Oh dear tell me about it!
Way before the start of this placement, I had caught the blues. Like seriously, I was so nervous about going into this placement one would have thought that I was in year 1. I had been to a fantastic placement before this one. I remember wishing that it was the final placement. I had bonded with but staff and patients. I felt like I had found my rhythm there. Then the next thing I knew, bam! it was over. 14weeks flew by so quickly it was unreal.
Now harsh realities were kicking in. I was previously in a forensic setting, now I was going into an acquired brain injury setting. I did not know what to expect. I was more worried about the mentor than I cared to admit. Would my mentor be ok? Will it be a he or a she? Will we gel? Guess what, this was the placement that counted towards my final classification. A lot was just riding on it. We simply had to get along if I had any dream of passing.
After the first day, I was even more anxious because my mentor was not available. So after all that anxiety, I did not get any questions answered. I was still like the proverbial chicken perching on one foot. Only by the time I got home both the foot I was perching with and the one I had in the air were hurting. I knew that I had to be patient and let the days flow. So here are some of the things that helped me
- Disconnect from old placement relationships: Although it is difficult, it is important as a student nurse to learn how to disconnect psychologically and emotionally for the old placement. This would help you to be a blank slate ready to take on all the challenges and joys of the new placement. Nursing itself is all about building relationships. However, in my opinion, less is being taught about disconnecting from old relationships. It is alright to long for old relationships. But acknowledge these feelings and move on.
- Avoid comparison: This is a bit difficult to achieve after a fantastic experience. It just feels like every other placement will not rival the last one. However, it is important to judge each placement area on their own merit. Avoid comparisons. Things are not always the way that they seem. Just because a placement area is all I.T savvy and paperless does not mean that the new one filled with endless paperwork is not as good. Help yourself begin to see the benefits of being in the new placement by avoiding comparison.
- Give yourself time to get to know everyone: Time is always key. Remember that it took you all those weeks to build all the relationships in the old placement which you now long for. With time, you will start to get used to the rhythm of the new placement. When getting to know everyone, include staff not just patients. Remember, in the new area, they may have their culture, language and communication style. Expect that when coming to join a new team, there may be a few niggles. It’s all part of the adjustment process. Don’t write people off if they annoy you. Things may improve if you give it a chance.
- Read care plans: Within the first few weeks of arriving a new placement, make it a point of duty to begin to read patients’ care plans. This would give you in-depth evidence based information peculiar to the patients. It will inform you about the prescribed methods of care that have been agreed with the patients. Following the plans will also reduce friction between you and the patients when you start assisting with their care.
- Ask questions; Don’t forget that you are there to learn. Ask as many questions as you have. It is better than just trying and making mistakes especially if you are not sure. Build rapport with staff so that they can guide you.
- Be open to correction: Don’t take things personal when you are corrected. Take all criticism positively. Ignore negativity directed at you. Remember that some people communicate badly. They mean well but it may just come out wrongly. Learn to take the positives and fling away the negatives.
- Smile: Smile always. A smile gives you a positive aura and draws people to you. a smile gives you a welcoming attitude. A smile cheers you up when things get though.
I did all these things and now, in week 2, I am having a great time. By the time my mentor arrived, I had managed to overcome my initially skeptical attitude. So these tips actually work!
Thank you for reading.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
You may also find other articles in this series useful. Please click here