A typical week on placement as a child nursing student

From treating different patients with varying illnesses to learning how to use specialised equipment, your time on placement as a student nurse is invaluable. Khadija Khatun is a third year Children’s Nursing student who has experienced a number of placements since starting at The University of Manchester in 2016. Currently undertaking a summer placement, Khadija gives us an insight below into her most recent week on an intensive care unit…

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Being a student nurse can be difficult – trying to juggle placement with university work and then your own personal life is a lot to take on. However, it has to be said that third year has been slightly easier than my second year – the longer you’re on the course the more accustomed to the demands you get. My summer placement this year has been spent between an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a High-Dependency Unit (HDU), and let me just say, it’s called intense for a reason! I absolutely loved this placement, but it was both mentally and physically draining like nothing I had experienced before at university. Here, I am going to give you a quick run-through of my most recent week on placement…

Monday: I was on a night shift on HDU and had my own patient whilst my mentor had another. The little baby girl in my care had an external ventricular drain (EVD) placed to help with the pressure built up in her brain. The good thing about having a patient who requires hourly observations is that I’ve always got something to do to keep myself busy. This particular night was during Ramadan (Muslims Holy month of fasting) which meant that I had to take my break at a particular time to break my fast. Apart from the lack of sleep, fasting whilst on placement wasn’t really that difficult, it made the time fly by, and before I knew it, it was time to eat. Once having broken my fast, the rest of the night went by peacefully, with me documenting my observations and patient writing. I realised that I had booked myself for a student study day on the A-E assessment for the following day and really started to regret my decision since it meant I would have to travel back into placement on my day off!

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Tuesday: I decided to do the right thing by attending the study day, especially since I was the one who booked on to it. The session was based on the A-E assessment which I had already learnt at uni, however, apart from this current placement I hadn’t really used the tool actively. I was really glad that I went to the session because my confidence in using the tool increased.  The session went over what each letter stood for:

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation
  • Disability
  • Exposure
  • Fluids

And what to look, listen and feel for when assessing each area. Mannequins were also used to help the group work through scenarios where we had to use the A-E assessment.

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Wednesday: I was back in placement on a long day. Today the day was spent working with my mentor on ICU. The patient suffered from Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML) which is a rare form of blood cancer. This was the first time I had heard of the condition, so the first chance I got, I had a Google to find out more about it. Today was also the first time that I suctioned down an endotracheal tube (ETT). I was nervous and quite scared but still asked my mentor if I could do this, as I realised that I have to push myself and my own learning. I had watched this being done a couple of times, so knew the technique and, I also had my mentor who talked me through it. The rest of the day was busy with medications, observations and keeping the family updated on the care.

Thursday: I had the day off today which was nice since I had been busy the past couple of days. I enjoyed the day lazy-ing about at home, reading a book and just doing nothing. I was not back in placement until the following Monday so I was going to well and truly enjoy my days off.


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