The mentor that changed everything

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This post does not by any means suggest that my other mentors haven’t been amazing, because they have. I have been extremely lucky that every mentor I have worked with up to now have taught me so much and have always been fantastic to work with. There is just one mentor who changed everything for me.

Rewind back to the end of year 1, to me receiving my first placement allocation for year 2 and seeing HDU/ITU. I hadn’t been on an acute ward in my training yet and I was starting my acute experiences in one of the scariest places, A&E being another one that fills me with dread.

I spent weeks panicking (a common occurrence with me as you will know if you’ve read my other blogs 😂) and worrying that I really did not know enough to be trusted with this kind of placement. I was going from year 1, in a placement that I was actually quite confident in due to previous experience to my first acute ward. I did not have chance to visit the unit before starting placement so I walked in ‘blind’. The first thing I saw was all the machines and I must have looked terrified because one of the NQNs said ‘It’s not that scary once you get started, don’t look so terrified you will be fine!’. I met my mentor and she took me into handover. From the first moment she was welcoming and kind, I instantly warmed to her and felt a little less nervous. I picked up the handover sheet and was convinced it was in another language, I didn’t understand half of the actual handover and worried that this would happen every morning.

I started my placement with 2 weeks on HDU, so the ratio of patients is 2:1. My mentor started by showing me the crash trolley and the airway trolley. We then moved onto the bedside checks and the observation charts. By lunchtime, I was feeling confident enough to record the observations myself and my mentor was happy for me to do so. The next week passed so quickly and my mentor knew so much, the knowledge she had blew me away and I remember thinking to myself that I would never know all the things that she knew. At the end of my second week, I had 2 weeks annual leave for Easter. When I returned, I was on ITU.

I asked over and over if I was doing ok, if I was where I should be and was doing everything I should be. I was doubting myself as I always do and thought I didn’t know anything. My mentor encouraged me all the time to complete skills that she knew I could do, she had faith in me and taught me things that have since come in very handy on my other placements. The day she told me I was having my own level 2 patient in ITU, I remember thinking no, no way I’m not good enough. This is not happening I will mess this up big time. And guess what? I didn’t! I felt confident in the bedside checks and the observations, she provided me with support and encouragement and actually made me believe that I can do this. The next few days passed and I became more confident with everything, using my own initiative to complete tasks that I could do. Then my mentor said I was taking care of a level 3 patient. WHAT?! No, no thank you I do not know what to do and the ventilator scares me to death 😂 Of course I wasn’t on my own I had her supervision but I was allowed to complete tasks by myself, keep track of medication times and assess changes to care based on ABGs. She pushed me to make decisions based on my own knowledge without ever making me feel ‘belittled’ if I didn’t know anything or needed to check something.

Before this placement, I had absolutely no faith in myself at all and thought I wouldn’t make it as a nurse. This mentor completely changed my way of thinking. She showed me so much support and encouragement that it was impossible to continue doubting myself. She taught me so much and I genuinely think that if I become even half the nurse she is, I will be very lucky. She constantly made sure that I was feeling comfortable and gave me every learning opportunity, involving me in ward rounds and procedures such as intubations and tracheostomy procedures. I felt welcomed from day 1 and completely fell in love with the place, which is partly due to my mentor and the faith she had in me. The feedback she gave me made me cry and I always look back on it if I’m doubting myself and feeling low. To reiterate, I can say that I’m very lucky and all my mentors have been fantastic and I’ve learnt so much from them all, but there was something different about this woman. In 6 weeks, she took me from a nervous second year student believing she would never be a nurse – to a semi-confident (only because I’ll never be fully confident!) second year knowing that she could do this and that there was a good chance that she would qualify! I now feel slightly jealous of anyone who receives that placement in the time we have left on the course 😂

Let me know any stories you have of mentors like this!

Love,

T x

Letter to my mentor – Part 1

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Will I develop enough to be signed off at the end of the year? Will I be good enough at the skills I need to be good at? What if I walk into the placement area and suddenly forget everything I have been taught at university and everything I have learnt in my previous care work experience? What if I don’t actually know what I’m meant to know? How will I know what dressings need to be used on which wounds? What if I can’t hear the Korotkoff sounds during a manual blood pressure? These are just a few of the questions running through my mind right now.

I am one week away from starting my first placement with you and I am terrified. I have been for a visit so I know the ward, where to park and where to find everything I need on the first day. This hasn’t helped to stop the nerves though. I am a worrier, I worry about every little thing and as you can imagine, I’m in bits right now!

I am a member of a few different student nurse forums across social media and I have read some stories of students not getting on with their mentor. So of course I am worrying that we won’t get on and that you will think I don’t know anything. I don’t think I will pick the routine of the ward up quick enough and already I am worrying about not passing the year even though I have only just started.

I have care experience, 7 years to be exact, and I fear this will make me come across as over-confident in my own abilities, when in fact I am not confident in myself at all. I believe that I know how to build relationships with patients and how to communicate with them, but I do not want you to think that this means I think I know it all.

I constantly worry about what happens if a patient becomes unwell and I don’t know what to do in this situation. Through the clinical skills sessions I know about NEWS, emergency buzzers and how to escalate concerns but what if a patient becomes unwell quickly and I am the only person around? Will I know what to do in that situation, will auto-pilot take over or will I freeze?

I have 16 weeks of placement here and I am concerned I won’t fit in with the team. 16 weeks is a long time if you do not feel like you fit in. I am naturally a quiet person and like to get to know people before I relax, I worry that I will come across as disinterested and not wanting to fit in when actually I am just really shy with new people.

Will you enjoy having me as a student? I wonder how I will fare compared to other students who have been on the ward, which is ridiculous because it really doesn’t matter as long as I am concentrating on my own development. Will I come across as eager to learn or annoyingly enthusiastic about everything? No one wants to come across as that student who asks too many questions (which I will learn later on is definitely not a thing, ask away!) but on the other hand I love learning and want to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can and that means tapping into your many years experience and stealing bits of your knowledge.

I want to get involved in everything, spend insight days with other members of the MDT but what if they don’t want to have a student observing their every move? I don’t want to feel like I am imposing on them and stopping them doing their job correctly.

I have given out medication for many years in the community and in a care home, but I know how clumsy I can be and I am pretty sure I will drop tablets on the floor because I feel flustered and nervous so please bear with me for the first few times whilst I am slow and getting used to the ward routine of administering medication.

Giving injections is something I haven’t had to do in my previous experience as these were always administered by community nurses. I am scared that my technique will be rubbish and that I will hurt patients, which is the last thing I want to be doing! A real human is very different to an orange/piece of plastic skin and an orange cannot scream when the needle comes near them 😂

I said that I didn’t want an elderly rehab ward as my first placement because I work in care and wanted something completely different. On the other side, I am pleased that I have been allocated somewhere that will feel familiar, where I can develop new skills whilst refining the skills I already possess. I know how to help elderly patients and have had extensive dementia training, I know this will come in handy but I also know there is plenty more to be learnt!

It’s the night before placement and I am just about to go to bed. My bag is packed and my uniform is laid out ready for the 5 am start. Let me tell you that is one part I am not looking forward to, 16 weeks of 5 am starts 😭 I have even washed my hair so you know I mean business! I worry that even with setting off 1.5 hours early that I will be late, I live an hour away and I am praying that there is no traffic so I can arrive on time.

I hope to write another letter at the end of my placement experience dispelling all these fears and describing how you have helped me to develop as a future nurse.

Love,

T x

Recommended reading for a research methods module

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Having recently completed my research methods module, here is my list of recommended reading resources to help you with the module!

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Nursing Research: Principles, Process and Issues – Parahoo

 

 

 

 

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Nursing Research: Methods and Critical Appraisal for Evidence-Based Practice – Lobindo-Wood and Haber

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Research for Nursing Students – Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

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Essentials of Nursing Research – Polit and Beck

 

 

 

 

 

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The Research Process in Nursing – Gerrish and Lathlean

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Research & Evidence-Based Practice for Nursing & Healthcare Professionals – Jolley

 

 

 

 

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The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research – Denzin and Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 


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Qualitative Methods for Health Research – Green & Thorogood

 

 

 

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Qualitative Research in Nursing and Healthcare – Holloway and Galvin

 

 

 

Moser and Korstjens wrote a 4 part series explaining qualitative research. The articles are free to access and dated 2017 – here are the links for the articles:

 

Let me know if you have any more good resources!

Love,

T x

 

 

 

Second year is the worst….or is it?

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I’ve seen so many posts about how bad second year is and how difficult it can be, I am 6 months into second year now and thought I would share my top tips on how to make it a little more bearable!

  • Start work as soon as you get it. Gather references for the assignments before you start them as this helps when starting to write.
  • Remember how far you have already come. Think about your first day and how much you have learnt/changed since then. Write a list of achievements from year 1 that you can look back on.
  • Plan things throughout the year. I found this helps the time to pass a little quicker if you have things to look forward to.
  • For research modules – make sure you fully understand the terminology as this will help you when completing the assignment.
  • Take everything you hear from previous cohorts about assignments with a pinch of salt, you may really enjoy something that someone else didn’t.
  • Placement pre-reading. Placements will expect you to have a little more knowledge this year so pre-reading is a must.
  • Take on your own patients. Even if it’s only one patient for that day, take responsibility for their care (within the limits of what you can do with mentor supervision). This really helps to build confidence and third year responsibilities won’t seem as daunting if you have been doing them through year 2.
  • If you’re struggling, reach out to someone. Your personal tutor, another lecturer, someone on social media. It doesn’t really matter who it is just make sure you open up to someone, don’t try to manage through on your own if you feel you are struggling.
  • Get hold of a book on critical writing and thinking. The step up to level 5 writing can seem huge but it’s really about being able to say why something is done the way it is, wider reading and being critical in your thought process. I can recommend these two:
  • Take time for yourself. This is important in any year but do the things that make you happy. Self care can really help when you’re feeling fed up!
  • Chip away at assignments bit by bit. I start mine as soon as they are available and chip away, doing an hour or 2 a day if that’s the only time I have. Before you know it, the assignment is completed and it’s just the final checks you need to do.
  • Reference as you go! I say this all the time but with critical thinking comes more references, the last thing you want is to get to the end and have to find all 50+ of your references again to get them on your list.
  • Take on board previous feedback from year 1 and speak to lecturers about how to successfully write at level 5, they may have little hints and tips that will help you.
  • If you have to work around university, try to keep at least 1 full day off a week for assignments and yourself. You may even be able to join the bank at your hospital trust now, allowing more flexibility with shifts.
  • Try not to be disheartened if your first result is a drop compared to your first year grades. This can happen with the step up to level 5 writing, ask for guidance and really pay attention to your assignment feedback.
  • Try to save a little money each month, student finance drops in year 3 so saving a little bit during year 2 will help fill the gap.
  • Make sure your referencing is up to scratch, I have found this book really helpful for referencing (there is a website as well). Referencing tools are great but I prefer to create them myself then I can be confident that any errors are down to myself and you actually learn how to reference when you do them yourself.

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  • Keep up with your car maintenance, this may seem obvious but if you use your car a lot for uni and placement, wear and tear can occur faster than through doing normal mileage. The last thing you want is to be sat on the motorway waiting for the AA! (Other breakdown recovery companies are available 😂)
  • Email your assignments to yourself or save them on onedrive/google drive/a USB stick. Again, this may seem obvious but if your computer breaks or your work doesn’t save, you risk losing all the work you have done towards an assignment.
  • Keep in touch with your friends during placement, this kept me going through long shifts and weeks on placement.

Let me know if you have any other good tips for year 2 😘

Love,

T x

Top tips for a critical care placement

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Visit the ward before you start

This gives you chance to meet your mentor and ask if there’s anything specific they would like you to read up on beforehand. You can have a look around the ward and see some of the machines you will come across on your time there. This was the one placement I didn’t manage to get to before starting and the first day nerves were ridiculous!

Do some reading before starting

I say this about every placement but I feel like a critical care placement really does need some pre-reading. Even if it’s just brushing up on your a&p knowledge! My placement had a student pack that contained common equipment and common medications used, as well as a list of reasons why a patient would be transferred to HDU/ITU which I found really useful as it gave me a little insight before starting. You can see my critical care series here.

It’s normal to be worried or terrified, I was!

Critical care was my first placement of second year, after spending the whole of first year in a community hospital on an elderly rehab ward. I hadn’t been on an acute ward before critical care. I loved it from day 1 and really thrived there, it developed my confidence so much! I walked in on day 1 terrified, feeling that I would never know what I was doing. This is normal I can promise you that. Trust your own skills and knowledge and know that the nurses there don’t expect you to know everything about the area, it’s too specialised for that. Just go in eager to learn and you cannot go wrong!

Develop knowledge of normal anatomy and what happens when it becomes abnormal

You may already have a good understanding of a&p, enhance this by reading up on pathophysiology. This is the explanations of how conditions develop and progress. It can really help your understanding of why patients are in HDU/ITU and what the treatment plan is.

Ask questions, utilise the knowledge that the nurses and doctors have in this area

The nurses and doctors in this area are so knowledgeable and in my experience, more than happy to share all this knowledge with students who are willing to learn. There are no silly questions and you will get to see some interesting things on a critical care placement! I watched intubations, extubations, trachestomy insertion, ecgs, sedation breaks and experienced my first arrest situation (which is very different in a critical care area because you can see it developing before it actually occurs). Remember to talk through things you see with your mentor and write reflections on any relevant experiences you have on critical care.

Learn the names of equipment used

When I was managing my own patient, in the afternoon I would take the time to fill the bed space trolley up with the essentials. If you know the names of the equipment used, it can really help your mentor and show your own initiative to fill the trolley up in quiet periods. Learn the bedside checks as well and how to carry these out, this is a job you can be doing for your mentor at the beginning of shifts whilst they carry out other tasks.

Brush up on your SBAR and A-E handovers

These are used every time you hand over on critical care (in my experience) and I soon learnt the quickest way to handover whilst still including all the information needed for the nurses taking over the care of your patient. It is a quick and concise way to hand over and means all hand overs include the relevant information.

Take a notebook, this is a must for any placement but especially for this one!

There is so much to learn on this placement, I filled two pocket notebooks in my 6 weeks in critical care! Make notes on everything, ask questions, use quiet time to research common medications using the ward BNF, read medical notes and make a note of any terminology you don’t understand so you can research it later on.

Learn the common medications used there and how they work

This really helped me to understand why patients were on medications and how the different doses worked. Ask your mentor for the common medications used and spend some time researching why they are used and how they help the patient. You can read the common medications I came across in critical care here.

If it is a short placement, use it to develop your medication knowledge and handover skills

If you have critical care for a spoke placement, you may not have time to fully develop your knowledge of the ward but you can use it to develop your handover skills and how to care for a critical patient. Enjoy every shift, take every opportunity and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Love,

T x

Recommended reading for a critical care placement

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Acute and Critical Care in Adult Nursing

img_2524Part of the transforming nursing practice series, which I am a big fan of! This book contains everything you would need to know before and during a placement in a critical care area. Includes information on ABGs and  is separated into sections such as pain, respiratory distress etc making it easy to read in sections.

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care Nursing

img_2523This book is small enough to carry around in your bag and explains most procedures you are likely to encounter on a critical care placement. Includes sections on common medications used and sections on disorders affecting different systems within the body.

Critical Care Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!

img_2525This is another series of books that I am a fan of, they explain things in a way that is easy for everyone to understand – perfect for students who may not have had an acute placement before. This book includes explanations of over 100 disorders you may come across in a critical care environment. The cartoon pictures included provide a little bit of light-hearted humour as well!

Intensive Care Nursing: A Framework for Practice 

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This book is described as the ‘bible of intensive care nursing’. It may be useful to read this book when you have read one of the others or if you decide to progress into a career in critical care, however it is a fantastic book and one which I read bits of during my time on ICU.

Websites

ABGs – you will not be expected to fully understand these but if you can go into the placement with a basic understanding it will help you understand some of the results

ECGs – you will not be expected to fully understand these but here are a few sources if you would like to do some reading on them

Tracheostomy care

You can read my critical care blog series here

Love,

T x

*Book Review* Notes on a nervous planet

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img_2948A few weeks ago I reached a breaking point. I was done with social media, done with looking at other people and questioning why I wasn’t like them. I tweeted about it and amongst the replies, @EnigmaGirl81 told me I needed to read this book. I had seen previous books of @matthaig1 but hadn’t read any so this was my first experience of his writing. I ordered the book the next day and waited for it to arrive. Amazon delivered it quickly and I sat down to read it.

 

The book is described as being a ‘personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century’. It was written based on Matt Haigs’ experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, linking what he felt to the world around him. Matt includes many honest recollections of his own experiences’ and coping strategies, which I’m sure many people can relate their own anxieties to. 

There are a number of sections but it was the section on social media that really resonated with me. I have spent hours and hours scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, comparing myself to other student nurses, to other girls and wondering why I couldn’t look like them. I’m 30 years old and having self-esteem issues because I don’t look like the streams of girls looking perfect on Instagram, so how do 15,16,17-year-old girls feel?! I’m more than aware that the pictures are sometimes filtered and edited but that doesn’t stop me comparing myself to those girls and wishing I looked more like Kim Kardashian and less like me.

In the book, there is a chapter where Matt Haig asked his Twitter followers – ‘Is social media good or bad for your mental wellbeing?’ and one tweet, in particular, I really related to. 

@deansmith7 I can find myself comparing my behind-the-scenes footage (loneliness, anxiety etc) to people’s highlights reel (socialising, success etc). I know it’s not a true reflection of their lives but it can still get to me. 

People choose what they want to post online, so it’s natural to only choose the good moments. Posting the pictures where you look your best. discarding of the 50 other ones you took before you were in just the right angle for the perfect selfie. Talking about the good days and achievements, leaving out the rubbish days or ‘failures’. 

Life appears to have become a daily struggle to validate ourselves through the likes and comments from other people. 

I would recommend this book to anyone, a perfect manual on how to navigate the modern world and to keep your own head. Funny, honest and real – Matt Haig is a fantastic author with a unique writing style. 

There are so many quotes in the book that I could include, but here are a few of my favourites:

  • We are all connected to each other but we often feel shut out.
  • In a world of a million distractions you are still left with only one mind.
  • In an overloaded world we need to have a filter. We need to simplify things. We need to disconnect sometimes.
  • Accepting where you are in life makes it so much easier to be happy for other people without feeling terrible about yourself.

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This is my favourite page 👌

 

 

 

 

You can purchase Notes on a Nervous Planet here.

Love,

T x

 

 

How to start blogging

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There have been some great blogs appearing recently on twitter, influenced by the 30 day July blogger challenge (@BloggersNurse) and the @WeNurses #70nursebloggers. I often see people asking how they can start a blog or for advice on what to blog about so I thought I would compile another one of my top tip posts around getting started as a student nurse blogger!

1. Choose your blogging platform

There are a number of free blogging platforms out there including WordPress and Blogger that are easy to use and can be personalised to how you want them. When you have been blogging a while, you could purchase a new theme or your own custom site address but for starting out the free ones are great.

2. Create a name

Try to choose something original and relevant to you. I chose student nurse and beyond because it describes where I am now and also allows me to carry on blogging using the same name once I qualify. There are some great blog names out there and you can really inject your own personality into them.

3. Personalise your blog

You can choose different themes and colour schemes to make your blog stand out. If you are a dab hand with graphics, you can design your own header or you can use one of the preloaded ones on the blogging site. I had my header designed by a friend and it gives my blog a personalised edge. Upload your own photos to give your blog a personal feel as well.

4. Create your first post

If you are a student nurse starting a blog, I would recommend blogging first about why you decided to start your nursing journey and why you chose the branch you did. This gives the reader an insight into you and helps to create a rapport with readers. Your posts don’t need to be too long and can be written in an informal style.

5. Read other blogs

Reading other blogs can help you to see different writing styles and what you may like to write about. If you see a topic on someone’s blog that you would like to write about, credit them within your post. It’s fine to take inspiration from other blogs, everyone does but people spend a lot of time of their posts so try not to just reword their posts to present as your own. Use your own skills and talent to create original content to you.

6. Don’t rely on a schedule

My advice would be to not put pressure on yourself when it comes to regular posting. Some bloggers post regularly and some don’t. Whatever works for you and your own schedule is good! Sometimes you can feel pressured to post once a week and it’s an added worry when you get busy and cannot manage to post that week.

7. Enjoy blogging!

I love blogging and find it really enjoyable to write, I like creating my top tip posts because I can give advice from my own experiences and if it even helps one person then that is fantastic! I personally stay away from commenting on political nursing issues but other bloggers comment on these really well (@Ewout1985, @CharlotteRCN, @JeepersMcCoy, @SchofieldRosie to name but a few). You can write about whatever you want to, but be mindful to maintain confidentiality at all times and to remain professional within your writing.

8. Don’t worry about the readers

It can take a while to build a regular readership on your blog, and even if you write a blog post to find only 5 people have read it it doesn’t matter! Write your blogs for you and if other people find them useful/interesting then that is a bonus. Blogging can soon become a ‘chore’ if you’re constantly writing to try to please other people.

9. Share your post

Promote your blog on social media – Twitter is a great place to share blogs! Some useful # to pop on your posts are: #nursebloggers #WeStNs #studentnurse

10. Continue blogging!

So you’ve got your first post out there and you really enjoyed writing it! Now carry on! Blog about your uni experience, your placement areas, your personal opinions, anything you want to write about.

If you want more information on how to start blogging, pop over to @WeNurses on twitter where there are some useful infographics to get you started!

Share your blog links with me as I love to read new blogs 😘

Love,

T x

My next placement is WHERE?!?

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My last placement was critical care and I’m sure you’ve all seen me banging on about how much I loved it 😂 So I was a little apprehensive about where my next placement would be and how it would compare to critical care. I know we shouldn’t compare placements and I would go into any future placement ready to learn and excited for the opportunity, but when you’ve had a placement as good as my critical care one was, it can be difficult not to worry about what future placement experiences you would receive.

We receive our placement allocations 4 weeks before we are due to start them, so I woke up on Monday morning to log in and check my allocation. I checked the placement and went back to sleep. When I woke up an hour later, I thought I had dreamt what it said. So I logged back on to find I hadn’t imagined it at all. I WOULD BE GOING TO NEONATAL FOR MY NEXT PLACEMENT!! 

Neonatal is somewhere I hadn’t even thought of having a placement, it had crossed my mind for my 4-week elective at the end of year 3 but it is notoriously hard to get as it is a popular choice. To receive it as a spoke placement is fantastic and I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend 4 weeks on neonatal.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous because I really am! Having read the student handbook, it appears that a few of the skills learnt within critical care will be transferable to neonatal but there will be a lot of new learning to be done. Plus, the fact that these are little babies and not adults scares me! What if I ‘break’ one of the little babies?! (Now I know this is irrational and I will not be ‘breaking’ any babies 😂 but it is still a worry!) Everything is different, they are so tiny (even full-term babies are tiny) and need caring for in a way that is very different from the adults I have cared for in the past. I will be completely out of my comfort zone here but I was entering critical care, after spending a year in a community hospital.  The idea of looking after critically ill babies in neonatal terrifies me, but the idea of looking after critically ill adults also terrified me and I thrived on that placement.

I don’t have any experience with children as I don’t have my own so it will be a huge learning curve but one that I am very excited for. If you’ve experienced a placement on neonatal, any tips will be gratefully received 😊

Love,

T x

 

 

Revision! Revision! Revision!

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Here are my top tips for revision!

  • Start early. As soon as the exam date is announced, plan how you will organise your revision.
  • Plan your time. I had a revision schedule so I planned 3 hours of revision a day (with a 15 minute break) where possible and stuck to this. My exam was anatomy & physiology so I chose a different system every week to revise.
  • Break it into sections. If your revision is for a&p, break it down into systems. If its for another module, break it down into manageable sections and try not to revise too much at once.
  • Create a checklist to keep track of your revision.

  • I have learnt to do what I call ‘skim reading’, so I can pick out the important words/points in a section of text and make my own notes on it. This improves understanding as you’re writing your own notes as you go along and also helps you to develop your paraphrasing skills.
  • Learn as you go along. Revise the things you have learnt that day in university as the information will be fresh and I find it easier to retain things if I look over them again after university has finished for the day.
  • Discover what type of learner you are. There are a number of types: visual, aural, reading/writing and kinesthetic. I learn through reading/writing, others learn through the use of colour or videos.
  • Use colour. Coloured posters, highlighters, flashcards. If it’s in colour, you may find it easy to remember instead of just being on white paper.

  • Make flashcards. I wrote a question on one side, answer on the other and asked people to test me. I also made ones with key pieces of information on to read through in my spare time. Below are some of the flashcards I created.

  • Diagrams are useful. I printed some a&p diagrams without labels on and worked on labelling them over and over again until I knew all the labels.
  • Youtube. If you’re a visual learner, there are bound to be videos on youtube for your subject. If you are revising for a&p, crash course with Hank is fantastic.
  • Utilise available apps. Khan Academy is fantastic for a&p, it’s free and includes quizzes.
  • Put posters around the house. During your exam you may be able to visualise the room and the information in there. It may also help you to revise as every room you go in with have some information to look at whatever you are doing at the time.

  • I have seen people recommending recording yourself talking about your revision and listening to it as you fall asleep on a night can help. I haven’t tried this myself but you could always try it to see if it works for you!
  • Find a quiet space. Try to revise on your own, I like to listen to music quietly in the background but others prefer silence. You will learn pretty quickly what works best for you.
  • Use mnemonics. You can create these and by remembering these, it helps you to remember the more complex thing it stands for. An example is: for the layers of the epidermis, they all begin with stratum. So to remember the order of the layers (superficial to deepest):

Clever (Corneum)

Ladies (Lucidum)

Get (Granulosum)

Skin (Spinosum)

Beautiful (Basale)

(This is from my fantastic a&p lecturer @JaneTurnerStH who told us some fantastic mnemonics).

  • Try to get plenty of rest. A well rested mind will help you to revise and retain information.
  • Remember to keep your energy levels up whilst revising, this helps with concentration levels and gives you an opportunity for a 15 minute break. Snack on fruit and try to limit caffeine as this can cause slumps in concentration levels.

  • If you can access past papers, these are great to get a feel for the style of questions and what will be required in the test.
  • Consider revising in groups if this is how you like to work, you will be able to test each other and assist with each other’s knowledge.
  • Celebrate reaching revision targets as this helps to keep you motivated.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, we all learn at different rates.
  • If you know you get nervous on the morning of the exam, try not to be around other people who will be fretting and talking about the exam. It will just make you worry more.

Let me know if you have any other great tips!

Love,

T x

Images sourced from pixabay unless stated otherwise.