Connect with us

Education

How to Survive Your Management Placement

Published

on

How to Survive Your Management Placement

You're training and your career rest upon one final placement, it is the most important of them all, you must demonstrate to your 'Sign-off Mentor' that you are ready to qualify.

This post contains the advice I wish someone had told me prior to my management placement. While I encourage you to read the whole article, I'll put the important bits in BOLD. 

The first thing you need to understand is that being a sign-off mentor is a big responsibility and as a Student Nurse you can't just assume you will pass simply because you have made it through 3 years of training, a lot of people do and will carry on failing at the last hurdle. The next few months of your life will be a test, of sorts, the Registered Nurse you are assigned to will be looking at you, in great detail, to make sure you're ready for life of a Nurse.

Advertisement

Now, every mentor is different, this isn't going to be a guaranteed guide to passing your management placement, I am simply drawing from my own experiences as a sign-off mentor and the criteria I like my students to fulfill. 

First and foremost do a little research, take control of your education, you aren't going to be spoon fed anymore - after all you won't be as a Nurse. You need to have an idea about the speciality you have been assigned to before you arrive. For example, If your going to a respiratory ward make sure you know the basics about the conditions they treat (asthma, COPD, CF etc) and the difference between type 1 and type 2 respiratory failure. I can firmly recommend the Nursing Survival Guides by Ann Richards to assist you in this, they are fantastic! Small and pocketable you can take them to placements easily.

If you have been given an induction booklet, read it carefully.

Make sure you're on-time, flexible and organised. This is something I can't stress enough, in a few months when you're a Registered Nurse you will need to be on time otherwise who will look after your patients? Demonstrate you can do this and your mentor is likely to be understanding when you need to swap a shift or have study time. We also understand you need a social life but don't try to take us for idiots, be honest - we respect that.

The Universities change the paperwork mentors need to complete on a near daily basis make sure you know what needs signing and when.

Next you MUST have the right attitude when you're at work, we understand that being a Student Nurse is hard, we've all been there, but you've got to demonstrate how much it means to you to have the title 'Registered Nurse'.

We will want you to have good medications knowledge - in a few months you'll be doing a drugs round by yourself. Make sure you have a good foundation and basic knowledge of; pain relief, antihypertensives, antiarrhythmics, diuretics, antibiotics and drugs that are specific to the area you'll be working in. Invest in the 'Drugs in use' Survival Guide and carry it with you on medication rounds, if you don't know a drug look it up quickly.

You will need to know your limitations and development needs. Know when to stop and ask for help, don't just put on a front - ask questions! 

Don't overstep the mark, admit that sometimes it's best for you to take a step back and let the people with experience take over, speaking to irate families and dealing with delicate situations is something that comes with experience.

Make sure you take every learning opportunity during your placement, in a few months when you're in numbers you won't have the time to have an insight visit with a specialist nurse - do it while you still can.

Try and integrate into the team and demonstrate you are a team player, this will have a big effect on how you're perceived on the ward and ultimately your reference. More than anything don't be 'too posh to wash' - it will be something you'll miss once you qualify.

Learn how to talk to patients, after all they are human beings too and need reassurance and comfort. I thoroughly enjoy having students who have great communication skills, as this is something that's very hard to teach and therefore learn.

You need to respect the nursing assistants, sometimes they feel overstepped by over-zealous student nurses. If you respect them, they will respect and help you when you need it the most, remember effective delegation is an outcome!

Make sure you're able to manage your time and a patient load, start off small 1 or 2 patients who you know everything about and increase this number as you go through your placement. Take a look at our Shift Planner for help planning your day and care.

These things combined will contribute to you having a smooth and effective management placement although all being said and done, it all falls down to if you can demonstrate to your mentor that you are safe and fit to practice.

Do you have any advice you could share with your fellow student nurses? Post it in the comments section! 

DISCUSS THIS ARTICLE
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Education

NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Student nurses will start to train against the new standards from January 2019.

Last week the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched 'ambitious' new standards of proficiency that set out the skills and knowledge the next generation of nurses need.

Alongside the new proficiencies, the NMC has introduced a more modern and innovative approach to the way universities and their practise partners train nurses and midwives - the NMC claim these changes will allow greater independence of assessment, and greater innovation by placement providers.

Advertisement

The NMC has also removed its standards for medicines management and instead encourages employers to instigate rigorous medicines management procedures.

Unlimited simulation.

Finally, part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities - despite concerns this could reduce the total amount of time student nurses could spend on placements.

The new standards represent two years’ work and have been developed alongside nurses - as well as students, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Our new standards represent a huge leap forward. They raise the bar for the next generation of nurses and not only match the demands of the role but the ambition of the profession. This is vital as in the coming years many thousands of new professionals will join our register, delivering care to millions of people.

“We’ve also overhauled the way universities train nurses and midwives. They’ll be given more flexibility to harness new ways of working and embrace technology so they can equip the nurses and midwives of tomorrow with the skills they need to deliver world class care for years to come.”

Continue Reading

Education

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

Published on

by Matt Bodell.
Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Some staff feel that sixty seconds can be better spent.

It is well documented that the respiratory rate is the least accurately recorded vital sign but yet it can be the most important.

Reseach suggests that many students and registered nurses believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds.

Advertisement

The research, completed by Flenady et al, suggests that this debate isn't rooted in laziness but instead staff believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate.

Do I really need to count for a whole minute?

Yes! It is vitally important you count a patients respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds rather than counting for a shorter period and multiplying, or worse, estimating.

Respiration has differing patterns and without observing these for a whole sixty seconds you are unlikely to obtain an accurate measurement.

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

The critically unwell patient also sometimes tend to have apneic episodes and counting for a short period may not reveal these until a patient is in full respiratory arrest.

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

Finally, documenting an inaccurate respiratory rate could, potentially, have legal implications.

How should I count a respiratory rate?

You should count each full cycle of inspiration and expiration for a full sixty seconds.

Anecdotally, it is better to count a patients respiratory rate when a patient when they are not aware you are doing so - this ensures a patient is less conscious about their breathing and thus their respiratory rate is more natural.

Why is respiratory rate important?

Haemostasis and the bodies compensatory mechanisms mean that a change in respiratory rate could be one of the first indicators of deterioration in physiological condition.

Changes to a patients respiratory rate can indicate a number of things such as hypoxia, neurological or metabolic changes.

Picking up on these changes early should lead to earlier medical intervention and therefore better patient outcomes.

Continue Reading

Education

Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

Published on

by James M.
Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

Nursing students will learn how they can work with MPs to promote the nursing profession in a new training session organised by the RCN.

Members of the RCN’s student committee and student information officers - the RCN’s representatives in universities - will learn their way around the UK parliament and the government from the UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service.

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

Advertisement

The RCN’s public affairs team will talk through the college’s approach to engaging with parliamentarians, especially the crucial role members can play. The team will explain different tactics and approaches students can take as well as what they can ask MPs to do to show their support for nursing staff in their constituencies.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “To work effectively, any union must be able to engage MPs and ministers.

“We know our members make the most powerful advocates for the profession. When frontline nursing staff sit in front of parliamentarians, you can see they listen.

“It’s through the hard work of members that vital issues such as safe staffing, harassment and health policy reach the top of the agenda.

“When nursing faces challenges on every front, the RCN wants to make sure our advocates are fully-equipped.”

Charlotte Hall, chair of the students’ committee, said: “Student nurses represent the future of the profession. Learning to engage with MPs is vital if we are to effectively shape that future and ensure the best possible care for patients.

“With these skills, committee members and student reps will be able to help other nurses make their voices heard on behalf of the profession and patients.”

Continue Reading