• 03 February 2020
  • 7 min read

The top 3 things student nurses need to know on placement

  • Claire Quinn
    Student Nurse and Vlogger
    • Taiye Beatrice Otakhogbogie
  • 0
  • 5630

When student nurses go on placement the three most important things they'll need to get familiar with are: paperwork, the routine and medication. Claire explains more...

Play video: Claire explains the top 3 things a student nurse needs to know when on placement

Topics covered in this video

0.00 Introduction

0.49 Tip 1 - get familiar with paperwork

2.03 Tip 2 - know the routine on your ward

3.14 Tip 3 - medication: get to know your basic drugs

5.05 Bonus tip... your nurse doesn't expect you to know everything!

0.00 Introduction

Hi. Welcome back. Today's video, I want to talk about things that your nurse wants you to know.

This might be your mentor or your assessor or someone like that. Somebody that is above you as a student nurse and someone who you looked up to and you aspire to be like.

This person wants you, also, to know things. You want them to know things so they can teach you, but you also want to know things so that they can assess you and so that they can work through things with you.

Some things I would recommend you knowing so that they like you and they respect you and they know that you have a good breadth of knowledge.

0.49 Tip 1 - get familiar with paperwork

My first one would be, in your placement area, to look at the different types of paperwork and to get familiar with this paperwork.

Make sure that you know how to fill it out. Make sure you know what this paperwork is for.

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Because there'll be, oftentimes, especially in first and second year, where your nurse is like "Oh, can you fill out this fluid balance chart or this turns chart?" If you don't know how to fill that out, it just creates a bit of friction.

I'd recommend, obviously, you're not going to know in your first or even second placement, but once you start a placement, maybe if it's in a new hospital, just getting out of that paperwork and looking through it.

Make sure that you know what's involved in that paperwork.

You know how to fill it out. You know where to put the date, where to put your signature.

Also, why it's used. It's all very well knowing how to fill it out, but if you don't know the reasoning and rationale behind it, then that's not really very useful.

That's one thing I'd recommend.

I definitely struggle with this at the start because there's a huge amount of paperwork as nurses.

Obviously, as a student nurse as well, you want to help out with this paperwork.

I'd recommend getting used to that and that will make you a lot more confident and also make the nurse that you're getting assessed by really ready like you.

2.03 Tip 2 - know the routine on your ward

My second one is to make sure when you're on the ward that you know the routine.

This is more than ridiculous, but no kind of what's expected of you next.

If you finish the medication round and you're ... this is more, I guess, aimed at people who had just started nursing, but even in third year, when you're starting a new placement, you don't know the routine of that placement.

You do not know the routine of that ward or recovery or theaters.

On your first and second day, almost look at a time and be like "Okay, so it's half 11:00 now."

This is when we finish the drug round.

This is when we start to give patients food or drinks or turn them or wash them and get used to the routine so that when you are done, your, let's say, medication round in the morning, you can say, "Okay, what's next?"

Actually, now, we fill up all the jugs of water.

We put them on the patient's tables or we get the clothes out ready for day and note what to expect next.

Because if you know what to expect next, then you can get prepared and make sure that you're one step ahead and not going to be left behind.

That's one thing your nurse would definitely want you to know.

3.14 Tip 3 - medication: get to know your basic drugs

My third thing is definitely to medication.

This is something that I still find really difficult as a third year nursing student, but I think knowing your basic drug.

If you're going to a hepatology or gastro ward, to know those drugs that they use there and why they use them.

Because if you're on a medication round often, as student nurses, we can be a little bit slow.

That's fine. We all have to start somewhere. We all have to learn.

I was really slow at the beginning, but knowing what the drugs are, because my lectures always say that you should never give something that you don't know, the use or the name of or what it's used for or what it can't be used together.

If someone's on two medications and they interact wrongly with each other, you shouldn't be able to know that because that's your role as a nurse to know that.

To know, actually, we're not giving this today because of this or the high blood pressure or low blood pressure or blood sugars.

You have to be aware of so much more than just, "Okay, it says to give this. I'm going to give this."

For instance, paracetamol even, the most basic. "When was it last given? Has it been enough hours since the last dose? Is it safe to give it now? Yes or no?"

Same with antibiotics.

All of this, you don't ... because obviously, everyone knows what paracetamol is used for, but you need to know more than just, "Oh, it's use for pain."

You need to know what can it not be given with, how long since the last dose, when should the next one be and all stuff like that.

If you even have the basic knowledge of that, the nurse that's assessing you or mentoring you will really appreciate that.

Because it will mean, they will have to not slow down so much and explain things and will just be able to say, "Oh, she knows what she's doing. He knows what he's doing and they're fine."

That's definitely my third one.

5.05 Bonus tip... your nurse doesn't expect you to know everything!

Finally, remember that your nurse doesn't expect you to know everything.

I know, those three things that I've mentioned previously might seem like your nurse wants you to be on it, know everything, have all of the answers for absolutely everything, but you know what, nobody does.

That's the reality of it.

I think, especially as a student nurse, realize that take advantage of your student's status and say, "Actually, I'm a student. I don't know."

Even when you're qualified, you won't know all the answers to everything.

I think, really knowing that and honing in on that and saying, "Actually, I'm going to put my hand up and I don't know."

Because it's completely okay to ask questions and it's really good to ask questions.

I just think that those three things that I previously mentioned would really help you have a step up above everyone else on placement and just be able to get on with placement and actually enjoy it and feel like you are able to do things alone, because I feel like that was one thing I found difficult at the start.

I felt like I was always following my mentor around and saying, "Oh, what can I do? Is this okay? Is this okay?"

Knowing your boundaries, knowing your limits, but also knowing that you're not going to know everything and it's completely okay to ask questions is definitely a good place to start.

Thank you so much for watching this video.

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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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