to work over Christmas, you are not being paid and you are still a student.
    As long as you can get all your hours done without having to work over Christmas then there is no reason you should do that.
    Be assertive and tell your mentor that it is totally unreasonable... He/she sounds really mean. :(Poor you..x

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  • Again, I don't think any students work over Christmas as placements aren't timetabled for then. Contact your personal tutor at uni straight away - if you have a start and end date for placement then you can't be expected to work.

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  • I'm currently on placement at the moment at sheffield Hallam uni, we work over the Xmas period but only have the bank holidays off as students aren't expected to work them, we claim 7.5 hours for each bank holiday. So it's Xmas day, Boxing Day and ny day that I shall have off, same as last year. Xx

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  • Once qualified you will work over many Christmas holidays.
    This is the time when you 'do not' have to. As a Student Nurse, one is the 'ward' of the University. Student Nurses may work over any academic holidays if they have a shortfall of clinical hours or choose to spend development time with a designated mentor. Modern Student Nurses on Clinical Placement are permitted continuous access to their academic institution and support networks. If a Student Nurse is working over a University Holiday period, prior arrangements should have been made and a point of contact predetermined in the event of need. Clinical placements in tandem with academic attendance, they do not work in isolation. Failing a Clinical Placement and failing an academic assignment have the same consequences.
    If a Nursing Mentor wants to spend more time with a student for whatever reason. Then the Mentor is entitled to say when and why? I had a Mentor who insisted I spend a few more shifts with her before grading my placement. My mentor spoke with my tutor about my learning needs and the extra time to fill the skills gap was agreed. Two difficult and clinically challenging night shifts an overstretched MAU. My mentor gave me an 'A' grade for the placement. From the outset the mentor and I did not get on. We had nothing in common, it was dislike at first sight and over 12 weeks and two nights the relationship did not improve. Nevertheless, it was truly 'professional'. My mentor was not prepared to 'sign off' on my learning for the placement. The reason why; 'you have written here (on placement portfolio) how it should be done? Let me see you do that.'
    The best mentor I ever had and the highest grade on placement.
    Mentors must keep in mind. If you ask a Student Nurse to work with you on academic holidays then tell them why? Make arrangements with the University and explain the importance of this part of learning. Explain why as a Mentor, you would see the value of this 'out of term' time. And write it in the Student Placement Document. Most mentors will be fine with that.
    Student Nurses, remember? If your Mentor asks you to work nights as part of the learning curve, indicts that 'you have to as I have to' or states 'that you have enough holidays already': Brilliant. Then it may be written in a clinical practice portfolio.

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  • Contact your placement supervisor at uni. Most students have two weeks off according to timetables set out by the government.

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