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I'm dreading my next placement as I'm bad with phones, just wanted advice Watch

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    I'm a mental health nursing student and have a problem in that I've no common sense and find it hard to understand things/information just gets muffled in my head. I'm fine with academic assignments and even practical exams as I have time to think before doing but I struggle on placements particularly with phone calls. I'm ok making calls as I can plan what to say but I hate answering calls and find it very hard. I tried to overcome this on my last community placement but it went horribly wrong. I volunteered to be on phone duty for half a day as the team said they needed someone. I told myself to not be a wimp and although I was dreading it I thought it would be good as I needed to buildup confidence on phones.

    Anyway 2 calls went ok but then someone rang from another team and asked for a gp's number. I looked on the computor system but had forgotten how to get to it. I was polite and asked the person to wait while I got help as I couldn't find it. She said 'you can't find it, whys that' I said 'no could you just wait please while I get help off a collegue' she said 'well how do you look up your patients numbers then'. I just explained again that I was having trouble and I went to get help. Another nurse told me to put her through to admin so I went back and gave her admins number. I was unsure of how to put through a call. She said 'you should be able to put me through really, its very unprofessional' then she put the phone down.

    My mentor spoke to me the next day and asked how the phone duty went. I told her about the successful calls and she said 'did you get any other calls'. I knew that she knew lol so I told her about the bad one. She said that the woman was from the finance team and had said that I was unhelpful and had grunted on the phone (I'm pretty sure I didn't grunt I was scared and tried to be polite even though she was angry). I told my mentor that I didn't grunt and that the woman had got annoyed at me for not knowing how to get the number or put the call through. My mentor said that she didn't know how to put calls through and struggled but asked why I didn't know how to get the number. She said that I should have been able to get the number and asked if I remembered her showing me. I remembered her showing me a few things but obviouslyI didn't remember them all. I explained that the woman was angry with me and how I did my best given the situation and my mentor said 'I think she was just taken aback that you couldn't do it'. She failed me on the 'communication with colleagues' element of the assessment even though I was fine communicating with everyone else.

    I wish I hadn't have volunteered and in future I'l be careful about putting myself forward for things even though I was just trying to have courage. Rather than increase my confidence it's just made me even more scared of phones lol and I'm absolutely dreading my next placement on Monday as it's also community based. Another issue I have with phones is that when someone is telling me something that happened which involves other people ie an 'he said that she said' story I find it too complex to follow and my mind goes blank. Just wanted advice.
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    get some practise phoning people, it's mostly about the tone of your voice, you have to be extremely polite, you should never have said "no" as the first word in your reply when she was questioning you. just remember to be polite that is all there is to it, you find that when you are, you get what you want from the phone call 99% of the time. you soon discover how important it is to be polite in life. (if i had been miserable to student loans ppl I wouldn't have had the chance to go to uni because i didn't have the funding available, they let me know that i could apply to have a year reembursed for medical reasons).

    you need to face this fear, because it'll open opportunities in life. just remember to fear the fear itself and get LOTS of practise in. start phoning up friends/family randomly and try to start a conversation with them. DO NOT shy away from it. seriously, it's all about politeness nothing else.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm a mental health nursing student and have a problem in that I've no common sense and find it hard to understand things/information just gets muffled in my head. I'm fine with academic assignments and even practical exams as I have time to think before doing but I struggle on placements particularly with phone calls. I'm ok making calls as I can plan what to say but I hate answering calls and find it very hard. I tried to overcome this on my last community placement but it went horribly wrong. I volunteered to be on phone duty for half a day as the team said they needed someone. I told myself to not be a wimp and although I was dreading it I thought it would be good as I needed to buildup confidence on phones.

    Anyway 2 calls went ok but then someone rang from another team and asked for a gp's number. I looked on the computor system but had forgotten how to get to it. I was polite and asked the person to wait while I got help as I couldn't find it. She said 'you can't find it, whys that' I said 'no could you just wait please while I get help off a collegue' she said 'well how do you look up your patients numbers then'. I just explained again that I was having trouble and I went to get help. Another nurse told me to put her through to admin so I went back and gave her admins number. I was unsure of how to put through a call. She said 'you should be able to put me through really, its very unprofessional' then she put the phone down.

    My mentor spoke to me the next day and asked how the phone duty went. I told her about the successful calls and she said 'did you get any other calls'. I knew that she knew lol so I told her about the bad one. She said that the woman was from the finance team and had said that I was unhelpful and had grunted on the phone (I'm pretty sure I didn't grunt I was scared and tried to be polite even though she was angry). I told my mentor that I didn't grunt and that the woman had got annoyed at me for not knowing how to get the number or put the call through. My mentor said that she didn't know how to put calls through and struggled but asked why I didn't know how to get the number. She said that I should have been able to get the number and asked if I remembered her showing me. I remembered her showing me a few things but obviouslyI didn't remember them all. I explained that the woman was angry with me and how I did my best given the situation and my mentor said 'I think she was just taken aback that you couldn't do it'. She failed me on the 'communication with colleagues' element of the assessment even though I was fine communicating with everyone else.

    I wish I hadn't have volunteered and in future I'l be careful about putting myself forward for things even though I was just trying to have courage. Rather than increase my confidence it's just made me even more scared of phones lol and I'm absolutely dreading my next placement on Monday as it's also community based. Another issue I have with phones is that when someone is telling me something that happened which involves other people ie an 'he said that she said' story I find it too complex to follow and my mind goes blank. Just wanted advice.

    So ive read skimmed and then read your post. Off the top of my head you have these issues/ challenges that you need to tackle:

    1. Technical- learn to use the phone system. Go in early and sit with someone who is really good on the phone to observe. Learn how the equipment operates and write it down on small flash cards or a piece of paper. How to transfer someone, how to put people on hold etc. have the key numbers to hand. It might be transfe to a differnt department or just a different phone in the vicinity.

    2. Approach and confidence. You are going to need to learn about getting an confident telephone manner and communicating it to the other person that you are in control and can meet their request with the relevant information. Being confident and polite will put them at their ease. You lost at this with the woman from finance and it go out of control.

    3. Problem solve in a common sense way. Learn to listen to what they want, assess, think how you can meet their request and then do it. You need to think a little bit on your feet, but if unsure you can ask a colleague as last resort, ask them to repeat, get further information.

    Most of the problems will fall into a very small number of categories. Sit with or pick the brains of someone who is an expert or go and pick the brains of someone on switchboard and you will see it is automatic and mostly unchallenging/ dull.

    You can make notes or maybe a flow diagram to help you, but keep it simple. I bet that most of the calls are covered by 5-10 scenarios. keep a list and I bet you see the same ones repeating. As you do you will get better. As you get better you will get confidence. You can also go on telephone training courses or read articles about it, its just a skill you can learn, practice makes perfect.

    1. Technical ability
    2. Telephone manner
    3. Problem solving.

    Crack all three of those and you willfind it much less stressful, plus you cna improve your confidence. look for an external course or maybe some small voluntary work where you cna make your mistakes and get exprience. Student union might have a student helpline etc.

    Believe you can do it. Show your supervisor how you will tackle your plan to improve. Please dont say you dont have common sense or cant think on your feet they are vital skills and it would horrify any supervisor.

    .
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Telephone-M...lephone+skills
    http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Good-Telephone-Skills
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    (Original post by Mistletoe)
    get some practise phoning people, it's mostly about the tone of your voice, you have to be extremely polite, you should never have said "no" as the first word in your reply when she was questioning you. just remember to be polite that is all there is to it, you find that when you are, you get what you want from the phone call 99% of the time. you soon discover how important it is to be polite in life. (if i had been miserable to student loans ppl I wouldn't have had the chance to go to uni because i didn't have the funding available, they let me know that i could apply to have a year reembursed for medical reasons).

    you need to face this fear, because it'll open opportunities in life. just remember to fear the fear itself and get LOTS of practise in. start phoning up friends/family randomly and try to start a conversation with them. DO NOT shy away from it. seriously, it's all about politeness nothing else.
    Nothing was mentioned about her telephone skills though, as she certainly wasn't polite lol and she was a colleague of the team working in the same health centre. I could understand a patient or customer etc being how she was but she was a collegue/part of the wider team. I was polite with her I said sorry several times and I said thanks at the end of the call despite what she said to me and despite her angry tone. The mentor basically excused her angry tone as her being 'taken aback'. I know there is a pecking order and I guess since I'm the one being assessed I must be responsible for her actions too lol. I know that focusing on her actions won't help me to improve and that I need to focus on mine. According to the other placements I'm polite I think the issue was more elsewhere but I will still focus on being polite though, thanks. I'l remember not to start a sentance with no, meh there's so much to remember lol. Yea I just need to not shy away from it but then I worry about making a bad impression again if something goes wrong ha.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by 999tigger)
    So ive read skimmed and then read your post. Off the top of my head you have these issues/ challenges that you need to tackle:

    1. Technical- learn to use the phone system. Go in early and sit with someone who is really good on the phone to observe. Learn how the equipment operates and write it down on small flash cards or a piece of paper. How to transfer someone, how to put people on hold etc. have the key numbers to hand. It might be transfe to a differnt department or just a different phone in the vicinity.

    2. Approach and confidence. You are going to need to learn about getting an confident telephone manner and communicating it to the other person that you are in control and can meet their request with the relevant information. Being confident and polite will put them at their ease. You lost at this with the woman from finance and it go out of control.

    3. Problem solve in a common sense way. Learn to listen to what they want, assess, think how you can meet their request and then do it. You need to think a little bit on your feet, but if unsure you can ask a colleague as last resort, ask them to repeat, get further information.

    Most of the problems will fall into a very small number of categories. Sit with or pick the brains of someone who is an expert or go and pick the brains of someone on switchboard and you will see it is automatic and mostly unchallenging/ dull.

    You can make notes or maybe a flow diagram to help you, but keep it simple. I bet that most of the calls are covered by 5-10 scenarios. keep a list and I bet you see the same ones repeating. As you do you will get better. As you get better you will get confidence. You can also go on telephone training courses or read articles about it, its just a skill you can learn, practice makes perfect.

    1. Technical ability
    2. Telephone manner
    3. Problem solving.

    Crack all three of those and you willfind it much less stressful, plus you cna improve your confidence. look for an external course or maybe some small voluntary work where you cna make your mistakes and get exprience. Student union might have a student helpline etc.

    Believe you can do it. Show your supervisor how you will tackle your plan to improve. Please dont say you dont have common sense or cant think on your feet they are vital skills and it would horrify any supervisor.

    .
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Telephone-M...lephone+skills
    http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Good-Telephone-Skills
    Thanks, I do need to improve the first element of learning the technics of the phone I agree, I should have done this last time. As for my telephone manner I couldn't have been more polite than I was but I could have had more confidence I guess. I feel that I did as you say in point 3 as I listened to what she wanted, tried to meet her request by looking on the computor and I asked a collegue for help when I was stuck. The collegue didn't help me though I would have liked them to come over really to help me on the computor but they told me to put her through to admin. Maybe sounding more confident and sure would have helped but I did the best I could given the situation (is not being able to find the go number or being able to put her through). I definately should have asked someone to go through putting calls through etc though and how the equipment operates.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Nothing was mentioned about her telephone skills though, as she certainly wasn't polite lol and she was a colleague of the team working in the same health centre. I could understand a patient or customer etc being how she was but she was a collegue/part of the wider team. I was polite with her I said sorry several times and I said thanks at the end of the call despite what she said to me and despite her angry tone. The mentor basically excused her angry tone as her being 'taken aback'. I know there is a pecking order and I guess since I'm the one being assessed I must be responsible for her actions too lol. I know that focusing on her actions won't help me to improve and that I need to focus on mine. According to the other placements I'm polite I think the issue was more elsewhere but I will still focus on being polite though, thanks. I'l remember not to start a sentance with no, meh there's so much to remember lol. Yea I just need to not shy away from it but then I worry about making a bad impression again if something goes wrong ha.
    Now the problem with what you're doing is that you're listing a huge about of information which you hope will save you when you do the call. That can't happen, it will take you time to recall the information and you might forget some of it because of the fear. Remember ONE thing only, and that is to be polite (and i mean ridiculously polite, even if they swear and abuse you...you're getting paid and should put up with it). Everything else will come easily as long as you stick to this, and you will naturally not start a sentance with no if you're truly being polite (i'm afraid not, unfortunately that's not possible because...). Just don't stress, and get as much practise doing it as possible. You must confront your fears in life or you'll get stuck in a rut.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks, I do need to improve the first element of learning the technics of the phone I agree, I should have done this last time. As for my telephone manner I couldn't have been more polite than I was but I could have had more confidence I guess. I feel that I did as you say in point 3 as I listened to what she wanted, tried to meet her request by looking on the computor and I asked a collegue for help when I was stuck. The collegue didn't help me though I would have liked them to come over really to help me on the computor but they told me to put her through to admin. Maybe sounding more confident and sure would have helped but I did the best I could given the situation (is not being able to find the go number or being able to put her through). I definately should have asked someone to go through putting calls through etc though and how the equipment operates.
    Honestly I think you make too many excuses because you dont have the confidence. You are expected todela with all sorts of people, some of them demanding, some wont know what they want and some will be impatient or aggressive. You need to know how to handle people and you need to get it sorted now or your supervisor will spot this. Your resilience and ability to cope under pressure seems weak.

    Meet this head on. It is a skill to be learned.
    Go and get some telephone experience and work on all three aspects. practice will let you iron out your technique, meaning less mistakes and greater confidence. Its soemthing you cna do well in if you believe in yourself and are willing to get past clumsy mistakes. Sit with someone experienced and observe.
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    You probably came across under-confident and this undermined whatever confidence the person on the phone has in you to do what they request. Repeatedly saying 'sorry' doesn't help with this. It does take practice but there are ways of apologising to someone or telling them that you can't complete their request without making yourself look completely incompetent. I realise this is quite ambiguous advice, but there are tons of articles on the internet about speaking on the phone and being professional, and this will mature with time. You could even make up that your computer system isn't working and that you need to forward them onto someone else.

    You say you were being polite but in all likelihood you weren't, often people misinterpret how they're coming across. In future, ask your colleagues for specific advice on how to improve your telephone manner. The attitude of the person on the other end of the phone shouldn't matter - the fact that you bring this up as a relevant factor in previous posts might suggest that you were more impolite towards them than you thought you were, as obviously their attitude sparked an emotional response in you (if that makes sense). To help with this, you need to completely separate yourself and your emotions from the person on the other end of the phone so you won't get flustered in similar situations.

    Write down literally everything you get shown and learn - if you had done this then on the phone you could simply look at your notes and complete the request even if you couldn't remember if off the top of your head. When your colleague told you to forward the call to admin, you could have asked then how to forward calls, so at least you would get one thing right.
 
 
 
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