Have you ever heard of the saying ‘There is always a first time’? Well, you will hear it often when you are having your first clinical placement as a student.
At the moment I’m having my so called ‘taster placement’ at a local hospital. This is the time when I am able to feed patients, give bed baths, administer drugs, make observations of vital signs, clean hospital equipment, communicate with patients and their family members. However, it was also my very first time to work 12 hour shifts, deal with patients who are aggressive, deal with stress, be spit at, shouted at, get used to all sorts of smells, see patients naked, and be on duty all day. I am glad I paid attention during all my lectures and did all my homework because the knowledge I gained from university boost my confidence to apply my skills in practice. Although, being a nurse is a challenging job, I absolutely love it because every day is different and you never get bored of it. Furthermore, seeing patients recover is very rewarding.
It is important to point out that my mentor is a great example of a highly-skilled nurse who is also a kind and cheerful person. Her encouragement and support helped me expand my knowledge and gain new skills, for example, taking out a surgical drain bag, using a bladder scanner etc. She does everything to help me gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. In addition, she gives me quizzes and examines me to see how I progress. I feel lucky that I met her because she inspired me to give the best out of myself.
Here are my top tips for students going on their first clinical placement:
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Bring your lunch box and drink
- Don’t do anything if you don’t know how to do it
- Don’t be scared to do something if you know how to do it
- Take notes and reflect on your experience