Last week I successfully completed my sixth, and final, placement in a community hospital. The final placement is our twelve week management and leadership placement so I had the opportunity to manage my own patients and to begin the transition from Student Nurse to Staff Nurse. Beginning this placement in the midst of a global pandemic is not something any of us were predicting but it is certainly an experience I shall never forget. Due to Covid-19, this daily overview may vary slightly to the ‘usual’ routine of the community hospital. This community hospital is a nurse-led unit but, due to Covid, we had a local doctor come onto the ward two/three times a day. I also experienced my first 14 hour shifts!
05:45: Wake up! Get ready and head downstairs for breakfast.
07:00: This placement was so close to home so I had some extra time in the mornings! I would leave at this time.
07:15: Arrive on the ward and get changed into my uniform. Then head to the desk for handover.
07:30-08:00: Handover time!
08:00-09:30: Morning medication round and serve up breakfast.
09:30-12:00: The mornings whizzed by as we spent our time assisting the patients to get up, washed and dressed for the day, had an MDT meeting, complete the doctor’s round, had our first break and start writing the notes.
12:00-17:00: The afternoons consisted of serving lunch for the patients, completing the lunchtime medication round, completing any dressings that needed doing, making referrals (SALT, diabetic nurses, palliative nurses, dieticians, district nurses etc.), completing CHCs, speaking to relatives, assisting patients, documenting our care, completing observations, squeezing in another break and, at the weekend, we would complete the weekly assessments (MUST scores, Waterlows, Falls, Bedrail assessments etc.).
17:00-21:00: During the evenings we would serve supper, commence the final medication round for our shift, assist the patients to get ready for bed, complete a final round of documentation, have another break and update the handover sheet. Of course throughout the day we may also have admissions and discharges so the day may vary!
21:00-21:30: Handover time again!
21:30-21:40: Change out of my uniform and put it into my scrubs bags!
21:40-21:55: Head home (Very ready for bed!).
21:55-22:30: Once home I would put my scrub bags straight into the washing machine and head for a shower. Only after I was clean would I then say hello to my parents and dog!
22:30: Bed time! As always after a shift it would take some time to wind down so I would usually read my book. If I was doing two shifts in a row though I would try to get to sleep as quickly as possible because, as you can see, there aren’t many hours in between the shift for sleeping!
I can not thank everyone on this placement enough. They looked after me and welcomed me with open arms (from afar!) during an uncertain time in the world and at a crucial point in my training. They gave me the opportunity to manage and lead and I truly felt like a valued member of their team! To all of you on the ward, thank you! Thank you for being so warm and kind. I will never forget this placement.
I hope all of you that have just finished a placement enjoyed it and remained safe and well.