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'My tips on how to have the perfect placement'

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Third year student nurse, Lynzi Ratcliffe, has some advice for students looking to experience a successful placement

I have just started my third and final year in my adult nurse training and I can safely say throughout my two years of study I have come across good and bad moments on placements. Sometimes when you are having a bad day one moment can change it into a great day.

The last placement which I completed was the final placement of my second year. I was allocated theatre. When I first found out, if I’m honest, I felt anxious that I wouldn’t be able to cope in such a critical care environment and thought that everybody would see me as an incompetent student.

Throughout my first week I felt that I was having trouble adapting to my surroundings

However this was not the case at all. On my first day I felt really nervous but as soon as I arrived I was made to feel welcome by every member of staff which put me more at ease.

Throughout my first week I felt that I was having trouble adapting to my surroundings and I also felt that an expectation that I should be able to quickly pick up the routine of the department. I found this the most difficult, but as the weeks progressed I began to settle in and get used to things. I still felt that people thought I didn’t understand the concept of being in such a critical care environment, and it was difficult, so they might have been right.

I decided to go on a spoke placement in the anaesthetic department and on my first day I felt like a nervous wreck around my new mentor. I gathered up my courage and explained to him that I was finding it difficult because sometimes I didn’t understand what people were saying to me. It was such a good move as from then on he explained everything he was doing which made it easier for me to grasp. He also encouraged me to ask questions whenever I wanted to know something which helped me greatly to expand my understanding of the department.

I can say that I had good and bad moments throughout my experience of theatre but overall I was made to feel welcome and was supported which made it a great place to learn.

My tips for my fellow students who are just starting out or who are finding things difficult would be:

  • Show enthusiasm - this shows staff that you want to learn which makes them want to teach you more
  • Ask for help - don’t worry about nerves, it does’nt matter how nervous you are or if you think that you’re being silly. If you’re stuck - ask for help
  • Don’t always stick with your mentor - try spoke placements and working with other members of staff as this will really add to your learning

The last piece of advice that I would give to any student is that if you are struggling go and speak to someone you feel comfortable around; they will always be willing to help you which will make your placement a worthwhile experience.

I hope this had been helpful to other student nurses, have fun!

Lynzi Ratcliffe is a third year student nurse studying adult nursing at the University of Salford.

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