My first placement was at a nursing home located in the countryside. I loved this placement! I had an absolutely fantastic mentor and, for my first experience of working in healthcare, it taught me the fundamental aspects of nursing care.
For this placement I would work four twelve hour shifts in a row and then have four days off to document my experiences on my online portfolio. I thought I would share with you what my typical day was like when I was on shift.
05:30 – Wake up! I only take about fifteen minutes to get ready but I like to wake up a bit earlier than needed so that I’m not rushing. I get myself dressed and ready and then head downstairs for breakfast.
06:00 – Leave for the shift! It took me around forty minutes to drive to this placement and I had to give myself extra time to defrost my car on the icy winter mornings.
06:45 – Once I had parked up I would usually walk in around this time, drop off my things in the nurse’s station and head to the reception area for a team handover.
07:00 – After the handover from the night staff, we would all split off to our allocated areas.
07:00-08:30 – During this time I would work alongside the healthcare assistants to assist the residents with washing, dressing and gathering in the dining room for breakfast.
08:30-09:30 – Breakfast! I would greet all of the residents and assist them with their breakfast. I would also observe my mentor doing the medication round.
09:30-11:00 – In this slot the residents would be doing activities such as; flower arranging, baking, singing or pet therapy, whilst I would do observations prior to the doctor’s round, go to appointments with residents or do dressing changes for example.
11:00-11:30 – My first break of the day! I would take a much needed sit down and munch on a sandwich and a couple of pieces of fruit to keep me going until the afternoon.
11:30-13:00 – Here I would catch up with my mentor, asking any questions from the morning and discussing our tasks for the rest of the day. I would then continue with my tasks from before my break and spend time with the residents.
13:00-14:00 – Lunch time! Similar to breakfast, I would ask the residents about their morning whilst assisting them with their meals and observe the medication round.
14:00-17:00 – The afternoons consisted of filling out relevant documentation, communicating with family members, interacting with the residents, assisting with doctor’s rounds or liaising with members of the multidisciplinary team, for example; community psychiatric nurses, speech and language therapists, chiropodists and physical therapists. At some point during this time I would get another half an hour break.
17:00-18:00 – Dinner time! Again, helping the residents with their dinner and observing the medication round.
18:00-18:45 – I would complete any last tasks for the day, discus my day with my mentor, finish off paperwork and say goodnight to the residents.
18:45-19:00 – Team debrief and handover to the night staff.
19:05-19:45 – Drive home much more tired than I was a the start of my day after doing an average of 20,000 steps a day!
19:45-20:45 – I would have dinner, (which my very kind parents would have ready for me!) make my lunch for the following day, have a shower and go to sleep ready for the next day!
When I started this placement tasks like giving someone a bed bath, taking someone to the toilet or helping someone with their meals were so new to me. Simple, but important, tasks that I have now completed hundreds of times. This placement helped me to understand a patient’s most basic care needs.
During this placement I built up a strong rapport with the residents. One thing I have found from my hospital placements is that patients move in and out of your care so quickly. Over my three months in the nursing home I was able to learn everyone’s likes and dislikes, what would make each resident smile, how to comfort them if they were distressed and I still visit the home regularly to see how everyone is doing. Another thing that stood out for me is how much the nurses and the other members of staff care. Every resident was treated with dignity and respect. My mentor took the time to make each resident feel special and was so kind and gentle towards everyone, I really took away a lot from this experience. Of course, not all days went like this. Residents would have falls, we didn’t always have the maximum number of staff and residents passed away but hopefully this gives you a little insight into the day-to-day life in a nursing home.