Thoughts on placement year – Part 2: C placement

Welcome to part two of this series xd As mentioned previously, my second part of the clinical placement year commenced after Christmas break. Again, another 12-weeks working in an NHS hospital. After experiencing both acute and community settings, I found myself enjoying working in the acute setting more. Therefore, I decided to apply for a 100% acute setting placement this time.

Differences between B and C placements

Moving forward from B-placement, you are expected to work more independently. During C placement, you will still be doing some shadowing and work under supervision for the first couple of weeks. However, starting from week 7 of placement, you will be responsible for certain wards and have your own caseload of patients. So, you will need to prioritise who to see first and whether you have the capacity to manage some new referrals. You also need to work closely with other MDT e.g. doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists etc. By the end of the placement, the team is expecting you to manage a band 5 dietitian caseload.

What’s C-placement like?

As my placement provider is an oncology and renal specialist hospital, I work with specialist teams. During the first couple of weeks, I spent two days with the renal team, two days with the oncology team and one day doing outpatient clinics. At first, I was overwhelmed by all the new medical terms, surgeries, and procedures. The complexity of patients was much harder than what I did in B placement. I took some time to get familiar with all the new terminology, look through the booklets, and try to ask for more opportunities to see different types of patients. The team was very supportive, and they reassured me, gave me constructive feedback, and helped me to grow and learn.

During my consolidation weeks, I was responsible for head&neck and renal ward. And therefore, I had a lot of exposure to tube feeding, nutrition support, and specific dietary advice for renal or transplant patients. And I learnt so much about communication skills. For instance, many head&neck cancer patients are not able to talk, so we need to communicate through the whiteboard or mouthing. And I have attended MDT meetings, where I will discuss patients with the medical team, and I felt really proud as the team treasure dietetic input so much! It is always rewarding to see patients improve and you are one of the staff that contribute to that.

Tips for students going C-placement

I would say be prepared that this placement will be more intense and stressful. You will still get support from the team, but at the same time, you are expected to work more independently. You must believe in your decision, be able to explain your plan clearly with rationale and fit in with your team. One top tip would be never afraid to step out of your comfort zone, try to push yourself forward and ask for different opportunities. I found it really helps to build your confidence, especially during the start of the placement. Always ask for feedback and keep progressing and improving.

Hope these two blogs have given you a rough idea of what it is like on placement. Please do comment below if you want to know more about it:) And don’t forget to check out the last post of this series XD