I really do live my life day to day; no day is the same as a student nurse! At the moment I am currently doing placement in paediatric A&E during winter pressures🥶.
Here at the University of Hertfordshire you do a total of 8 placements over the course of 3 years, that vary from 4-13+ weeks. We have to complete a total of 2300 hours of placement during our three years. As a children’s nursing student our placements range from working at hospitals to Hospices to special needs schools to around the community! There really is a range. At Herts, we are sent to different hospitals each time; this provies us a range of different experiences and opportunities, it really allows you to think about where you would like to work in the future. In previous placements I’ve been able to work at the UK’s top children’s hospital! Although this also means a lot of travel; they put into consideration where you live and how long it would take you to get there.
When on placement
Often we work 3-4 12 hour shifts per week; this could be long days or night shifts. Although 12 hours is super long⏰ I absolutely love having 4 days off and by the time you do a couple of weeks you definitely do get use to it. I don’t ever see myself doing a 9-5. For this placement, I got lucky and got placed at a hospital only 20 minutes away! I wake up at 06:15, do my thing🪥 and catch the bus. Once there, every shift starts off with handover; this is where information from the last shift is shared with those starting. I really feel as through I am part of the team here as all the nurses and Emergency department assistants are in the same room. Then after we get stuck in! Every shift is truly different. As a student; I often start of with measuring the vital signs of the patients already in the unit and conducting the safety checks. Whist on placement we are given a practice assessor and supervisor - these are the nurses who track our progress and whom we can approach for support (although everyone at this unit is super supportive) we have to complete a tick box list which we call proficiencies; these include things like learning how to take bloods; to supporting parents; to being about to communicate well with all the children.
You never really know what will go through the door of the A&E so you have to he prepared for any ambulance admissions or walk ins. As it is winter, we are extra busy as children are catching nasty illnesses due to the time of the year. We always prioritise seeing the sickest patient first. The wait for A&E can be frustrating for many kids and especially their parents, part of role is to he able to empathic to them and be able to explain to them what is going on as best you can! Because no one would want to be waiting for hours and hours. Then its break time; in this department we get two 30 minute breaks; my first break is breakfast and the hospital canteen has a very tasty British breakfast everyday! Back to the ward - I may be giving our treatments such as pain killers or inhalers (under supervision of course) and keeping up with the routine observations, this includes keeping tract of the patients vital signs incase they get worse when they wait. My second break then comes; and very soon its home time! I found that working A&E makes the time go by so fast, of course of how busy it gets you are often running around. I get out of the hospital and get the bus around 19:45. Once home, the first thing I do is shower and change my clothes! Hopefully I have prepared food for myself the day before ; as at this point I am so hungry! During dinner, I often debrief and catch up with my best friend, who also is my flatmate about our day, she is also a student nurse! Then its time to go to bed to do it all again the following day!
When on campus
When I am on a teaching block it is very different! I often like to still wake up early; but not as early haha. Normally I get up at 10am so I can get lots done during the day! I always start the day off with breakfast and during this I might be doing my laundry🧺. During semester A of third year; I only had classes twice a week and they only started after 1pm. I like to then make sure my whole room is clean as I am one of those people who can’t do anything if it isnt! If I need to do my groceries then I would - I love visiting the charity shops in town so if I have time I do this as an activity with my friend! If not, I get straight to getting my work done! I am very much a lists person so I go through my list as best as I can. I really enjoy cooking and eating🤭 so dinner time is always a highlight! After I often relax and meet with friends for games night or with my partner to watch a movie!