We looked at consolidating all of our learning from the previous semester and how we could use this knowledge in placement.
We were also given the chance to speak to some of the second years, meaning we had someone to vent all of our worries about beginning placement to. This was a great opportunity as they said it how it is: night shift aren’t easy, 12-and-a-half hours is a long time and working in that environment is stressful.
But I think that’s what we were all looking for, some home truths. In a strange way they helped me feel more confident about beginning placement.
My first day on the antenatal/postnatal ward soon came around. I felt as prepared as I could, which was not at all!
Putting my uniform on that morning made it all feel very real. I sat there thinking that in just an hour’s time I would actually be caring for women after waiting so long to do so.
My first week flew past and I really enjoyed every second of it. The shifts were really long, but it goes really quickly on the ward because it’s so busy. There are so many women and babies to care for, all with different needs and varying levels of independence in the hospital environment.
Looking back at the four weeks I’ve been on placement, I have learnt so many fantastic and invaluable skills.
I’ve learnt how to make a hospital bed, something that sounds so simple but is an essential skill needed to keep up with the fast pace of discharges and readmissions.
Spending time with a Health Care Assistant gave me an understanding of how important these skills are, and I help out whenever I can.
I have also recently taken my first set of bloods and given my first injection. When asked to do so my own blood ran cold, but once I settled next to the woman ready to take her bloods, I became much calmer; I knew what to do, I just needed to give it my best shot. And luckily enough, I got it first time!
I’ve learnt a number of other skills too, such as removing catheters and cannulas. I’ve found the best way to go about this is through lots of simple communication, making the woman feel as comfortable as possible. Removing a catheter is not the most dignified of procedures.
Communication is the most valuable skill I have learnt, though. On placement we can’t help everyone because we’re students, but we can communicate with them and get them the help they need.
Nine times out of 10 the women would just like a chat. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stopped for 10 minutes to speak with a woman about her experiences.
They are always grateful for someone to talk to, bring them a cup of tea or even hold baby while they prepare a feed. As a student, this is one key area in which we can really make an impact.
There have been a number of experiences where I’ve been made extremely happy and reassured of the profession I am entering because of these experiences. Always introduce yourself before providing care, the difference it makes is unbelievable. It makes you a person, rather than just a provider of care.
Next month is filled with placement, which means more new experiences and incredible opportunities. I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences over on Twitter!
See you next month!