Hello all, Liv again! After having a little holiday on the South Coast, I’m back and ready to write.
I wanted to broach today the subject of clinical placement within a medical degree. This is an extremely important part of these studies, especially considering the fact that the majority of learning for healthcare is (I believe) done while in a real life, real person, real hospital/ward/theatre situation! Of course University is brilliant, and what we learn theoretically enables the practice, but practice is what actually makes you a competent practitioner.
I have so far had two placements, one in a surgical ward, and another in medical. Within this I functioned within my ‘scope of practice’; that being what I had learnt at Uni already. For a first year nursing student, this includes such things as taking vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate etc.), making beds, showering patients, taking blood glucose levels, and surprisingly many more ! I can’t believe how much I have learnt JUST within my practical subjects already, and thus, yet another reason why clinical placements are so important to make the most of, as they help you remember these things, and try them out with real nurses, doctors, allied health, and patients!
Anywho, I wanted to just show you all today a flashback of my impressions during my clinicals. During placements, we write one or two reflections to put on our form that our preceptor actually checks off at the end, so without any further ado, have a read!
FIRST PLACEMENT REFLECTION: Orthopaedic Surgical Ward –
Placement so far has been a very interesting and incredibly immense learning experience for me. I did not anticipate how much my scope of care could be applied in the surgical ward, which was at first overwhelming. However, the days following my first day brought everything into perspective and allowed for my theoretical knowledge to be applied along with knowledge gained from the healthcare workers surrounding me. Some examples include the taking of hourly vital signs following surgery, considerations of fluid (i.e. vomiting and blood loss as well as urine and bowel movements), and clinical judgments of such things as taking blood pressure preferably from the arm of the patient that does not have the IVF or PCA in.
In all honesty, the shock of the first day left me pondering my decision in doing this course, with all of the responsibility and knowledge required and the duty of care to these fellow human beings, when they need care the most. I have now gained perspective through my increased confidence and via assistance of the nursing staff who are always willing to explain and allow me to apply what I already know.
I look forward to my final two days, seeing patients that I have cared for further improve and eventually go home, as well as caring for new patients as they recover from surgery. A nurse is a very special person who can simultaneously care for a person, and objectively monitor them to ensure they recover and are at an optimum of health (or on the way there). I believe that my first placement has guided me to the beginning of that track to becoming one of these special people, and I hope that what I have learnt and the care I have given will be beneficial to all that I have come in contact with, and those who I will care for in the future.
SECOND PLACEMENT: Medical Oncology and Neuro Ward
Part 1 – Week one
Straight away this ward blew me away with its complexity and kind, generous nursing staff. Going from a surgical ward on my first placement, to a medical ward with very unwell and unique patients has forced me to be more adaptive than I was initially expecting to be.
The first two days within the ward reflected my state of mind, as Monday became filled with extreme business and I was at most use observing and completing jobs efficiently for my RN’s that I had been buddied with. I became quite anxious when I was unaware of the ward layout, the RN’s, the patients, and the typical routine in which the team functioned. Over time however, this has become increasingly clear, and with further communication and practice with the same RN over two days I have found myself quite content and ready to practice, practice, practice!
At this point I have completed many of the objectives for this placement, including taking vital observations, bed making, nutrition assistance, elimination assistance, fluid input and output, BGL monitoring, urinalysis, pain management (non-pharmacological and oral medication), progress notes and observation of IVC site, among many other things. I look forward to practicing these skills and others, becoming more in tune with how the ward works, communicating further with the RN’s and the patients. I am very glad now not to be as anxious as I was, and am also extremely happy to have settled into some form of routine in which I feel that I can be more useful than nuisance. I’m excited to see what the next week and a bit brings, and what I can take from it.
Part 2 – Week two
Looking back on the past two weeks of placement is amazing; how much I have learnt, seen, practiced and been challenged by is astounding. I am so happy to be able to fit nicely into a ward routine, and be of assistance not only to the nursing staff, but to the patients. I have had the opportunity to practice almost all of the skills learnt this semester, along with developing skills that can only come with patient interactions.
I have found that my communication has vastly improved with the team and with patients, especially since some of the patients I have now been caring for for nearly two weeks. The smoother shifts this week have also allowed for me to spend more of my time with patients when I am completing tasks, for example spending a good amount of time talking to a patient about physiology of blood pressure, or feeding a patient.
I am overwhelmed by how trusting and supportive all of the patients are, and that is something that I find extremely rewarding. While nursing isn’t the cleanest, calmest, or most desired job, I find myself thinking that a life spent helping others is one spent fulfilled. I’m so happy to be feeling so confident and aware of what I have learnt in the setting it is to be applied. I look forward to learning even more and applying my skills further in an AIN position.
And there you have it! My reflections from first year. Thankyou for actually reading them if you did, I know it’s a lot of writing, and I hope that you got something from it. Placement can be a challenging time, but the rewards from it are so great! I am also pleased to let you know that I have been employed as an AIN, and I encourage my fellow nursing students to look into it while studying!