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  • 04 February 2022
  • 10 min read

What To Expect In Second Year On Placement

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    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
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“I'm going to be be very honest with you, it will be stressful, but you will enjoy it.”

If you find yourself worrying about your second year placements, worry no more. Alex is here with everything you need to be prepared.

Topics Covered In This Article



Placement Experience

Know Your Limitations

You’re Not Alone

It's Okay To Make Mistakes

Be Proud Of Your Achievements

Stay Organised


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Hi, everyone, I am back with another video.

If you do not know who I am, my name is Alex.

I am a third year student Nurse currently studying children's Nursing.

So today's video is going to be all about what to expect in second year as a student Nurse, when you're on placement, what is going to be expected of you, some of the feelings you might feel and I'm just gonna give a little bit of advice from my own experience as well.

I'm gonna kind of start off the video by talking about what my preconceptions were about second year when I just finished first year, how I was feeling, what I was expecting, things like that, and then, compare it to how my experience actually was and what you should expect yourself.


When I was going into second year or when I just finished first year, I knew that the jump would be quite intense.

I knew it'd be quite fast. 'Cause obviously in first year on placement, you are very heavily supported.

A lot of the stuff you do is observing other people doing things, observing professionals doing things.

You are observed a lot. And a lot of the things that you're doing are like your basic Nursing skills, your basic assessments, your observations, things like that.

And you start, you know, writing notes and things like that.

First year is like getting a feel for how things work in the hospital or wherever you're placed.

And then, the second year obviously, the content you learn becomes a lot more complex.

So with that, you have to be kind of, stepped up in your Nursing practice.

By the end of second year, you are expected to be able to make the lead in the care of one to two patients.

By the end of second year, you are expected to be able to take the lead in the care of one to two patients.

So, from knowing that when you finished first year, you can obviously gauge what to expect.

So I expected, you know, that I would be expected to know a lot more, to be able to handle problems by myself, obviously reporting any issues or concerns to my assessor and my supervisor.

But I knew that I would have to handle a lot more things by myself, I'd have to be more organized, more independent, and I would be tested a lot and challenged, but in a good way.

I was quite nervous because I was like thinking, oh my gosh, I'm not ready to have that much responsibility.

I felt like I didn't know enough.

I felt like, you know, that I needed more time because it goes so quickly.

That's the problem.

It goes so quickly.

But I think, because it goes so quickly, you might then think, "oh, I don't know anything."

But once you are thrown in the deep end you actually realize how much knowledge gets tested and you realize how much you actually know.

And I feel like that happened to me.

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Placement Experience

So in second year, I had two placements because one of my second year placements counted as a first year placement due to COVID.

So my official second year placements were on a kind of general medical surgical ward and then, on an actual surgical ward in two different hospitals within my trust.

I enjoyed both of them.

I learned a lot of new skills, I got to practice things I'd never done before.

I got to practice things that I'd tried in simulation and I was able to do on real human children.

I think, I just worked on really becoming a Nurse and like, working with my assessors and my supervisors.

They would say to me, you know,

'Oh, which patient do you want to take? Which patient are you interested in?"

And I'd be like, "Oh, I'm interested in X patient. Or I want to know more about this condition."

And then, I would basically take over all the cares minus all the stuff I couldn't do, so like IVs and things like that.

But other than that, I would prepare all the oral meds, all the NG meds, NJ meds, whatever.

Do all the OBS, do all the documentation for normally, it was about two patients, yeah.

Know Your Limitations

But don't feel pressured to look after two patients on every shift by yourself, just because you feel like you're expected to do that.

I feel like every second year is on their own journey.

And some people might feel more confident doing things at an earlier stage than someone else.

So don't feel like you're pressured to do certain things on your own, especially if you don't know how to, because that could be really unsafe.

And if you just don't want to, or you want more guidance, that's okay.

Like you don't, you shouldn't ever be made to feel like you have to do something.

Like, if you can't do it or you don't want to just ask for support for your own safety and for the patient's safety as well.

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You’re Not Alone

So with all of that in mind in my own experience, I think all the preconceptions I had and like the fears I had, a lot of the things that I expected of second year were true that like, I had so much more independence.

But it was great.

And I was never made to feel like I was alone; I think that's one thing that's really important.

And I was never made to feel like I was alone; I think that's one thing that's really important.

I've had a lot of people message me saying, “oh, I'm really scared to go onto placement like in second year 'cause I feel like, I don't know anything, I feel like I'm not ready to do things by my things by myself' but you're not on your own.

You still have the support of the other Nurses or your supervisor or your assessor.

You still have the support of other students around you on the placement.

You're never gonna be forced to do something you don't know how to do or that you don't want to do.

You're not on your own.

Obviously, you're taking the lead on a small caseload of patients, but you're not literally on your own.

So, don't panic if you feel like you can't handle something.

Like is okay to, you know, ask for help, ask for guidance, because that's what you're there for. At the end of the day, you're there to learn.

You're not qualified yet.

You don't have to know anything.

Even as a qualified Nurse, you don't have to know everything.

Like it's impossible to know everything.

It's Okay To Make Mistakes

So, just go easy on yourself.

Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to know everything.

And a lot of the time that you will probably be tested a lot more.

You'll probably be asked a lot more questions by the other Nurses just to kind of test your knowledge.

But it's fine; if you don't know something, they will help you through it.

You don't have to be embarrassed.

I think that's one thing about me.

Like, I don't like to be wrong 'cause I feel like I failed, but it's not a bad thing to be wrong.

If someone asks you a question and you get answer wrong, it's fine. If you make a mistake, you learn from it.

That's the whole point. I would just say, please like, don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Obviously, it depends on the mistake.

It's okay, things can be fixed, you always learn from it and then you'll never do it again.

That's the thing, whenever you make a mistake, you learn from it and you will never do it again because you're just like, "oh, that can't happen to me again."

Just be prepared for more independence.

And it doesn't have to be a scary thing to be more independent. It's quite exciting actually, 'cause I think that's one thing I really enjoyed about second year placements because I felt more like a Nurse.

Be Proud Of Your Achievements

I felt like I had more control over the care that I was giving.

I felt really proud of myself when I could like, identify there's things were going wrong, or if a patient was deteriorating or identifying something wrong socially within the family of the patient, anything like that.

Like, I felt proud of myself knowing that I could retain all the information that I'd learned and I could really look after and support my patients and their families. So, it's so rewarding.

I think second year is way more rewarding than first year because of that.

So just look forward to it.

You're naturally going to be be nervous, I was terrified but that's normal.

You're naturally going to be be nervous, I was terrified but that's normal.

And that's the same way that I feel about going into third year, more of like, the rest of my third year placements.

You're going to feel nervous going into a new environment naturally.

So, just keep that in your stride.

Do your best.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself and you will honestly be fine.

Ask for support because you're not on your own.

You're more independent, but you're not on your own.

So ask for advice.

Ask questions before you do something.

If you're not sure, ask to observe more things.

Just take advantage of the experiences that you receive.

Stay Organised

Keep organised as well, because every year your pad changes.

So the things that you have to fill out in the pad, the skills and episodes of care, medication management, it's slightly different in each pad and obviously, becomes increasingly more complicated and there's more information to complete.

So keep on top of that.

Don't wait till the last minute to complete it because obviously, Nurses are very busy and they don't have time to be setting out three hours of the shift to help you complete everything.

Like it is hard and you do feel like you're bugging them trying to be like, "oh, can you sign my pad, can you sign my pad", but it has to be on at the end of the day.

So, make sure you spread it out.

Don't leave anything to the last minute. It feel like more pressure.


So expect to feel pressured.

Expect to be tested.

It may get a bit emotional at times.

I'm going to be be very honest with you, it will be stressful, but you will enjoy it. And it is so, so rewarding.

Like I really enjoyed second year. As stressful as it was, I really enjoyed it.

So, I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Yeah, I feel like that's all I can really say in regards to helping you guys and giving you an insight into what to expect.

But if you have any more questions that you wanna ask me about second year placements then please don't hesitate to contact me.

Yeah, even though the video was a bit of a ramble about my experience and just general advice, I hope the video was helpful.

And I'll see you in the next one, bye

About the author

I'm a Newly Registered Nurse specialising in Children’s Nursing, which I have a great passion for. I feel very strongly about equal treatment and care for everyone, as it sets all children and young people up for the best future possible! I create vlogs following my Nursing journey and advice videos to help others along their own journeys too.

    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 7686

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