• 08 December 2019
  • 9 min read

Making the most of your nursing placement to prepare for when you qualify

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Placement will, one day, be your nurse job. If we can make the most out of placement then we will prepare ourselves best for when nursing becomes our work.

Play video: "placement is actually super, super, super beneficial for the future"

Topics covered in this video

0.00 Introduction

1.23 Everyone is nervous on their first placement

2.25 Gaining autonomy on placement by your third year

3.25 I'm on my third week of placement and being given independence

4.15 Confidence WILL come - I'm getting mine now

5.58 I'm now thinking about placement as my job

6.33 Aim to get as much from placement as possible

7.39 Conclusion - placement will make you realise you're improving

0.00 Introduction

Hi, welcome back! Today I really want to talk about placement. Placement is such a big part of our nursing career and not our career, but our course.

When we're student nurses and obviously when we go on to be a nurse, placement will turn into our job.

And I had this realization the other day, I was like, placement will no longer be placement when it's my job.

And I know, hear me out, it sounds ridiculous, but we're so supervised and so kind of kept in this little bubble that what happens when we qualify and this got me thinking about what's it going to be like when we qualify?

And it's really, really crazy and I have an exciting update. I attended an open day with my friend Miriam and we went to Bristol and not going to say which hospital, but we went to a place in England called Bristol and I did an interview at the open day and they offered me a job, which is crazy, but this is not the reason why I'm telling you this.

1.23 Everyone is nervous on their first placement

I had the realization on that day after that interview that this will be our job. And to be honest, I'm excited. I'm nervous.

I feel just all of the emotions. But I think there's one way we can prepare for that feeling because I think everyone will be nervous regardless of how well they do in their course or how comfortable they feel on placement.

Everyone is going to be nervous on their first day as a new newly qualified nurse.

But I think if we can make the most out of placement and if we can really get to grips with placement and try and be autonomous with our work as much as we possibly can because obviously you have to be supervised for a lot.

But if we can try and do a lot of stuff ourself, then eventually when we qualify and when we get that job we'll be completely fine. Learn More

2.25 Gaining autonomy on placement by your third year

I want to give you maybe a few ways you can do this because this is just literally what I've been thinking of the past few days.

Like I said, working autonomously, which as a student is really, really difficult because you're always meant to have supervision. But because I'm in third year now, sorry it's raining outside.

Because I'm in third year now they're trying to give us a bit more autonomy. For instance, I'm in recovery at the moment on a placement. I'm literally going there, I'm going straight there now after this video because I'm on a late shift.

They started at 11:45 until 9:00 which is actually quite nice because you have the whole morning to do whatever you want. Anyway, so I'm in recovery at the moment and this is quite a good place to get a lot of acute skills.

I've gotten a lot of airway management, taking out eye gels, taking out LMAs, stuff like that, which is really hands on and obviously a really good skill to kind of tick off your competencies.

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3.25 I'm on my third week of placement and being given independence

But the other stuff such as the 8E assessment and keeping up to date with the observations and stuff, this is all really important as well. And I've been there three weeks at this point.

At this point they're kind of, they know where I'm at and they're letting me be a bit more independent, which is incredible because at the start I didn't want to be independent. I was like stay with me, stay with me.

I've no idea what I'm doing because it was such a new environment for me because I've only had placement on wards and then obviously in the community as well.

This was completely different. Recovery, I really, really enjoy for that reason because there's always so much going on. Your patient can change really quickly.

You have to kind of notice the signs, the symptoms, you have to keep talking to them to make sure they can talk back. There's just so much you have to do.

4.15 Confidence WILL come - I'm getting mine now

But what I'm saying is this is really important for our future because when we eventually get a job, this will be our purpose to keep an eye on our patients, to look after them, to give them the best care we possibly can.

And I know a lot of you may want to work in an acute setting and this will be incredible as well because you just have to have that clinical eye and I never felt like I had that before.

But I feel like on this placement it started to really improve and it's starting to kind of come there because I've always kind of second guessed my judgment. While I feel like it's true what they say with confidence, with time, with experience that improves.

Don't worry if you feel like you don't have it now because I think mine's come in the past week so that's fine.

Another thing I think for how we can improve our later life for our placement as in when we started our job, how can we make that less nerve wracking, less scary?

How can we feel more confident when we start our job?

And how can we prepare now?

How can we prepare in placement to bring it forward to our job?

And I think this is important to think about because for my past four placements, I've never thought about this before.

I've always thought about, this is placement, I'm supervised, this is this. When I get my job, it'll be completely different.

But I think if you go into placement more looking at it as, okay, this is my job, and obviously don't take it, take it seriously of course, but don't pretend it's your job because otherwise you'll be doing things that you're not meant to do, but do things, go in and be like, okay this is work.

5.58 I'm now thinking about placement as my job

And that's what I started doing going in and being like, okay, this is my job. I'm getting dressed, I'm going to work, not placement.

And maybe that's just because I'm in third year and it's starting to get a lot more real that I actually have a job lined up and that will be eventually starting soon. That is terrifying. I think using placement as almost a fake starting a job is actually so important and it sounds ridiculous because you're like, of course you're going to take placement seriously, you're going to do your best.

But the thing is you don't think of it as a job. And that's what I've started doing recently.

6.33 Aim to get as much from placement as possible

I think knowing how to get the most out of your placement is a super important skill because you will leave your placement feeling like you've accomplished something.

You'll be feeling like you are ready to become a nurse. You are ready to move on from this stage of your life into an actual nursing role. And I think focusing on that during placement instead of, okay, I need to get through 12 hours. Counting down the hours.

See it as a really learning experience and I have to put my hands up and say, "I did not do this for the first two years." I tried to do it as much as I could, but there was times where I'd be on a ward and I'd just be like, get me home.

But now I feel like I'm taking it a lot more seriously and maybe it's because as a third year you can do a lot more, which I guess really helps because it means you're always busy.

There's always something for you to do. They kind of believe in you more. All of this is obviously a lot more exciting and beneficial for you.

7.39 Conclusion - placement will make you realise you're improving

I feel like there's a lot more you can do. You can do the full handovers to the ward and stuff and I've done them previously but they weren't very good. While I feel like now I can do them without my mentor or anything kind of like saying anything in.

My mentors, just like, "Okay, you've done it. Let's go." Instead of before I would forget so much in the handover and they'd be like, "Oh this, you need to mention this and this and this and this." I'm like, "Ooh, sorry." That's good.

We feel like we're improving. We're moving on in the world.

Yeah, I hope this video helped you kind of understand that placement is actually super, super, super beneficial for the future and knowing that will bring us a lot of good times and will prepare us for the bad times as well. Thank you so much for watching. If you like this video, please subscribe.

Watch more videos by Claire

View all of Claire's videos

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  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

About the author

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Claire is a student adult nurse from Ireland, but studies in the UK. She makes vlogs for her channel, Claire Quinn - Nursing Secrets, where she shares tips and advice from her own experience as a student nurse.

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