Student voices: Hannah on practice placements
Where can placements take you?
Clinical placement makes up 50% of my time on my course and I’ve done the majority of mine at St George’s Hospital, with my elective spent at Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice.
Placement has given me a chance to learn from a range of different people, develop new clinical skills and to work out what I enjoy doing.
I’ve been on placement on all the main paediatric wards including general medical & surgical. My critical care placement was on the neonatal unit, and I have also spent time with the clinical nurse specialists, who provide an advanced level of care according to their specialism. The Paediatric oncology/haematology and infectious diseases ward has been my favourite placement and I’ve returned there for my three month sign-off placement before qualification this July.
I really enjoy working at the interface with different teams, and this specialism calls for really effective working across different professionals in the hospital, like dieticians and physiotherapists, alongside the nurses and medical teams, as well as with health, social care and education services in the community. This ensures the best, most holistic care for patients. It also gives a chance to get to know them and families really well which is the best part of the job!
Placements vary in length from four to 13 weeks and the hours reflect the typical shift pattern of a hospital staff nurse, a combination of three or four 11.5 hour shifts each week, starting at 7.30am or 7.30pm. It gives a flavour of what it will be like when I qualify and over the duration of the course I’ve been able to do more and more. Now, with support of my mentors, I care for my own group of patients every shift.
Placement is not easy - learning the different skills needed to do well in each area, adapting to a new team, even practical things like learning where things are stored and who does what keeps us busy! But it’s also the best part of the course where we get to learn from brilliant nurses at all levels, apply all the knowledge and skills we’ve learned in the classroom and put that all together discover what kind of nurse we want to become.