Your final year of nursing comes with a lot more responsibility. You are expected to know how to care for your patients with minimal guidance but still with support. I was extremely nervous to start my final management placement of 3rd year especially as I was placed in paediatric Accident and Emergency.
Accident and Emergency requires students who can work in a busy environment whilst supporting in the management of the department, as well as demonstrate an ability to remain efficient, calm and collected.
The patients that come into A&E vary, from a child with a fractured tibia and fibula to a child in supra ventricular tachycardia or diabetic ketoacidosis! Nurses are expected to know the processes for each illness or injury.
As an example, with DKA, we have to immediately obtain a venous blood gas and check the pH and bicarbonate, know the ranges and follow the DKA pathway based on these results. This process starts within minutes of the patient first walking into the department.
In the first two weeks of A&E I was at my most vulnerable, I didn’t know how the department worked and I hardly knew the names of the staff. By the end of the third week, I had an idea of how the department worked and started doing things (non-clinical) independently. The staff within the department were so supportive and keen to teach (which is a student nurses DREAM!). At the beginning of my fourth week on my placement I finally felt confident in what I was doing.
If you are like me, super nervous about starting new placements and overwhelmed by new staff and how the ward/department works, just remember, it takes time… don’t worry if you don’t understand fully on your first shift, it takes time… ! You are learning. That is why you are here. I have just finished my final placement, let me say that one more time… MY FINAL PLACEMENT.... The last three years of placements have gone so quickly. Reflecting on my knowledge level in my first year, I am overwhelmed with how far I have come, I am so proud of myself.
So what next?
I came to university never writing an essay before, it took me a while to get used to how the university worked and how to write at this academic level. With support from my family and the university I have managed to up my scores on my essays by 10 marks each year! I am also on track to achieve a 2:1 when I finish (dissertation pending...!) which is something I thought I’d never achieve!
On my final placement in A&E we had two 1st year students and one 2nd year student join the department for their placements. I knew how overwhelming a new placement can be, especially in such a busy environment and as your first ever placement! I made sure throughout the time that I was with the other students I explained how the department worked, explained how to use equipment, and talked through scenarios that they may come across. This made me realise how much I enjoyed teaching, other staff also commented on how well I taught my fellow students. Upon reflection, I realised that one of my future goals as a registered nurse is to be a practice educator. I cannot wait to be an assessor myself and have student allocated to me one day!
I am excited for my journey as a registered nurse starting this September and I can’t wait to reflect on this blog in a year’s time to see what I have achieved.