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.