I had the amazing opportunity of working with the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAST) while on my elective placement.
This was an opportunity to spend days with services that are not normally available to adult nursing students. I went on two calls and the experiences I had changed the way I look at the nursing profession.
Our first client, who I will call Rose, was a young girl no older than four years old, and had difficulty breathing. When we got the call I felt unprepared and nervous, as I had had no experience of nursing children and young people.
I was not sure how I would be able to help Rose or how I would react when I got there. This made me nervous and slightly scared.
When we got to the house, we assessed Rose, which was a difficult task as she just wanted to play, so I distracted her with her toys. After this, we decided that Rose should go into hospital to have further tests carried out.
While we were waiting for transport for Rose, I was stunned as she was still running around and playing with her toys as though nothing was wrong. I was shocked at this as the older patients I see with breathing difficulties are exhausted and can barely move.
Once Rose had left for the hospital I felt proud and relieved to have been some help to Rose and her family. I may have only done a small thing but I feel it made all the difference.
‘This situation has increased my confidence’
This situation has increased my confidence as I was able to handle the situation and stay calm. It has improved my practice as I learnt that taking the situation in steps and thinking clearly rather than panicking will give the client and family a better experience of care.
The second call that we received was from a man who thought that he was having a heart attack. This man was in his 70s and was alcohol-dependent. After looking through his notes we learnt that he had called for an ambulance a few times in that week.
After this, we had to fill in some paperwork and carried out some observations on him. As I started to do this he became aggressive and violent, and this really scared me.
When I started my nursing degree and up until this point, I did not think about the danger that nurses can be in when assisting a client. As in general people do not expect to be put in danger to do the job they love, and this was a scary thought for me.
My mentor told the client not to talk to me like that, which comforted me. However, I felt that if I was on my own then I would not know what to do in that situation.
These situations have improved my nursing practice as I am more prepared for the possibility of aggression and I know that I need to have a look at the policy about aggressive/violent patients.
I can increase my confidence by talking about my concerns to other professionals for support, and thinking calmly rather than panicking about the situation.
Vienna Amos is an adult nursing student at Bournemouth University