5 tips to help you through nursing placement

Written by Tanya Topham, UTS Bachelor of Nursing student.

Throughout my studies as a nursing student at UTS, I have learnt some valuable tips for placement. Here are the top 5 strategies that I found helpful in the field.

1. Make clear notes

Whilst on placement, carrying a pocket-sized notebook has proven to be invaluable. Some useful things to keep track of are your principal activity sets that outline your scope of practice on placement; any nursing/medical abbreviations that you come across (and their definitions!); shift planners and medication formulas. It is important to ask your clinical facilitators on whether you are allowed to carry a pocket-sized notebook, as rules may differ in each facility.

I also recommend using a multi-coloured pen, to easily colour-coordinate informal notes, such as shift planners and questions to ask my facilitator. Writing with a multi-coloured pen on placement made my written work quicker and easier to interpret. However, be wary, as patient records may only allow certain pen colours to be used.

2. Do your research first!

Researching the speciality area of your placement is really important, so you can make the most of your experience. Researching information such as medical/nursing procedures, acronyms, abbreviations and medications utilised in the speciality area of different placements has allowed me to be better prepared for day one on site.

Getting to know UTS ‘MyPlacement’ will prove extremely beneficial as it offers important details about placement, such as locations, shift times and orientation information. A range of faculty documents are available on ‘MyPlacement’, including shift planners and clinical calendars, which have been extremely helpful in preparation and whilst on placement.

Finally, get to know the layout of the facility. Facilities offering clinical placement often have a map of their complex available on their website, and this material is often provided on ‘MyPlacement’. These maps usually identify the locations of wards and entrances which has helped me to become familiar with the layout of the facilities prior to placements.

3. Invest in comfortable shoes

Clinical placement shifts often require long periods of standing and walking. To avoid sore feet, I suggest well-fitted, comfortable shoes that comply with UTS nursing standards.

4. Plan your transport

As trains, roads, and buses can have planned roadwork and trackwork, it’s really important to plan the type of transport you will use to commute to placement well in advance. TripView is a great public transport app that I have used to plan journeys to and from placement.

Some placement facilities may offer free parking, whilst others may not. Parking details are often included on the facilities website, and other nursing students may know if certain roads surrounding your placement facility are vacant for street parking. Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice!

5. Be proactive in your learning

Clinical placement is a great opportunity to ask relevant questions to your allocated registered nurse and facilitator. Though remember to keep within the scope of practice for each placement. Following the principal activity set allocated for each subject for placement is a great way to keep within your scope of practice.

If you are unsure about any procedures, or require further explanation to develop your learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Writing questions and answers relating to clinical skills in your notes is a great way to reflect on your learning after your shift.

Find out more about studying nursing at UTS

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