My third placement was on a new acute medical unit. This new unit opened on the week I started this placement so I had to opportunity to work on and use the brand new equipment (for some reason this brought me so much joy!). I was, admittedly, very nervous to start this placement as I had no previous experience of hospital work and I felt like I would have to start right back from the beginning again. However, I had no reason to worry! I was surrounded by a fantastically supportive and friendly team and developed a wonderful relationship with my mentor.
For this placement I would usually work three long shifts a week. Although these long days were tiring, especially combined with the travelling to and from my shifts, I had enough days off during the rest of the week to focus on my online work. Below I have outlined a rough guide to what my shifts on this unit were like.
06:00 – Wake up! I would get ready and head downstairs for breakfast.
06:30 – Leave for the shift! It took me around thirty minutes to drive to the hospital. As this placement was over the winter months I had to allow for my car to defrost!
07:00-07:15 – Park up and walk over to the hospital. Most mornings the temperature was down to the minuses so I would do a hasty speed walk to warm myself up!
07:15-07:30 – Drop off my things and head to the Nurse’s station for handover from the night staff.
08:00-10:00 – After handover I would usually work alongside the healthcare assistants to help the patients with their breakfast, washing and dressing. I would also complete the morning medication round with the nurse I was working with for the day.
10:00-11:00 – I would take all of my patient’s observations and follow the doctor for their rounds.
11:00-11:30 – Break time! By this time I would usually be really hungry so I would have a sandwich and some fruit to keep me going until the afternoon!
11:30-19:00 – It is hard to give a more accurate time scale as each day on this unit was so different. This slot was quickly filled with jobs that needed to be completed. For example; admitting new patients, completing any tasks requested from the doctor, completing documentation, carrying out patient observations, discharging patients, accompanying patients to scans, liaising with members of the multidisciplinary team, assisting with patient meal times and answering patient’s call bells. I would get another half an hour break during this slot too!
19:00-19:30 – This time was always the busiest! Trying to get our handover sheets ready whilst still finishing off the last jobs of the day!
19:30-20:00 – Give handover to the night staff, wish them a good shift and head home!
20:00-20:15 – Walk back to my car, tired from the day only to find my car all icy! So I would sit in my car while it defrosted and reflect on my day before driving home.
20:15-21:30 – Drive home, have a snack, make my lunch for the next day, shower and be in bed as fast as possible!
The experience I gained during this placement was amazing. I finally had exposure to the hospital environment and nursing unwell patients. I was lucky to meet and work alongside the most caring, approachable and knowledgeable nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists and doctors. They were all so welcoming and made me really feel like a part of the team. I was also able to spend some days in the Special Care Baby Unit and in resus and the minor injuries department of A and E. My only wish was that this placement was longer! I had just really settled into this placement and it was already time to leave. I hope I will get the opportunity to liaise with this team on my future placements.