Here at Bradford, we’re all about hands-on learning, which is why many of our courses offer students the opportunity to complete work placements. In this blog, Adult Nursing student Amreen discusses her experience of placements – the good and the bad.
As a student it all felt like fun and games until the time of my first placement came close. I was excited as well as anxious, as I did not know if the people I would be working with would like me or not.
My first placement
My first placement was at Airedale Hospital on a stroke ward. On my first day I was struggling to carry out basic observations, even though we had practical skills sessions at the University. Clinical tasks were so much different in real life. After a couple of hours and a few jokes along the way with patients, I got used to taking patient blood pressures, saturations etc.
My placement lasted for six weeks, and it reinforced my passion for Adult Nursing. I met some fabulous patients with amazing stories. My mentor was so supportive and helpful, she would give me encouragement as well as constructive criticism when it was needed. I still remember when my mentor passed me for the placement – what a feeling of achievement that was.
My second placement
My second placement was at St Luke’s Hospital on an intermediate elderly rehabilitation ward. My first two shifts went really well but I had not met my mentor yet as she had been off sick. When I finally got to meet her, I realised this placement would be very tricky for me. This was not due to any clinical skills but the fact that my mentor was not as supportive or helpful compared to those on my first placement.
I had a very good relationship with all the other staff members as well as the patients but in the six weeks of me being on the ward, I did not manage to make a connection with my mentor. This was a disheartening experience as I tried my very best to be the kind of student that she would be proud of. I passed the placement as I got very good feedback from multiple patients, but I cannot say I miss the placement.
My third placement
My third placement was a surgical placement at the Yorkshire Clinic. I thoroughly loved this placement as it was different from the last two I had been on. I loved seeing the procedures that took place in the theatres, as well as taking care of patients after their hip or knee replacements. Patient observations were needed every half hour, which helped me to get through the 12-hour shifts. I passed this placement with flying colours and also regained the confidence that I had lost on my last one.
My fourth placement
My fourth placement was at Airedale again but this time I was working within the Collaborative Care team. This was my first district placement and was an exciting experience for me where I got to learn a lot and perfect taking a manual blood pressure.
I feel out of all my placements this was the best one because I did not see any hierarchy amongst the staff. My mentor was the best and so were the rest of the staff I worked with. I had an episode on shift where I felt quite ill and needed an ambulance – I had about 20 staff members around me.
From that day on, the staff continuously looked out for me and supported me with flexible shifts and rest periods. I feel this kind of support is very helpful in maintaining staff morale. As a thank you to my placement team, I made them a special cake – they all deserved it for taking such good care of me.
My fifth placement
My fifth placement was on an endoscopy ward, however, on the first day I went to the wrong area, which did not help my nerves. Eventually I got to the right place and met the Ward Sister who got me and other students settled on the ward. The gentle and kind nature of the Sister and my mentor made this placement a breeze and enjoyable.
Some staff members would address me as the baby of my mentor as I had a placement support agreement (PSA) put in place for my ill health. My mentor would always be cautious around me and make sure I would not stand for long periods of time or do any clinical skills that might affect my health.
I loved this placement and all the kind staff. I passed the placement and will hopefully be joining the team when I get my registered nurses pin.
My sixth placement
My sixth placement was at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s A&E department. I was super excited as I have always wanted to see where all the action starts. This was in 2020 and it was my first Covid placement. For six weeks I was part of the ED team and had my shifts pre booked. This gave me an insight into how life would be once I qualify. It was exciting, different, stressful and challenging, but most of all, it was very rewarding.
Final year placements
This year was the third and final year for my degree. Both placements were graded ones, which added to the responsibility of each placement. Covid has still been an active part of placements and this has been a very challenging year for me. My anxiety was exacerbated, and I also went through the loss of my niece.
My penultimate placement
I worked on ward 21 (another surgical ward) for my seventh placement. This was a very busy ward, which helped me manage the long working hours. I gained experience with multiple illnesses and in caring for patients with stoma bags and internal lines.
My niece passed away two days before Christmas while I was on shift, yet I could not see her. It was this experience that made me understand how families of patients must have felt when visiting was not allowed. I passed the placement with 100%, as all the ward team commended me on how professional I was and how I managed to continue working while grieving a loved one.
My final placement
My eighth and final placement was in A&E again. This time the experience has been very different as A&E has been working at full capacity. However, due to Covid, multiple staff members have been off, which added to the workload for others.
This again was a paid Covid placement and as a student I was also counted in the numbers. I was happy to be a part of the team and help in any way possible. I passed the placement and this brought about the end of my three year nursing placement journey.
My future in nursing
It’s been tough, challenging, emotional and stressful, but I still made it. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger. Roll on to my graduation and to becoming a registered nurse – yes!