Thriving Nursing Students do these 6 things on Clinical Placement
Clinical placement comes with mixed challenges and emotions for nursing students. A time to be excited about practicing in all the new knowledge and skills learned during semesters. It can also come with great anxiety and trepidation, as facing unknown territory of new facilities/wards/preceptors, and, often the extra challenge of a reduced income.
Here are solutions to the top 6 challenges frequently experienced by students.
1. Get your requests in
As students you are not always able to request your roster, or work your preferred days. If you have a special occasion to attend, for example your Mum’s 60th birthday celebration, speak to the organizer of your clinical placement early to facilitate your request.
2. Manage your precious time
Clinical placement is a full time commitment, it is near impossible to continue working your part-time job in addition to attending your clinical placement. Planning leave from your other commitments during this time is ideal. You are likely to feel more tired than you ever have, so reduce the commitments in your personal life and delay any other projects. Plan for your placement by saving money, so you don’t have to work your part time job. Be savvy and research what clinical placement scholarship funding support that maybe available through your organisation or university. Usually the study and assessments still continue whilst you are on placement, and you have to stay on top of this.
3. Understand it is a 24 hour career
Hospitals function on a 24/7 basis, as patients need round the clock care. The majority of staff do shift work, and you will to. Working until late at night may see you returning early in the morning. You need to be savvy with your time and manage your life around your shifts. Be upfront with friends and family and communicate your roster early, so you don’t miss out on that dinner because you are on a late shift.
4. Manage your health and energy
When you are rostered on a late/early, you will be tired. You have to be disciplined after your late shift and set yourself a “bedtime” to maximize the amount of rest you are going to get. In contrast you will have early/late shifts, so maximize this time to catch up on life admin and rest.
5. Call in your supports
Make sure you communicate with your friends and family, so they are there for you when you need support. It’s OK to ask for help, to ask your relative or friend for support you in any way. Perhaps you need your shift at your part time job covered? Or dinner made to take to work the next day? Surround yourself with people who love and support you, this will help when things get tough.
6. Manage your physical health
You will need to prepare healthy meals, by doing the food shopping and cooking up batches of food. Your options are limited at hospital cafes. Make sure you take your breaks, remember you are there to learn so there should be no excuse for missing a break. Sit down to eat, drink and breathe on your breaks. You will better for it and gain more energy when you do. Stay hydrated and drink at least two of your drink bottles per shift After your shifts, go for walks, get sunshine and call your loved ones, even use other students to car pool and talk about your day and connect with others.
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