On Monday I had my last first day of placement at a Community Hospital and I have loved every second. I have really noticed a difference during my final year. Everything is coming together and I’m constantly surprising myself with how much I have learnt and developed.
I think it’s important to, and I want to, share with you how nervous I was starting this placement though. I have actually never felt so nervous for a placement and generally, as they have gone on, I have become less and less nervous about my first days. However, we aren’t in a normal situation at the moment. I couldn’t visit the ward prior to starting to introduce myself and orientate myself to the ward, something that usually reassures me before I start. I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t have a familiar face to look out for and, with the current situation, I didn’t know what I was about to face out in practice.
As always, I had absolutely nothing to worry about! Everyone was so warm and welcoming and as soon as I stepped onto the ward my nerves disappeared. I knew this is what was going to happen. I know that I worry myself unnecessarily and I am always fine but that doesn’t stop me from being nervous. I have to go through that process and allow and accept the emotions. It’s something that I’m working on personally but I wanted to share with you because it is completely normal to feel that way and I hope I can reassure some of you that you aren’t alone if you also feel like this. I receive many messages every day about how I develop my confidence or control my nerves in regards to starting at a new placement. My confidence has been growing since the first day of my course. I am more sure of myself and more aware of my capabilities. With this confidence I can manage my nerves better but everyone gets nervous! Whether you’re going out to your first placement or your sixth. In some ways it gets easier. Even by your second placement you have some idea of what to expect and, over time, you build up your knowledge so find yourself slipping into the routine and team quicker. However, as time goes on, you are aware that more is expected of you. So either way nerves are to be expected. Especially at the moment. Everyone is under more pressure and feeling more insecure. Regular staff out in practice are also adjusting to the changes and you’ll find you will be working with redeployed staff who may actually be more nervous than you because they may have no previous experience in that practice area. We are all going through this together.
If you find yourself being more nervous than normal, that’s okay. These aren’t normal times and everyone will understand. Being nervous doesn’t make you weak or less competent. Allow yourself to feel nervous, don’t try to push away or ignore that feeling. Remember also that nerves don’t mean you can’t be excited at the same time! As nervous as I was, I also couldn’t wait to get back out into practice and have some routine and normality back during lockdown!
Stay safe, support each other and accept this as part of your journey to becoming a better self and nurse. You are strong.