One of the best ways to gain valuable skills for becoming a qualified nurse comes from placements, which is why they are heavily built into the nursing courses here at Manchester. Read about what first-year BNurs Children’s Nursing student, Wise, learnt on her community placement below.
To become a qualified nurse in the UK there is a requirement to complete 2,300 hours in clinical placement in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). These hours can be completed whilst on the hospital wards or in the community. As a student nurse at Manchester you will spend half of your time split between placement and theory .
For my first placement I was assigned to the school nursing team in Tameside. School nursing is classed as a community placement, so my hours were Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. I personally prefer community hours as it meant I always had my weekends free.
The school nursing team consist of five staff, a healthcare assistant, health mentor and two qualified specialist community public health nurses (this may differ from team to team). During your placement you are assigned a practise assessor and a practise supervisor. These are qualified nurses who you will shadow and work with whilst on placement.
I got really lucky as my practise assessor was a band 7 qualified nurse, and she had been a nurse for over 20 years! This was great for me as she was very knowledgeable and allowed me to pick her brains whenever I wanted.
The first two weeks of my placement I shadowed my supervisor/assessor, attending school visits, one-to-one sessions with students and safeguarding meetings (a high percentage of school nursing is safeguarding!). From observing and listening I learnt so much, no week was ever the same.
Some days I would observe the health mentor as she visited the local high schools, where the sessions mainly focused on health promotion and management. Other days I would be with one of the specialist community public health nurses going into primary schools and high schools for immunisations, health referrals, training days and one-to-one sessions with students. By week three I had gained the confidence to contribute to sessions with the students and during training days I assisted the nurses.
The last two weeks flew by! I had finally found my feet and my confidence had increased a lot! I still had days where imposter syndrome would creep up on me but I was always reminded that I wasn’t alone, and to be quite honest not much was expected of me, I was a first year on my first placement, just observing was enough!
Throughout the duration of your placement your academic advisor will keep in contact with you checking to see how you are and making sure you are doing okay. As much as placement is a time to learn and work it should also be enjoyable and not too stressful, as at the end of the day you are still a student.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the school nursing team, seeing how important their role is in the community and how much they do for schools was really amazing, so much so that it has inspired me to go into school nursing when I graduate. This is what is great about doing a nursing placement in Manchester, there is such a wide variety of placement options, so you are bound to find the area you love the most.
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