First Year, First Placement – Did I survive?

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time fly’s and that couldn’t ring more truth when you go on placement. It only seems like yesterday that I was with my flat mates having no care in the world dancing my way through fresher’s week! However, placement slowly creeps up on you and before you know it you are on an early train to your first placement. I think I can honestly say the thought of placement gave me a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts; “Would I be good enough?” “How do I work the E-Portfolio?” “How do I go on placement and still have time for revision?” Can I do this?” But I needed, and admittedly still need to, remind myself to take a step back and remind myself why we go on placement. Your first day can be one of the most daunting elements of placement and for me I definitely felt the tension so let’s go through a rundown of what my first day way like

BEEP BEEP……My alarm is one of the loudest and most unpleasant noises I have heard and honestly, as I’m sure we all know, pressing snooze is one of the nicest feelings however, on my first day I felt the nerves and pressing snooze didn’t cross my mind. I rolled out of bed, got dressed, ate breakfast (Don’t skip this step, mentors have had their fair share of people who faint!) brushed my teeth and off I went. A fresh doe eyed 1st year ready to start placement.

Before I knew it, I was stood outside and about to walk into the clinic. A deep breath in and out to calm myself and In I walked. Feeling worried just touches the surface of how I felt about making a good first impression and I was concerned about if I even had the right skills to carry out this placement but once I had introduced myself and broken this invisible barrier,I began to believe this was something I could do. Health Visiting was something I knew of but had never actually seen in practice.

Within about an hour I was about to go on my first six-week baby check, and I was very ready to put my professional face on, sit, listen and observe the health visitor as they spoke. We knocked on the door and the mum answered but within seconds a little dog rushed to the door! I promise I did try and sit quietly but all this dog wanted was attention so there I sat with a smile, listening closely to the advice being given by the Health Visitor all with a dog sat right next to me! Not every visit was like this and as my knowledge of the advice that was given grew, I found I was able to answer a few questions parents had myself.

By 16:00 I was on my way back to Uni. Finally getting back to my accommodation room and laying down after a long day was a chance to relax until the next day! Placement is a game of eat, sleep, wake up and repeat! But I found that reflecting on my day during my walks home or even just whilst I’m laying in bed helps me to reflect on the day and process all the new information given to me.

I think If I’m going to take anything away from my first placement it would be this:

A small pocket-sized notebook is handy to jot down key pieces of advice given out regularly to patients
Setting a reasonable alarm is important to give yourself enough time to wake up in the morning
Making lunch the night before is important and helpful in the mornings as it’s one less thing to do
Making sure that you grab every opportunity a mentor offers you to really grow as a student and expand your knowledge. At this stage almost everything being said is new!
Asking questions is never a bad thing. No question is silly and it’s okay not to know something (We are still first years)

I think I’ll finish with saying good luck to those who are still on placement and to those who have almost completed the course, you’re so close to qualifying! Placement can be tough but I’m happy to say I did survive my first placement and it is really exciting to be working towards a career which is so rewarding. Good luck to everyone!!

Author: Chloe Thomas, Year 1 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.

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