Celebrating milestones

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Year 1 contained so many milestones in my student nurse training and I can only hope that year 2 will be just as productive. I can still remember the first time I completed a drug round or the first time I injected a patient.

Enjoy the times that you get on placement doing a skill for the first time, knowing that you understand the rationale behind it and can carry out the procedure effectively. Make a note of when you do them for the first time as they are things you can look back on throughout your training and career. Milestones feel like big achievements at the time because they are individual to you and allow you to build your confidence in the skills that you are learning. Plus in a way they make you feel like a ‘real’ student nurse because you are practicing what you may have learnt in clinical skills lessons. Don’t worry if people in your cohort seem to be learning lots of new skills and you have only learnt a few on your placement, this is not a competition and we all have times where we are able to learn lots of new skills and times where it’s ‘quieter’ and you are just practicing skills that you have already learnt.

If you would like to remember your milestones throughout your training, there are many ways to do so! The Happy Planner Company sell milestone cards which are postcard sized and allow you to write the date on them, plus a few thoughts about the milestone. CA6FB4AB-C05E-4A9C-A0EC-87FA87267230

You can write the date in your diary or create a scrapbook of important days. You could even follow @PUNCadp lead and create a Year 1 highlights poster (pop onto her twitter to see for yourself!). You may want to begin a journal or follow my lead and create a blog. Find the way that works for you!

If you like to share your milestones on social media, go for it! If you’re a private person and prefer to keep them to yourself, that is also great. Don’t feel pressured into having to share your milestones just because others are doing so.

These milestones are what help us to see how far we have come as student nurses throughout our training and I feel we should be talking about them more, enabling us to show the positive sides of nursing and placement days.

Let me know the milestones that you are particularly proud of!

Love,

T x

Changing years: Expectation vs reality

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Being a student nurse is often about change and particularly transition, time seems to fly and when you’re told in the very beginning that time will fly, you may not believe it. But the longer you study, the more you realise that this is exactly the case. And now in the face of dissertation and nearing the end of my training, first year seems so far away, but it has passed in the blink of an eye.

Through this process, I’ve had a lot of questions. Some of those times, I’ve been fortunate to be able to catch another student nurse on placement about what I can expect from my future in nursing, but part of the time — I haven’t known what to expect and it has felt like entering into the unknown.

Sitting down with Toni, a second year student nurse, we decided together to do a mini Q&A on what to expect, from the eyes of someone who has been in her position.

Q. I have achieved good grades in year 1 and I’m worried about keeping up the same standard in year 2 now that they count towards the final degree classification. Is there a big jump from level 4 to level 5 academic writing?

The expectations shift a little, level 4 is often a descriptive form of writing and this year you will be expected to analyse your description more, to understand why you are saying that, from what the evidence base is telling you and to consider why pieces of information can contradict each other. In second year, I learned more about how to effectively appraise my evidence, before I reference it within a piece of academic work.

It isn’t a huge leap, the word level probably makes it sound more scary than it is. You will be guided by your lecturers, the library staff are always available for support. Your writing won’t necessarily change, rather you’re developing on the foundations that you’ve laid in your first year.

Q. I had a brilliant community hub placement in year 1 that was mainly elderly patients and I wonder if this had put me at a disadvantage coming into the acute hospital for my next placements. Will I be expected to know so much more in year 2 placements than I did in year 1?

I had a similar experience of moving from a year in the community in second year, to a placement in ITU in third year. I felt like a fish out of water! I found it was important to communicate these feelings with my mentor, to explain that my memory needed jogging about working in a hospital as I’d lost track of routines and schedules.

Placement in the community does not put you at an disadvantage, instead you learn a separate group of skills to what you may now develop going into a hospital. These skills are highly applicable, they are still nursing skills that you can utilise in any placement. For me it really just boiled down to grasping the new routine.

You will be expected to develop from first year, but that isn’t a bad thing. It’s a gradual thing. Your mentors will guide you, you will evaluate yourself as you learn more throughout the year.

Q. Almost every time I see a post on social media about year 2 it is negative, are year 2 blues really a ‘thing’?

I think this is something that we often end up a bit blasé about. Being a student nurse is a journey of highs and lows. There have been times when I’ve felt frazzled by my course, others where I’ve just known it’s perfect for me. I think the blues comes from the idea that you’re quite a distance from the beginning, but also a distance from finishing, so sometimes it feels like you still have so much to do.

My advice for this is to talk to your peers, your mentors, your lecturers. Look after yourself, practice good self-care. I always found it helped me to reflect on why I wanted to nurse in the very beginning, always go back to the start. Second year is hard, particularly emotionally, but a cup of tea and a chat can go a long way.

Q. The workload in year 1 appeared to be manageable with assignments launched early on in the year with 5-6 months to complete them. Is the workload more than year 1?

On reflection as a third year, where I have had OSCEs and I’m working on my dissertation, I do feel now that my second year workload was more manageable than this year. However, the pressures do increase and you will be balancing assignments while on placement, but this helps you to learn time management skills that are ultimately essential to life as a registered nurse.

This was a really tough part for me! Balancing moving up a level, placements, reading further, they all took more time. I cannot stress how important time management is to a successful nurse education. It’s hard work, but with good management it is manageable. Lecturers will not set assignments to be cruel, they set them to meet competencies and they set them with due dates that are manageable. It’s about taking control of your time, your education and what you want from it.

I found that in second year that I was able to explore my own interests a little more in my assignments, being able to choose an assignment focus from several case studies and following one. This is a good opportunity for you to identify the gaps in your knowledge and fill them, often also helping you to discover what areas of nursing you have a passion for.

Second year is a journey, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Enjoy the time you have, manage the time you have, remember why you started and remember that you’ve come so far. First year is completed and you are entering the next stage of your education.

Good luck for this year!

Love,

T & A x

The reality of being a student nurse

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I’m just starting second year and thought now would be the perfect time to describe what being a student nurse is really like. Being a student nurse is a mixture of emotions and achievements, I’ve had amazing days and some days that were not so good. But I have survived year 1 of 3! Have a read of the following realities that I have discovered during my first year.

You won’t believe people when they tell you it’s hard work. 

Now I don’t want to put anyone off but this degree is hard work. There’s no other way to describe it. That’s not me saying it is more work than any other degree, I have only experienced one so can only comment on this one. You will have assignments to complete and exams to revise for, it’s easy to get caught up in university and placements then before you know it, it’s the week of the deadline and you haven’t even started. During placement you will be doing 37.5 hours at least, with assignment work on top. Include any extra paid work you have to do around uni/placement to live and any extra reading/research for placement and you suddenly have very few hours of free time for yourself.

Shift patterns.

You will be expected to work shifts covering 24/7 care. You will be doing nights, long days (12.5 or 14 hour shifts in some placement areas) and you will be expected to do weekends. There are very few placement areas that are Mon-Fri 9-5 so if you had this idea in your head, forget about it now. I’ve had 3 placements up to now and none of them have been 9-5. Get a good pair of shoes because you will be on your feet a lot.

Social life? Remind me what that is again.

Some people may disagree with me here but you will struggle to find time to have a social life. I have been to events and nights out in my first year don’t get me wrong, but it has been few and far between. And every time I have felt guilty that I’m not at home doing something towards university work. Friends that are not on the same degree or at university may not understand how busy you are and that you can’t see them for weeks on end, I’ve lost touch with a few friends because they don’t understand that you really cannot see them for a few weeks because you’re snowed under and that it’s not just an excuse.

Even if you have healthcare experience, you will relearn the core care skills on placement. 

Don’t feel disheartened if you start your first placement and you are working with the HCAs for a few weeks. Your mentors will expect you to learn the core care skills when you start your placement, even if you have years and years of care experience. You can read my previous blog on the phrase “too posh to wash” here. You probably won’t be giving out medications or doing ‘nursey’ things for a while.

You will have doubts. 

There will be days where you wonder why you are doing this. I had a fantastic first year but I still had plenty of days where I thought about quitting and going back to full time work. These were silly moments and I wouldn’t have quit, but you will find out who you can rely on to have a proper rant to and who will talk some sense into you on these occasions. Your support network will become a lifeline so keep a good one around you.

You may struggle financially. 

My bursary and maintenance loan cover my rent and my diesel to uni/placement. I have to work outside of the degree because I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise. I try not to work much when I’m on placement but this means I have to work a lot during uni weeks and annual leave weeks. The current student finance situation may be more positive but there have been months where I haven’t had money left over after bills/diesel. It will all be worth it in the end! If you can work around the degree, try to save a little bit each month to cover you in case there are months where deadlines are due or placement is busy and you can’t fit any shifts in. Try to join the bank or NHSP at your local hospital as you can then pick and choose shifts around your availability, Sunday shifts and nights are the best paid so you could do a few of these a month.

Prepare to be emotionally challenged. 

There will be days where you are absolutely elated, and days where you are so worn down you cry at the tiniest thing. You will experience many firsts throughout your training, some positive and some negative but each one will be a learning curve. You will experience end of life care and the death of a patient. You may experience having to be involved in CPR. If you encounter situations that overwhelm you or challenge you emotionally, your mentors are there for support. You can also talk to your peers and university support teams. It’s ok to be upset and overwhelmed, these are natural human emotions so don’t be afraid to show them when appropriate.

You are supernumerary. 

Please remember that you are not counted in the staffing numbers. If someone rings in sick or is moved to another ward, you are not there to cover for them. Yes everyone gets involved with care and the tasks on the ward, but you should never be used to replace a staff member that isn’t there. You are within your rights to speak to someone if you feel you are being used within the numbers and not as a supernumerary student. Most placement areas are fantastic and won’t pose this issue.

Being a student nurse is often fantastic. I have experienced so much within my first year and I’m excited to see what second year brings. Time really does fly and imagine how good you’ll be feeling at the end of year 3 when you are qualified and waiting for your pin to arrive to start as a NQN. If you do experience times when you are struggling, please remember to talk to someone about it. Don’t bottle those feelings up as you are not the only one feeling that way.

Love,

T x

 

 

End of year 1!

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I can now officially say that I am a second year student nurse! There have been times throughout this first year that I thought I would never be able to say that, I haven’t found the assignments to be particularly challenging but I have doubted myself in every way possible this year. Is my writing good enough? Am I good enough on placement? Will I ever have the right amount of knowledge to qualify?

I’m sure these are thoughts that a lot of us have had and will have again throughout the next 2 years of our journeys!

I am excited to get started with year 2 and get some more assignments, it seems like forever since I had anything to research and write about 😂 Although I may not be saying that once I get the dreaded research assignment!

My first placement of year 2 will be on ITU/HDU for 6 weeks, with 2 weeks annual leave in between. However, I won’t be off for the 2 weeks as I will be working at my bank job. I do have a visit to Harry Potter Studios to look forward to on the 6th April though!

I have so many expectations for second year, mainly due to what other students have said and things I have read on Internet forums. I am worried about the year 2 blues (although I worry about everything as you will know if you follow me on twitter, so that is nothing new 😂). I know I have a fantastic support network around me to get me through if the year 2 blues do hit.

I doubted myself so much at the beginning of the course and I still do now,  it’s a confidence thing and I think I’ll always be the same. I’m not the kind of person to admit to feeling like I’m good at something and would always rather play my skills down instead of shouting about them. Despite some amazing feedback from both my year 1 placements, I still have doubts about my abilities. I can see how much I have grown throughout this first year though and hope to continue to grow throughout year two.

In year 1, I achieved grades between 70-98% and would love to keep this high standard up throughout year 2 now that the grades start to count towards my final degree classification. I make no secret of the fact that ideally I want to qualify with a first so I need to keep focused on that goal.

During first year, my future focus has shifted from ward work as I now feel this is not where I can see myself in the future. I still have a passion for cardiology though so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a placement on the cardiology ward at my placement hospital. My next placement is something completely different to my year 1 placements and I am excited to get started on there.

Let me know how you found year 2 and if you have any tips for me 😊

Love,

T x

Assignment planning

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Here are the tips that have helped me gain a first (70%+) in each of my first year assignments 😊

  • As soon as the assignment is set, write the deadline in your diary. I always write in a reminder a month before the due date as well.
  • Print the assignment brief/crib sheet off and read through the learning outcomes to ensure you know what the assignment is wanting. Also print out the marking guidance to check your final assignment against.
  • Soon after the assignment is set, sit down and make a plan of when you would like to have sections completed by.
  • If you have no idea how to make a plan for yourself, Kent University have a resource called ASK : Assignment Survival Kit. You input your start date and deadline date, it generates a plan for you with dates on to have different sections completed by.
  • Begin by finding relevant sources of information that you may use within your assignment, create a reference list with these on as you find them. It’s much easier to compile your reference list as you go along, instead of leaving it until the end.
  • Try to find references from a range of sources. Use reputable internet sites, journal articles and textbooks to give you a wide selection of resources. This also shows that you have taken the time to read around your subject instead of just using what a google search brings up.
  • There is no limit on the amount of references, I aim to have at least one every 100 words.
  • Print internet resources out so that you can highlight key points that you would like to paraphrase, this saves time returning to the website constantly. I write the reference on a sticky note and attach to the printed out resource.
  • Write your assignment in note form. Use headers such as ‘Intro’, ‘paragraph 1’ etc and just bullet point what you think you will include in these sections.
  • Write a draft and then leave it a few weeks before you look at it again. This helps to look at the assignment with ‘fresh eyes’ and spot any errors or information that is missing.
  • I write my introduction first, others write the introduction once they have wrote the main body of the assignment. Either way is fine, whichever works for you!
  • Aim to have the assignment finished around a month before the deadline, this allows time to edit and check all the references a couple of times before it is due.
  • Before submitting, check your reference list matches your in-text references. I also check that any internet links are correct and link to the correct websites.
  • CEB3DD45-5B50-42C6-813C-D3FF225DFC19This option on word will alphabetise your reference list if you highlight the full list and click it.
  • If you are going to buy one book for university, make it the Cite Them Right book. It has many different referencing styles in and I find it better to use than the website.
  • About 2 weeks before the deadline, I’ll submit my assignment into turnitin, minus my reference list, so I can see the similarity score and change anything that needs changing. I will then submit with my reference list attached.
  • Around 2 days before deadline, I will read my assignment for the last time. I will make any last minute changes and then submit for the final time.
  • If you have a couple of assignments due around the same time, try to complete one in at least draft form before you start another one. Some people can have a few assignments on the go at once, but I like to complete one in draft form before I start on another.
  • Try to complete as much as you can whilst you’re on theory time at uni, as the last thing you want to do after a placement shift is work on assignments.
  • Read your assignment out loud as this helps to pick up on any grammatical errors. Choose someone else to proofread it if you can (not the best idea to choose someone in your cohort however much you trust them!).
  • An hour a day is better than nothing!

If you’re a last minute person, you may not feel these tips are useful for you. What I would say is even if you only gather your sources of information so you have a draft reference list, this will save you time whilst you’re writing your assignment. You may find that you need more but at least you’ll have a selection ready to be used.

Let me know if you have any other useful tips!

Love,

T x

Time for placement!

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Here are my collection of top tips for your first placement, based on my own experience:

  • Visit your placement before starting if possible, it gives you a chance to check how long it will take you to get there and what the parking options are if needed. You can also meet some members of the team and be shown around the ward. I find a quick pre-placement visit helps to stop first day nerves.
  • Contact your placement and ask if there is anything specific that you need to research before starting.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to know how to do something or why your mentor is doing something, ask! That is what they are there for and should be happy to answer any questions you have.
  • Organise time with your mentor to go through your placement paperwork and remember to get your hours signed after every shift.
  • Make a note of any terms on the handover sheet or in the care plans that you do not understand and check them with your mentor when you get chance. There are often abbreviations on a handover sheet, the first time I looked at one I thought half of it was in a different language!
  • Spend time with the HCAs, they know so much about the ward routine and the patients.
  • Organise insight visits throughout your time there. I am on a rehab ward in a community hospital so I have spent time with the OTs and physios. I plan to spend time with the district nurses and ANP as well. You can arrange insight visits that are relevant to your placement and these help you to understand the roles within the MDT.
  • Ask to sit in MDT meetings, care planning meetings or other meetings on the ward. Accompany the doctor on their rounds. All these things give you an insight into how the whole ward team work together to provide care for the patients.
  • Take a packed lunch. You may be in a busy area or may not know what the catering options are at your placement, having your lunch with you takes away the stress of spending your break finding something to eat.
  • Your uniform is a reflection on you and the university so always wear a clean, ironed uniform and adhere to your university’s uniform policy regarding hair, shoes, nails etc.
  • Try not to go into placement with high expectations, you may spend a few days with the HCAs or observing your mentor for weeks before you start practicing new skills.
  • If a patient asks you a question you do not know the answer to, it is ok to say that you do not know but that you will find someone who does know the answer. Patients respect the fact you are honest enough to admit you do not know and will appreciate it when you return with the correct answer for them. This also helps to build your own knowledge.
  • Remember to stay hydrated! It is easy to forget to look after your own fluid intake when you are monitoring patients or busy with your mentor but try to keep drinking throughout the day whenever there is an opportunity.
  • Turn up on time and if you will be late, give your placement a quick ring to let them know. Also adhere to any absence policies at your university if you need time off.
  • There will be common medications that are used on your placement, try to make a note of these or ask your mentor if there is a list they can provide. It is handy to research these and to know what they are used for/a few common side effects.
  • Have a little notepad in your pocket to note down anything you will need to research later or terms you don’t understand to ask your mentor.
  • It is ok to feel out of place or overwhelmed. Speak to your mentor or your personal tutor if you are feeling this, they will help in any way they can.
  • Spend any time you can interacting with patients, they will often be experts in their own condition and you can learn so much by spending a few minutes with a patient. This also helps to build your confidence and develop your communication skills.
  • Reflect often. Every experience is a learning opportunity and by reflecting on situations you can see what could be improved upon for the next time or what was done correctly the first time.
  • Do not worry if you don’t have any previous care experience, you will develop the skills over time and it can often be beneficial to go in with no experience as you have no preconceived ideas of how things are/should be done.
  • If you do have care experience, discuss this with your mentor and utilise your existing skills whilst on the placement. However, be aware that some of the practices used within the hospital may differ to those used in care homes or community care if this is where you have gained your experience. Basic care skills are very transferable though.
  • Try not to compare your experiences with those of your cohort, I had days where it hadn’t been a good day and seeing other people really enjoying their placements made me very jealous. Other times, it was me having a brilliant day and others feeling down. It’s good to have their support but remember everyone has their own experiences and good/bad days.
  • Check with your university what you are allowed to do, for example some universities do not allow students to test blood sugar levels even if you have had the training in your employment/previous experience.
  • Remember you are allowed to say no if you do not feel comfortable trying a new skill. It is perfectly fine to observe your mentor until you do feel comfortable to give it a go!
  • Enjoy your days off, even if it means staying in your pyjamas and binge watching tv you have missed!
  • Remember that it is your first placement. Your mentor will not expect you to know or be able to do everything. Take every opportunity to learn and get involved wherever possible. Show a willingness to learn, enthusiasm and respect for the ward and you cannot go wrong 🙂

Let me know if you have any more and where your first placements are!

Love,

T x

So you’re a first year student nurse!

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As it’s September and there are so many new student nurses (and midwives) starting their time at university, here are my tips for first year 😊

  • It’s normal to be nervous on your first day, even for the first few weeks. You are meeting new people and learning new things. Over the first few weeks this feeling will pass and you will start to feel more confident as the weeks go by.
  • Get yourself a diary, it doesn’t have to be an all-singing all-dancing one as long as it has spaces to write things in every day. A week to view diary will provide enough space to keep track of your timetable and your assignment deadlines.
  • Speaking of the dreaded ‘A’ word, they are really not as bad as you will no doubt be imagining! Begin to plan as soon as you receive them, even if you spend a few weeks gathering sources to use as your evidence. Speak to your tutors for any guidance, that is what they are there for and they are more than happy to help.
  • Get to grips with the referencing style your university uses. Cite Them Right is a fantastic book that I would recommend getting, there is also a website. Do your citations and referencing as you go through your assignment, do not leave it until after as you will spend hours trying to find where you have taken your information from.
  • Learn what credible sources are and where to find these. Websites are fine to use as long as they are credible (NICE, RCN, NMC etc). Textbooks and medical journals are great sources of information as well.
  • Email assignments to yourself regularly. This protects you in case your computer crashes or the file is lost.
  • Don’t worry if you do not make ‘best friends’ straight away, it takes time to get to know people and you will make friends. There will be plenty of group work for you to get to know people you may not have spoken to.
  • As soon as you find out who your personal tutor is, email them to introduce yourself and tell them a few pieces of information about yourself. It really helps to build a rapport and to start a good relationship.
  • Speak to other student nurses on Facebook or twitter, social media can give you a fantastic support network of people who know exactly what you are feeling and can offer some brilliant advice.
  • When you receive your placement allocation, pop up and introduce yourself. It helps to relieve those first day nerves a little if you already know where the placement is, what the parking is like and having introduced yourself to a few staff members.
  • Try to stay organised, you may have work to complete whilst on placement so try to plan time each week for you to spend on your assignments.
  • Start revision for exams early, make flash cards or notes to help you. There are plenty of revision tips online you just need to find the method that works for you.
  • Organise your notes so that when it comes to writing assignments they are all in one place and you are not stressing trying to search through notepads for notes you made. I have a notebook for each different module and this helps me to keep all my information for the module together.
  • Use your diary or a calendar to map out your time, marking out theory weeks and placement weeks. This will help to keep you organised and you will know how your first year is planned out.
  • Buy a comfortable pair of shoes ready for placement- I have clarks unloops and they are like slippers. I have finished 14 hour shifts at work and my feet still feel fresh! They are cheaper on amazon than they are in clarks shops if they stock your size. Some people also recommend Sketchers but check your local trust policy as some may not allow sketchers style shoes.
  • Enjoy it as the time goes by so fast! Before you know it you will be a second year student nurse!
  • Last but not least, take time for yourself! Enjoy a social life and spend time with your friends, try not to feel guilty about not doing university work all the time. You are a student nurse but you have a life outside of university as well 😊

 

I hope you all find these tips useful, please let me know how your first few weeks are going!

Love,

T x

First placement begins!

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Rewind back to May 21st. I woke up to loads of messages telling me to check placement allocations as they had been uploaded. I went on to find I had been allocated a ward in a community hospital as my hub placement for year one. This means I will return here three times throughout the year around spoke placements and university. I did a google search of the ward and found out it was an elderly rehab ward. My first feeling was disappointment. I bank in a residential care home and thought it was going to be exactly like work, I had wanted something really different and interesting.

Everyone was excited for their placements and I was feeling deflated. I had already formed an idea in my mind that it would be boring and that I wouldn’t be able to learn much. The week before I was due to start, nerves were building and I was worrying that I wouldn’t know anything and that I would just be in the way all the time. I visited the ward and a third year student nurse showed me round. She was lovely and answered all my questions. She really put me at ease about starting the following Monday. I felt more excited about starting after I’d been so I would definitely recommend visiting your placement area before starting. Already knowing the drive and where I would park took some of the worries away as well.

I arrived on the Monday morning and went into handover. The handover sheets have everything about the patient on, including past medical history which I found really useful. The sheets have lots of abbreviations on so I wrote them all down and went through them with my mentor so I knew what they meant ready for the next days handover. I was introduced to everyone and all the staff seemed friendly. I was on shift with one of my mentors and the third year student who had shown me round the week before. She was on her management placement and she really helped me get settled into the routine of the ward in my first week. She was always willing to answer questions and allowed me to ‘get stuck in’ pretty much straight away. I spent the first day getting to know the ward routine and spending time with the patients.

Over the first week, I completed my initial interview with my mentor and we discussed what I would like to learn whilst I was there. I decided that I would like to improve my manual blood pressure taking, my placement area is perfect for that as they only take manual blood pressures. My confidence in taking manual blood pressures has increased already. At first I was worried the patients wouldn’t want a student doing it but they have all been more than willing to let me.

I am in my second week and I have already learnt so much! I have learnt how to fill out admittance and discharge paperwork, completed care plans, taken bm’s, administered enoxaparin sodium injections (these are subcutaneous injections), redressed wounds, applied leg bandages, completed district nurse referrals, continence assessments and removed a female catheter. I think it’s been a big advantage already having care experience as it meant I could go straight into shadowing my mentor, instead of spending a few weeks learning personal care skills. I have still helped the HCA’s with personal care when needed but it wasn’t something I had to learn. The HCA’s on my ward are fantastic, they know so much about the patients and are really helpful. I was conscious that I was going into their working area and didn’t want to be an inconvenience to them but they have all made me feel so welcome. Don’t be scared to ask your mentor anything at all, I am constantly asking mine questions about patients and medication.

I can honestly say that my first thoughts about the ward were completely wrong. Sometimes it is slow, especially in the afternoons but if there hasn’t been anything to do with my mentor I have spent this time talking to the patients. They love telling you their stories and it’s great to see them excited when they know they are going to be discharged. It is hard to step out of the carer role from work and into the student nurse role but I think I’m getting to grips with it now. I haven’t found it boring at all and I feel like I’ve learnt lots already! Being on a quieter ward allows you more time with your mentor, more time to ask questions and longer patient interactions. I’m already looking forward to returning in October and I haven’t finished this placement block yet!

Let me know any good or bad placement experiences you have had 🙂

Love,
T x

 

 

Curating @nursingSUni

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From Monday 29th May 2017, I curated the @nursingSUni twitter account. Curating is logging into an account and tweeting for a period of time. The account is a partnership between academic staff and nursing students. You can be a student at any university across the country, it does not have to be Salford and you are supported by Wendy Sinclair (@wlasinclair) and Moira McLoughlin (@levylass) throughout. They are in the background all week should you need any advice or guidance.

 

I found the opportunity through twitter and decided to apply. To apply all you need to do is message the account and go from there. You can pick the week you would like to curate and the weeks run from 7:00am Monday to 6:59am the following Monday. It is a fantastic opportunity that allows you to interact with a wide range of people, other student nurses interacted with me and were curious about how my uni did things differently to theirs. I followed these students so I now have a good network of student nurses/midwives on twitter, although I am always looking to finding more 😊 I also interacted with qualified healthcare professionals who gave me some great advice about my future career goals.

In the days leading up to my week, I was emailed my username and password for the account and some advice on what/what not to tweet about. There are minimal restrictions on what you can tweet about, however all tweets must stay within the NMC social media code and should be relevant to being a student nurse. I refrained from posting or retweeting anything containing political views, especially as it was the week before the general election and there was a lot of political talk on twitter. I tweeted about things such as what my day at uni consisted of, how I like to participate in self-care and also how I revise for exams. I just tweeted away as if I was on my own account but remained mindful that this was an university account and my tweets would reach a wider audience than on my own account. I also participated in a couple of We Nurses twitter chats whilst curating which were both relevant to me, one was around student self care and the other was about how to keep safe on social media.

I received some lovely feedback from my week on the account which I have included below. I thoroughly enjoyed my week and would love to do it again later on in the year when I have completed a few blocks on placement and feel like I have more experience to talk about.

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If anyone would like more information, don’t hesitate to contact me @flamingcopper or the university account @nursingSUni!

Love,

T x

Its official!

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I can now officially call myself a student nurse! I am in the March 2017 cohort so my academic year runs from March – February and I will hopefully qualify in March 2020. Here is a recap of my first week as a student nurse.

Monday – I won’t lie, Monday morning I was terrified. I’m not the best at meeting new people, I’m quite shy until you know me so I can come across as quiet. I probably have the same worries everyone else had: will people like me, will I make a fool of myself, can I even do this 😬 It’s handy that I’m starting with three friends but it has been a slight disadvantage too, as it meant I didn’t have to force myself to talk to other people because I already had someone to talk to. We did chat to a few ladies outside and we did an ice breaker where we had to speak to others that we didn’t know.

Tuesday – We spent the Tuesday morning session meeting some more lecturers and other people who work around the university. Four students from year 2 and year 3 came in for a quick chat so we were able to ask them questions about the course and placement, which was very helpful and allowed us to get a better perspective of the three years ahead. We attended the freshers fair in the afternoon, there were representatives from RCN and Unison amongst others. I would recommend attending yours as there are a few freebies to get your hands on. It’s a great way to ask questions and find lots of things out about the different organisations you can join too.

Wednesday – The morning consisted of a meeting with Occupational Health who explained the vaccination procedures and when we would be having these. In the afternoon, we enrolled! This is a very important part of the first week as this confirms you have attended the course so any bursary/student loan can be processed and paid 😊 This usually takes around 10 working days from university confirmation so try to save a little money before starting to get you through the first 2/3 weeks.

Thursday – Uniform fitting 😁 It still didn’t really feel real for me until I was trying the uniform on and I looked in the mirror. ‘Blimey, you’re actually here! You are actually going to be a student nurse’

Everyone that I have chatted to this week seems lovely and I think we are going to be a great cohort full of success stories! The actual fun starts next week when lectures begin, I am excited to start learning and revising for tests (Yes I know I’m a little bit strange 😂)

Let me know how your first weeks have been.

T x

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