The Student Room Group

Nursing placement

I’m a second year nursing student on my first placement of the year. This is my first time on a surgical ward - specialising in cardiac and thoracic issues. I have loved all my placements and have had positive feedback, this one just feels different. I’m feeling out of my depth in terms of knowledge and skills despite researching everything and note taking during/after shift to benefit my learning. Though I can’t help but feel inadequate/under skilled and unhelpful on shift.

Just wondering if anyone else ever felt like this during their time nursing. I'm normally very positive but this is the first time I’ve really doubted my abilities. Any words/advice would be appreciated TIA x 😇
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by nox0
I’m a second year nursing student on my first placement of the year. This is my first time on a surgical ward - specialising in cardiac and thoracic issues. I have loved all my placements and have had positive feedback, this one just feels different. I’m feeling out of my depth in terms of knowledge and skills despite researching everything and note taking during/after shift to benefit my learning. Though I can’t help but feel inadequate/under skilled and unhelpful on shift.
Just wondering if anyone else ever felt like this during their time nursing. I'm normally very positive but this is the first time I’ve really doubted my abilities. Any words/advice would be appreciated TIA x 😇

You're certainly not alone, two placements I struggled the most with were cardiac and ICU. They are very intense placements, do not be hard on yourself, you're only a student and you're there to learn. I benefitted from taking a small note pad with me to placement and would document drugs, procedures or types of wound cares that I wanted to learn more about. However, like yourself its hard at times to learn after a long hefty 12 hour shift so take it easy :smile:

How long have you been on that placement for? Could you do spoke days where you go out with the cardiac SN? Or within the cardiac physiology team to learn more about the physiology of the heart? I did a spoke day with them and benefited lots from this with learning about ECGs, echos, etc and managed to get my proficiencies signed off by doing this.

Do speak to your supervisor and practice assessor as there may be learning booklets you can be given to help with your learning and try to be kind to yourself 🙂
Original post by Hazelly
You're certainly not alone, two placements I struggled the most with were cardiac and ICU. They are very intense placements, do not be hard on yourself, you're only a student and you're there to learn. I benefitted from taking a small note pad with me to placement and would document drugs, procedures or types of wound cares that I wanted to learn more about. However, like yourself its hard at times to learn after a long hefty 12 hour shift so take it easy :smile:
How long have you been on that placement for? Could you do spoke days where you go out with the cardiac SN? Or within the cardiac physiology team to learn more about the physiology of the heart? I did a spoke day with them and benefited lots from this with learning about ECGs, echos, etc and managed to get my proficiencies signed off by doing this.
Do speak to your supervisor and practice assessor as there may be learning booklets you can be given to help with your learning and try to be kind to yourself 🙂
I think every student nursing applicants has probably struggled somewhere along there journeys to becoming a registered nurse.

I would certainly advise her to speak to her placement supervisor or the ward sister/ manager to see if they can help with things.

Hopefully you enjoyed your own journey in becoming a adult nurse Hazelly .
Original post by Tracey_W
I think every student nursing applicants has probably struggled somewhere along there journeys to becoming a registered nurse.
I would certainly advise her to speak to her placement supervisor or the ward sister/ manager to see if they can help with things.
Hopefully you enjoyed your own journey in becoming a adult nurse Hazelly .
Thank you! I certainly have, it's been tough at times but I'm looking forward to qualifying and going into the real world of nursing. I'm paediatric based instead of adult, I was very tempted in first year to change to adult nursing though!

Hope all is well with you 🙂
Original post by Hazelly
Thank you! I certainly have, it's been tough at times but I'm looking forward to qualifying and going into the real world of nursing. I'm paediatric based instead of adult, I was very tempted in first year to change to adult nursing though!
Hope all is well with you 🙂

You are welcome 🤗 🤗 🤗
Glad you enjoyed your journey as a student nurse and you are looking forward to being able to call yourself a fully qualified nurse very soon.

You'll find it better in the real world as a qualified nurse as you'll be more relaxed than you were as as student due to the pressure you can be under.
Paediatric nursing is great over adult nursing although just as tough as you probably know it's harder to diagnose young children as they can't tell you exactly what is wrong with them ( the older children can tell you).

I wouldn't change my coursework unless you are 100% sure that you were wanting to be a adult nurse over a children nurse.

I wanted to do adult nursing first before doing my midwife degree but I was still delighted in doing midwifery from the beginning as it definitely saved me going back to university and being a student again for about 20 months.

I'm absolutely loving the role of midwife as I like seeing the new parents happy with delight when the new baby arrives in the world 🌍. Obviously you will soon be dealing with new born babies right upto age of 18.

Everything is well with me and I am wishing you all the best for the rest of your student nurse day's and hearing you are now a fully qualified children nurse and working as a band 5. 🤗🤗🤗🤗🥰

Hope you are well yourself ☺️
Reply 5
Thank you so much for your advice, I really appreciate it😄. I’ve been working nights since starting placement so I’ve been finding it challenging to get the same experience you would during day shift. I’m here for 8 weeks total.

My practice assessor only works nights so I’ve had a bit of a panic thinking about getting things signed off but I’m sure I’ll manage somehow. I had a bit of a nightmare asking for experience on day shifts as they were quite adamant I’d have to do shifts alongside my PA even thought students are told to have a combination of all shifts. Most of the staff are nice, others have been less approachable and it’s the first time I’ve felt slightly uncomfortable but I understand that’s part of the process of nursing unfortunately - it’s not all sunshine and roses.

Have to say it’s not the nicest experience I’ve had as a student and can definitely say this area is not for me unfortunately😂. I’m willing to learn and am always grateful for the experience despite the negatives but will be glad to get the work done, the placement finished and put it behind me😅
Reply 6
Original post by nox0
I’m a second year nursing student on my first placement of the year. This is my first time on a surgical ward - specialising in cardiac and thoracic issues. I have loved all my placements and have had positive feedback, this one just feels different. I’m feeling out of my depth in terms of knowledge and skills despite researching everything and note taking during/after shift to benefit my learning. Though I can’t help but feel inadequate/under skilled and unhelpful on shift.
Just wondering if anyone else ever felt like this during their time nursing. I'm normally very positive but this is the first time I’ve really doubted my abilities. Any words/advice would be appreciated TIA x 😇

Registered nurse & practice assessor here (on a surgical ward - but vascular, not cardiothoracic).
I promise that noone is going to expect you to know everything. A lot of people have placements that they just don't "get", mine was A&E.

I expect my students to pass their professional values, and to learn something while on placement on my ward. Do I expect them to know about/explain each type of surgery we see in patients post op, know everything about every medication, and fully manage 10 patients? No way. I do expect them to have an idea of some surgeries, know about some meds, and manage 3-4 patients with support by the end of their placement.
I'd highly recommend you speak to your practice assessor/supervisor, the ward managers, the hospital practice education team - literally anyone and everyone attached to the department able to support you - to help figure out what's expected of you and what you need to learn/concentrate on.
Reply 7
Original post by nox0
Thank you so much for your advice, I really appreciate it😄. I’ve been working nights since starting placement so I’ve been finding it challenging to get the same experience you would during day shift. I’m here for 8 weeks total.
My practice assessor only works nights so I’ve had a bit of a panic thinking about getting things signed off but I’m sure I’ll manage somehow. I had a bit of a nightmare asking for experience on day shifts as they were quite adamant I’d have to do shifts alongside my PA even thought students are told to have a combination of all shifts. Most of the staff are nice, others have been less approachable and it’s the first time I’ve felt slightly uncomfortable but I understand that’s part of the process of nursing unfortunately - it’s not all sunshine and roses.
Have to say it’s not the nicest experience I’ve had as a student and can definitely say this area is not for me unfortunately😂. I’m willing to learn and am always grateful for the experience despite the negatives but will be glad to get the work done, the placement finished and put it behind me😅

The NMC actually says you don't have to work with your PA - assessors are there to collate feedback from others you've worked with and periodically observe practice. (I've recently had issues with a student and had to do a lot of looking at what the NMC says on assessing students!)

I don't know what your university says on these things, but the students I get from 2 universities.... they need to pass professional values on every placement and proficiencies only need signing off on one placement of the year. Venepuncture, cannulation and catheterisation are all proficiencies needing signing off in 2nd or 3rd year... but you'll see patients needing all of these on nights on a surgical ward when there's fewer people around who can do these things!

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