Our Placements at GOSH

We all have a mixed review about placements and some wards, units, staff, settings we come across can be so educational and have such a positive impact on our learning. This is when the staff on the ward notice you and are thankful for you, they recognise your hard work and your love for nursing. Other placements you may feel less recognised, less thanked and have feelings such as feeling hopeless and useless. These are all natural feelings which can arise whilst on placement.

Many of my friends aswell as myself have loved Great Ormand Street Hospital and the opportunities and the weird and wonderful things we have been able to see. However, we have to remember to look after ourselves whilst on placement and make sure that we are okay. You aren’t going to get the most out of your placement if you are struggling to learn anything or struggling to feel part of the team (these are normal feelings when starting a placement and in time it improves).

The reason I have chosen to talk about this hospital placement is that if you get the chance to go then take the experience and take the risk. It is a worthwhile experience which I feel you have to experience at least once. It is so specialised and there is so much to see and learn. However, I know many of my friends and myself really struggled with the finance part of things. Many who have children have found it hard to balance child care aswell as travelling up to London and keeping on top of work. Myself, commuting into London for my 12 hour shifts honestly has been tiring and even worse when a train is delayed or a different bus is running or finding a place to stay overnight whilst in London which will accommodate you, especially for those night shifts. These little parts of the day really can take a toll on your mood and effect your placement by adding extra stress.

– Financially, it is going to be difficult. We wish we could have the money straight away but having the Learning Support Fund (LSF) travel forms to claim money back from all of the commuting definitely makes a huge difference. It is rather nice having a massive pay check from all the travel you’ve done. To make travel forms less stressful make sure you keep all your travelling information e.g travel card, train ticket, bus fare.
– Hotels, there are so many near the hospital and being able to claim some of the money back from this also helps financially. It also helps many people feel less tired and emotional due to having a longer sleep and not having to worry about the travelling as much. If you’re planning on booking hotels it is much easier if you can get your shift rota ASAP to make it less stressful booking hotels.
– Talk to your mentor or student facilitator about your shift patterns if you are really concerned about how you may cope. It may be possible to switch some shifts and they are normally very flexible to try make sure you’re coping.

Don’t be scared to reach out for support like myself and many other student nurses I know. We all feel like we have hit rock bottom sometimes and travelling further to a new placement can be very daunting and tiring whilst learning on the job.

Don’t give up, keep pushing through and grasp as many learning experiences. Everyone says it but ask as many questions as you can. There is unlimited things to learn whilst training and during your new career as a nurse. I can say we are all in the same boat and we are all wanting to get to the end goal! You are doing great.

Author: Maddie McConnell, Year 2 Student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

If you’re interested in writing a blog post for us – whether it’s a one-off about something in Nursing you’re passionate on, or as a regular contributor, please email Beth Phillips (bp00183@surrey.ac.uk), Ellie Mee (em00607@surrey.ac.uk),  Maddie McConnell (mm01664@surrey.ac.uk) or Tia Dolphin (td00227@surrey.ac.uk) – we’d love to hear from you!