The two placements I feel I got the most out of were Trinity Hospice and a Haematology/Oncology ward (where I was for my management placement). The former had countless interesting holistic therapies that student could observe and assist with; the latter had an extensive MDT, the majority of which were only too happy to host students for a day and teach them about their specialist area – an interesting setting; and a large and varied team. These are, I think, two of the key components of finding extra opportunities on placement.
Of course, the support of your mentor and a proactive attitude are imperative. But it should be understood by placement allocation teams that variety is key. Through variety, we encounter different MDT’s and opportunities. For example, assisting with art classes and aromatherapy sessions at Trinity hospice; or learning the details of different blood cancers from each specific CNS for myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia. However, the main thing these places have in common is that at the very beginning, all the students were presented with a comprehensive list and schedule of special opportunities with different members of the MDT.
This is why I want to take the opportunity to sing the praises of great Practice Development Nurses (PDN). Both of these placements had the best PDN teams I’ve ever worked with. Trinity Hospice’s PDN, Helen, was attentive and supportive and kind. She checked up on the students often, and never let an interesting opportunity pass us by. The haematology ward had a team three PDN’s who are the most hands on I’ve ever seen – they are there, on the floor, ensuring that people are supported with skills and therapies and taking their full break. As a student, having PDN’s like this makes all the difference. You don’t just feel looked after. You feel like a valued member of the team who is gaining new and varied skills.
I will always be grateful to Helen, Kay, Gen and Ken for infinitely improving my experience as a nurse and showing me the importance of supporting learning throughout a nursing career.
Written By Lily Parham @Lily_Parham