Guest blogs · International Nurses' Day

What is it like to be a Student Nurse in… Italy?


Sara Franzoso

Student Nurse

University of Padova/Padua – Italy


We start our training the first year of nursing school. We have 400 hours of training the first year, 600 hours the second year and 720 the third year. There are several kinds of shifts. The morning shift is from 7am to 1-2pm, the afternoon shift is from 1pm to 21pm and the night shift is from 21pm to 7am. During the first part of training in year one we don’t do night shifts, we start in the second part that is from May to the end June. This year we started our placement today and we will finish just before Easter – this year the training goes from today to the end of March, and from the beginning of May to the end of June. Every year the period of training changes so I don’t know when I will start nor finish – we spend our training in all kinds of wards but obviously we can’t go in all the wards. We don’t really have the chance to choose the ward that we prefer. We can express a preference but we don’t often go were we want. I’ve always spent my placement with adults but from this year some of my classmates are in peds. We will also spend a little time in the OR – I spend from 7 to 10 hours in placement according to my schedule and the shift. – in year one we lean how to wash a bedridden patient, the patient mobilisation, how to help the patient that has difficulties in walking, how to prevent decubitus, monitoring the patient’s vitals signs, how to recognise the different kinds of sputums, how to find ways to help the patient urinating and defecate. This year we will learn how to put a peripheral venous line, how to do venous sampling, and how to manage a surgical patient, like how to do the surgical washing . I don’t know what we’ll do next year but we will surely pend some time in the ER. – for now i did pneumology, geriatrics and now I’m in the stroke unit – I don’t really know my dream job is, I guess I’m still figuring out.

The organisation here is not the best because we know our placement and our shifts a couple of weeks before starting. The first day of placement is an introducion of every ward we are in and the chief of every ward comes in our classroom and talkes about the organisation of the ward, how many patient are there, what nurses do and this kind of things. Then, the day after is the actual first day in our placement, so we go in the ward we were assigned and we meet our mentor, who is a nurse that took a special course to be a mentor and they also get some extra money for being one. I got some wonderful mentors last year, the this year It’s the same so far, but some of them are not so good because they only think about the extra money. We have the same shift of our mentor so we always stay with them. At the beginning of every training we and our mentors are given a piece of paper with the goals that we have to achieve that year and at the end of the training they have to evaluate us by giving us a mark from A to D, where A is the maximum, in each goal. During our training we also have some extra classes at school where we learn some other procedures that we have to do in our training. Due to the fact that there is not so much time to train in class and the material at our disposal is not that good, we can train just one in every procedure so when we start our training in the hospital we don’t remember (at least I don’t) very well the procedure and the mentor has to explain the procedure again. This happens of course for difficult procedures like starting a peripherical line or take a blood sample. In the middle of every training we also have a debriefing, when we tell our didactic tutor (who are responsible for the organisation of our training and who decide where we have to go and who our mentor is goingn to be) how our training is going and if we have some issuses with our mentor or our placement. At the end of our training and the exams session, we also have an examination about our training where the didactic tutors, who evaluate us, ask us to do a procedure on a mannequin and ask us questions about nursing in general, like what we studied in class. We have two chances to pass it and if this doens’t happen, we have to repeat the whole traning. It would be like failing a school year. Oh, we also receive, at the beginning of the training, a list of the procedures that we have to know how to do at the exams. This is very good because we know what we have to focus on, but not always the proceudre tha we are given are followed exactly the same in hospital so we have to be careful because we could learn something wrong. As regards the health system I can tell you this. It is pretty decent because you get free health care and you don’t have to have an insurance to be treated, but sometimes, above all in south Italy, hospitals are not so good because there isn’t enough healthcare professional and the equipment is very old, not to mention that sometimes hospitals are also overcrowded. But this happens in the South; I live in the north and here there are some of the best hospitals and you get a good medical care. In general, the health system should be better in my opinion because it happens that hospitals get cheap health material because they don’t have the money to afford something better and we find ourselves doing stuff with what we got. Also, as I said yesterday, nurses don’t feel well payed so a lot of nurses who just graduated, decide to move to other countries, especially England, but I read that Canada is in constant need of Italian nurses because they can’t cover the high demand. Even If studing nursing in Italy is pretty hard (but maybe also in England) I feel lucky to study here because I know that also other countries recognise our work! Despite this, I think that finidn a job abroad would be nice for me because I would like to see other realities.


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