Your guide to clinical placement

Clinical placement can be an exciting time in your degree – it is a chance to experience a variety of healthcare settings and to practice what you’ve learnt in your studies.

However, it can also be nerve-wracking!

We asked three undergraduate students from Nursing and Midwifery about how they prepare for clinical placements, including their essential items, and how they think placement has helped them grow as individuals.

How do you prepare for clinical placement?

Katherine PKatherine, Bachelor of Nursing

To prepare for clinical placement, I always read over all the notes that I’ve written during my practical labs. It’s the things that you learn in those practical labs that you’re able to do in placement, so most of the time, I just read over all my notes.

I also read up about the ward that I’m going to, so that I have an idea about what patients I’m going to be looking after and what kind of skills I’ll need.

Maddy HMadison, Bachelor of Nursing

Once we’ve been given the email about where we’ll be going, I’ll also look up the ward and see what I’m about to get myself into, so I can prepare by revising. It helps me understand what I should be expecting.

On the day, I’ll arrive to the hospital early enough so that I can get a park and have a coffee. It helps to wake me up and also to calm me down because I know that I’m not late.

Jennifer Goth_ProfileJennifer, Bachelor of Midwifery

The night before, I make sure that I get good sleep, as I tend to wake up quite early during placement. Luckily, I live within walking distance of the hospital and I get to walk through Centennial Park, so I’ll walk 50 minutes in the morning to clear my head, to breathe and to simply be outside before heading indoors for a 12-hour shift.

What is the one thing you must have when you’re on placement?

Katherine PKatherine, Bachelor of Nursing

When I’m on placement, the most important thing is all the paperwork you need to have – your name badge, your papers, all the documents that UTS requires. If you don’t have these things, then you can’t go on placement.

Maddy HMadison, Bachelor of Nursing

Make sure you have a little notebook for your pocket. That way, you can write down anything you don’t understand, so you can look it up later.

Also, make sure to have a bigger notebook in your backpack so that you can write down any information that is really interesting or unique, such as diagnoses, medication or complications. That way, you’re constantly learning from the placement. I have one from all my placements and it’s become like a bible to me – I call it my medication bible. It really does help!

Jennifer Goth_ProfileJennifer, Bachelor of Midwifery

I have a mason jar that I can put anything from hot tea to cold smoothies in! Sometimes, you’re on your feet all day and especially in delivery ward, there’s no time – when the baby’s coming, the baby’s coming!

There’s no time to have a break, so you can put anything from hydrating liquids to filling soups into that special little mason jar.

How do you think going on placement has helped you professionally and personally?

Katherine PKatherine, Bachelor of Nursing

Professionally, going on placement has helped me experience a massive increase in my knowledge base and skills and overall, nursing ability.

I definitely think it’s helped build my confidence and my ability to communicate with people of different ages and that do different jobs. Before I went on placement, I was like ‘How am I going to be able to talk to a doctor?’ but I’m now so much better at being able to talk to everyone and be part of a team.

Maddy HMadison, Bachelor of Nursing

Placements have helped me realise my ambition. I know now that I want to do this – before, I was questioning if I truly wanted to be a nurse. It has also helped me figure out what area of nursing I want to go into, which is very important, because nursing can open up so many doors to different areas. 

They’ve also have helped me be a better communicator, because you have to talk to multiple people from different teams. I’ve also learned how to be more empathetic because you’re looking after people who are so sick, it’s hard to not feel for them when they are so unwell. 

Jennifer Goth_ProfileJennifer, Bachelor of Midwifery

Professionally, I’m a midwife now! I have skills that I didn’t have before starting the degree and it’s incredible.

I’m an empathetic person already, but now, my deep ability to empathise is so great and so vast for everyone in the health profession, not just the women I’m caring for – from the doctors and other midwives to the porters and everyone. I have grown so much as a person, by learning to leave my ego at the door and absorbing everything when I go into the hospital and by always knowing that it’s not personal.

Find out more about studying Nursing or Midwifery at UTS.

Read more: Tips for your first clinical placement

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