This past week or two has not been easy to say the least, with placement details being announced at short notice however, I wanted to take a moment to forget about the stressors and talk about how to prepare for placement now that it is right around the corner.

Placement can be a very exciting time; however, it can also be very daunting. Especially at the moment because we did not have the privilege of completing our June placement, so we have been away from practice since March (new 2nd year students). It may feel like being a newbie all over again in the sense that we cannot remember previous stuff we learned (I know I feel like this) but just remember, our placement should be aware of this and hopefully will support us whilst we are finding our feet again. Just take one day at a time and if you feel overwhelmed, reach out to someone.

Below is a check list of what to do prior to placement and what to take that I found important from the last placement and whilst doing some bank shifts at the hospital since covid (you can add or take away anything from the list, however these are some essentials).

Things to do:

Contact placement – Make sure you have contacted your placement area before W/C 14th Sept. Find out your shift pattern and whether you need to attend an induction.

Uniform – Make sure uniform is washed and ironed and do not forget your epaulettes – this first 5 week placement is year 1 (maybe have a spare set just in case in your car or bag) some areas require you to wear your own clothes until you reach the ward and the same when you finish your shift, so check this if unsure (some areas may vary i.e community)

Finding placement – If the area is new to you, do a test run one morning before placement to determine how long it takes to get there and where to park. This saves you from getting stressed out the morning of your first day on placement.

Pebble pad – Refresh your memory on pebble pad, if you have your assessors’ email, share pebble pad with them and fill out the details on placement 3. Remember to also prepare your timesheet (if unsure go to sept 19 on canvas and click on module and search for pebble pad).

Standards and competencies – Check what standards and competencies you have outstanding. I would suggest copying and print them off and take them with you on placement, so you and your assessor can go through it and work out how you can achieve those within that placement.

Late or calling in sick – If for whatever reason you can not attend placement or are going to be late, find out the number for the ward to let them know, do not just turn up late, this does not look professional. Also make sure you inform University if you are not attending due to sickness and make sure you update the sickness record on pebble pad.

Things to take:

Things I take with me to placement

Comfy shoes

Plenty of food and drinks (especially if you are long shifts or nights)

Change of clothes

Face mask (this must be worn once entering the hospital buildings until you get onto the ward where you will be provided with a surgical facemask for the duration of your shift).

Supervisor feedback forms and patient feedback forms,

Pens & notepad,

Fob watch (if you have one) name badge (if you have one)

University ID, SMART card (if you have one)

Phone charger

Parking pass (if you need one) (also be aware when parking, blue bays are for patients, white bays are for staff, however, there as some areas around the hospital although they are white bays, you may need a special pass or permit to park in that area, so be careful and plan ahead)

If you take any medication, make sure you have it packed, especially if you are on long shifts or night shifts.

Night before placement

Check everything is ready as mentioned above and then pamper yourself, whether that be a nice bath or shower, and do something to unwind such as read a book, meditation, yoga, anything to calm the nervous system and promote a good night’s sleep.

Set your alarm and get an early night

Morning of placement

You may be feeling anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, and / or excited, remember these are all normal feelings in this situation. It is very daunting going onto a new ward or placement area, learning a new routine and getting to know a whole new team of people, but remember they were once students just like you and they will understand how you are feeling and they will no doubt be grateful for you joining their team.

Go into placement with an open mind.  Sometimes you may come across a placement that is not your area of interest, but every placement is an opportunity to learn something new and you may even surprise your self and really enjoy it.  If you do, however, feel like you are not supported or have any issues, contact your PLF (practice learning facilitator) for that area / placement to discuss, do not suffer in silence. I will also like to mention here, that you may hear horror stories of placements, but every one has different experiences, likes and dislikes, so try not to focus too much on these and again go with an open mind.

I would also suggest that during your first week of placement you have gone through pebble pad with your assessor and got your orientation and first interview completed in order to ensure you have a plan in place on what to expect and be expected of you.

Lastly, remember to take in the experience and enjoy every moment of it, as we know it soon flies by.

Good luck and enjoy

I look forward to hearing some amazing experiences once we are all back in 5 weeks’ time

Hull Nursing Society (Mandi) xx

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