Is nursing placement supposed to make you want to quit??

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Querrentheal2021
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#1
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#1
I’m in my first year of a BSc Adult Nursing, I’ve just started my first placement and it’s literally hell.
I had no experience in care before so I hoped that I’d be on a nice ward with friendly people who were willing to help me out and show me the ropes. Sadly I was mistaken. I came into the ward greeted by a very annoyed looking nurse, was told to wait in the handover room which I did. Sat through the handover and not one person had acknowledged my existence. Everybody walked off and I had to follow and ask someone if I was in the right place. It turned out I was, however the ward was now a covid ward (I wasn’t told prior to starting) and also my mentor was on holiday so I’d have to just ‘float’. The sister then left me in the middle of the corridor wondering what the hell to do next. I found a HCA who showed me how to wash a patient, then he left me reading some ‘notes’ and disappeared. I then found another HCA who palmed me off to somebody else who also didn’t want me there.
I spent the whole day being snapped at, I had no training whatsoever, I was expected to know how to do personal care for the patients which I had no idea what I was doing. I was asked to feed a patient, to which I stated I’ve never done this before, only for the snappy HCA to say ‘just feed them?’.
I know this may have just been a bad ward and a bad day, however it also made me feel that the profession wasn’t right for me. I didn’t like how the nurses spoke to the patients and disregarded them as though they were worthless, I feel as though if I were to pursue this career I would need to be the same way in order to fit in with the nurses. I witnessed some terrible practise including dragging patients up the bed, using the same gloves to change a bed pan and then feed a patient (no wonder MRSA and covid are so easily spread in hospital), mocking patients and discussing how annoying they were. I honestly cannot see myself working in that profession, however I feel very stuck at the moment as I quit a good job to pursue the dream of nursing, only to feel very disillusioned and disheartened. I’m only in my first year, should I quit now and cut my losses or carry it on for 3 years only to hate it at the end?
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Anonnorth
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#2
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#2
Its just the same in other professions, you have good and bad companies and good and bad hospitals and wards, it might be good that you are experiencing the bad ones first and if you can get through that hope you find a good one after and to work in when qualified.

One thing you have to remember is they will have lots of stress working there anyway but especially since March 2020 and seen lots die in that ward.

Good luck with it and hope you do well if you stick with it.
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Tracey_W
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
I’m in my first year of a BSc Adult Nursing, I’ve just started my first placement and it’s literally hell.
I had no experience in care before so I hoped that I’d be on a nice ward with friendly people who were willing to help me out and show me the ropes. Sadly I was mistaken. I came into the ward greeted by a very annoyed looking nurse, was told to wait in the handover room which I did. Sat through the handover and not one person had acknowledged my existence. Everybody walked off and I had to follow and ask someone if I was in the right place. It turned out I was, however the ward was now a covid ward (I wasn’t told prior to starting) and also my mentor was on holiday so I’d have to just ‘float’. The sister then left me in the middle of the corridor wondering what the hell to do next. I found a HCA who showed me how to wash a patient, then he left me reading some ‘notes’ and disappeared. I then found another HCA who palmed me off to somebody else who also didn’t want me there.
I spent the whole day being snapped at, I had no training whatsoever, I was expected to know how to do personal care for the patients which I had no idea what I was doing. I was asked to feed a patient, to which I stated I’ve never done this before, only for the snappy HCA to say ‘just feed them?’.
I know this may have just been a bad ward and a bad day, however it also made me feel that the profession wasn’t right for me. I didn’t like how the nurses spoke to the patients and disregarded them as though they were worthless, I feel as though if I were to pursue this career I would need to be the same way in order to fit in with the nurses. I witnessed some terrible practise including dragging patients up the bed, using the same gloves to change a bed pan and then feed a patient (no wonder MRSA and covid are so easily spread in hospital), mocking patients and discussing how annoying they were. I honestly cannot see myself working in that profession, however I feel very stuck at the moment as I quit a good job to pursue the dream of nursing, only to feel very disillusioned and disheartened. I’m only in my first year, should I quit now and cut my losses or carry it on for 3 years only to hate it at the end?
Hi
As a recently qualified midwife (2019), I also experienced placements same as you are as you do get them unfortunately, some of the nurses who supposed to support you through this don't want to know any new students but they forgotten they were in your shoes not too long ago themselves.
This do happen within nursing as every placement is completely different as you will probably enjoy next one more better once you get to this stage later in year.
Use this placement as experience in how some staff treat others ok.
Look forward in when your mentor gets back to work and hopefully things may improve on remaining weeks of this placement you currently on.

Yeah attitude stinks from the nurses but try to remember also that you working on a ward full of covid19 patients and the tensions & pressures from staff right now is very difficulty under these circumstances.

Just be strong and do what asked and yes ask for to be shown what to do because you don't know what is involved.

Don't quit as student nurse ok .
Keep notes of things that happened and discussed it with your mentor as she will sit down and talk to you about things.

Emily_B hi emme can you add anything to this to help this lass xx
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Emily_B
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#4
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#4
Hi Querrentheal2021! A lot of my first thoughts on what you've said, Tracey_W already has.
I qualified as a nurse in 2019 just after Tracey did as a midwife. Safe to say we've both had some not great placements.
Unfortunately, brand new students who haven't worked in care before get put under the impression (by the universities) that there is a certain way that placements should and do work. This isn't always the case, as unfortunately you've now witnessed.

(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
It turned out I was, however the ward was now a covid ward (I wasn’t told prior to starting) and also my mentor was on holiday so I’d have to just ‘float’.
Unfortunately, a lot of wards are going from their usual specialities to covid very rapidly, sometimes overnight. Completely changing round one full bay in a ward is hard work - doing this with a full ward is a nightmare. Although behaviour toward you wasn't brilliant and not very acceptable, nurses are human and this can account for a proportion of the stressed out vibe to the ward (add in the fact that the pandemic has been tiring to work through! I'm on annual leave this week, and have slept 12 hours every night because I need to catch up on rest but feel guilty about not going in to help out). I'm not excusing their behaviour, just trying to put some perspective into things.
Also... I'd question why you haven't had someone else to work with?? "mentors" aren't a thing any more - it's practice assessor and practice supervisor, so you have 2 people to mentor you as per NMC educational standards.

A bit of persistence with "I don't know how to do this and you need to show me" is needed. It feels rubbish, I know - but keep pushing this. Also a bit of "can I watch you do that so that I know what to do next time and therefore help you out" will go a long way. Making your learning seem like it's doing them a favour is always a really good thing!
In addition to this, anything bad... escalate. If it can't be the ward sister or ward manager, then the hospital's practice education team and the university.

Honestly, if I based my nursing career off either my first placement where there was literally nothing for a student to do, or one of my 2nd year placements where I was made to feel stupid for asking where something was (and cried after every single shift), I wouldn't be qualified now.
There are better placements, and the career really isn't all like that first impression you've had.
Last edited by Emily_B; 1 year ago
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Querrentheal2021
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#5
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#5
Thanks everyone for the replies it’s helped me to consider my decision
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Emily_B
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Thanks everyone for the replies it’s helped me to consider my decision
You're welcome. Hope you find someone on placement/at uni to help you with all this, too. Good luck.
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Tracey_W
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Thanks everyone for the replies it’s helped me to consider my decision
You are most welcome x
Hopefully you'll get somebody to help you with things you want to know at both placement and university and best of luck for rest of your student days xx
Both Emily & I am here if you want to talk to us ok as just PM us anytime . xx
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Querrentheal2021
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Tracey_W)
You are most welcome x
Hopefully you'll get somebody to help you with things you want to know at both placement and university and best of luck for rest of your student days xx
Both Emily & I am here if you want to talk to us ok as just PM us anytime . xx
Thank you so much I really appreciate that xx
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Tracey_W
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Thank you so much I really appreciate that xx
Hi
No problems as you are welcome to PM me or Emily ok as I'm sure that Emily won't have a problem as I don't.
See how things go when you back on shift with your placement and I hope you will start feeling more happier. Xx
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Jowo
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#10
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#10
Be the Nursing Student who graduates and always maintains their positive attitude and compassionate nature in all their subsequent work.

Become a Nurse who inspires and motivates during their shifts and who demonstrates patience and good coaching towards student nurses on their placements.

The lesson you learn here is to find ways not to become unfriendly, impatient and jaded like those you have witnessed around you who cannot maintain the core values of the role (for whatever reason this is caused by).

As a visitor to an older person's ward with ladies suffering from dementia, I saw 2 patients who stripped off their nightgowns. In one instance, the staff member was cross with them and said 'What if your daughter saw you like this? What if there were men on the ward? It's disgusting'. With the other patient that stripped, I saw a Nurse gently put her clothes back on a guide her patiently back to her bed. Be that second professional. I can't see how it takes any more effort or energy to be kind and patient.
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Querrentheal2021
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Jowo)
Be the Nursing Student who graduates and always maintains their positive attitude and compassionate nature in all their subsequent work.

Become a Nurse who inspires and motivates during their shifts and who demonstrates patience and good coaching towards student nurses on their placements.

The lesson you learn here is to find ways not to become unfriendly, impatient and jaded like those you have witnessed around you who cannot maintain the core values of the role (for whatever reason this is caused by).

As a visitor to an older person's ward with ladies suffering from dementia, I saw 2 patients who stripped off their nightgowns. In one instance, the staff member was cross with them and said 'What if your daughter saw you like this? What if there were men on the ward? It's disgusting'. With the other patient that stripped, I saw a Nurse gently put her clothes back on a guide her patiently back to her bed. Be that second professional. I can't see how it takes any more effort or energy to be kind and patient.
I totally agree and have had similar discussions with other student nurses who say use them as a lesson of how not to treat patients etc. I just feel like I’m far too sensitive for it, I hate to see other patients being treated badly and I feel so outnumbered! I feel like eventually maybe I’ll end up the same way, and how will that affect me personally and my personal relationships? I don’t want to be hardened off to the struggles of everyday life, I want to help people but as my placement goes on, I’m starting to wonder why some nurses even went into the profession at all. Thanks for your response!
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Jowo
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#12
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#12
I've not worked in a nursing or health care role but from what I've seen from my employment so far, certain employers, or specific departments or teams within a company can have really negative cultures while others are really positive.

I've been in toxic workplaces or worked alongside toxic 'can't do/won't do' colleagues and I've been motivated to not get sucked into that type of dynamic. I go out of my way to welcome new colleagues and share my knowledge.

It sounds like you've got to be firmer about your needs because they are automatically just walking all over you.

I can't help wondering what type of management and supervisors that ward has that has led to so many of their subordinates to fail to do the basics and cannot provide basic training to a student nurse on their first placement.

I get the context of the pressures of Covid but that's context and shouldn't be an excuse to treat a colleague like they were a nuisance or fail to maintain the most basic of hygiene.

The profession is right for you because you have identified some practices that have appalled you, unlike those that are perpetuating them. This means you have the right values. Once you are qualified, you can be a role model in your workplace.
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Nursey mom
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#13
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#13
Give it a chance. Every ward is different. Spend time learning the basics (obs, beds,baths). Tell people it’s your first day week placement. (They won’t know unless you tell them). If it’s awful use that to be better yourself in future. Nursing is a huge varied profession. Lots of different places and practice. Hope the next placements better and this one improves
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Emily_B
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#14
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
I totally agree and have had similar discussions with other student nurses who say use them as a lesson of how not to treat patients etc. I just feel like I’m far too sensitive for it, I hate to see other patients being treated badly and I feel so outnumbered! I feel like eventually maybe I’ll end up the same way, and how will that affect me personally and my personal relationships? I don’t want to be hardened off to the struggles of everyday life, I want to help people but as my placement goes on, I’m starting to wonder why some nurses even went into the profession at all. Thanks for your response!
How are you getting on?
"too sensitive" - this is your first placement, how to deal with things, coping mechanisms, and effectively challenging poor behaviour will come with time. Not liking patients being treated badly just shows you care and want them to be treated properly/do your best.
Last edited by Emily_B; 1 year ago
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Querrentheal2021
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Emily_B)
How are you getting on?
"too sensitive" - this is your first placement, how to deal with things, coping mechanisms, and effectively challenging poor behaviour will come with time. Not liking patients being treated badly just shows you care and want them to be treated properly/do your best.
Hey I’ve been back and had similar experiences, the staff are very unhelpful and I have no mentor at all so I’m left to my own devices. Unfortunately it was a covid Ward and I’ve now caught covid so I’m off placement for the mean time. You’re right I guess I will learn to be less sensitive. I just hope that doesn’t strip me of any sensitivity I have in my personal life
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Pugglet
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Hey I’ve been back and had similar experiences, the staff are very unhelpful and I have no mentor at all so I’m left to my own devices. Unfortunately it was a covid Ward and I’ve now caught covid so I’m off placement for the mean time. You’re right I guess I will learn to be less sensitive. I just hope that doesn’t strip me of any sensitivity I have in my personal life
My classmate asked to be moved from a placement as he was on a covid ward and the staff were awful to him. They refused to talk to him and mocked him.
He was moved to a different ward and absolutely loved it there.
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Emily_B
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Hey I’ve been back and had similar experiences, the staff are very unhelpful and I have no mentor at all so I’m left to my own devices. Unfortunately it was a covid Ward and I’ve now caught covid so I’m off placement for the mean time.
Get on to the practice education team at the hospital and the university about this ASAP. One day of it is rubbish but a fortnight is unacceptable. Phone, email, any form of communication while you're stuck at home use it.

(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
You’re right I guess I will learn to be less sensitive. I just hope that doesn’t strip me of any sensitivity I have in my personal life
It's not necessarily always about being less sensitive - it's learning how to cope with things.
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Querrentheal2021
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Pugglet)
My classmate asked to be moved from a placement as he was on a covid ward and the staff were awful to him. They refused to talk to him and mocked him.
He was moved to a different ward and absolutely loved it there.
Really?? That’s so reassuring. I’ve tried to ask to be moved but the lecturer didn’t even reply to me. Need to follow it up because I’m definitely not going back to that ward!
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Rabbit2
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
I’m in my first year of a BSc Adult Nursing, I’ve just started my first placement and it’s literally hell.
I had no experience in care before so I hoped that I’d be on a nice ward with friendly people who were willing to help me out and show me the ropes. Sadly I was mistaken. I came into the ward greeted by a very annoyed looking nurse, was told to wait in the handover room which I did. Sat through the handover and not one person had acknowledged my existence. Everybody walked off and I had to follow and ask someone if I was in the right place. It turned out I was, however the ward was now a covid ward (I wasn’t told prior to starting) and also my mentor was on holiday so I’d have to just ‘float’. The sister then left me in the middle of the corridor wondering what the hell to do next. I found a HCA who showed me how to wash a patient, then he left me reading some ‘notes’ and disappeared. I then found another HCA who palmed me off to somebody else who also didn’t want me there.
I spent the whole day being snapped at, I had no training whatsoever, I was expected to know how to do personal care for the patients which I had no idea what I was doing. I was asked to feed a patient, to which I stated I’ve never done this before, only for the snappy HCA to say ‘just feed them?’.
I know this may have just been a bad ward and a bad day, however it also made me feel that the profession wasn’t right for me. I didn’t like how the nurses spoke to the patients and disregarded them as though they were worthless, I feel as though if I were to pursue this career I would need to be the same way in order to fit in with the nurses. I witnessed some terrible practise including dragging patients up the bed, using the same gloves to change a bed pan and then feed a patient (no wonder MRSA and covid are so easily spread in hospital), mocking patients and discussing how annoying they were. I honestly cannot see myself working in that profession, however I feel very stuck at the moment as I quit a good job to pursue the dream of nursing, only to feel very disillusioned and disheartened. I’m only in my first year, should I quit now and cut my losses or carry it on for 3 years only to hate it at the end?
This is why i have suggested many, many times to aspiring practitioners in many fields, that they should interview at least 6 or 8 people who are presently degreed and credentialed in a field that they are considering, and ask them about their chosen careers. Anyone can easily locate suitable interviewees through the professional societies in their country. I think you have received a realistic introduction to that field. Perhaps you should re-assess your professional plans with a bit more investigation this time. I considered 6 career fields before selecting electrical engineering, and i think i 'got it right' in the end. Young people seem to select professions with all the seriousness of flipping a coin - to select what they are going to be doing for the next 40 to 50 years of their lives. Given the way you feel after your 'introduction to nursing 101' that you have just finished, i doubt that your evaluation of the field is going to change much over time. At least you have only one year invested - that is one bright side. Best of luck!!
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Pugglet
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Querrentheal2021)
Really?? That’s so reassuring. I’ve tried to ask to be moved but the lecturer didn’t even reply to me. Need to follow it up because I’m definitely not going back to that ward!
Yeah he went to the placement coordinator team and they sorted it for him.
I wouldn’t go back to that one either. Definitely report them for the bad practice also.
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