Doctor's Stethoscope

September 17, 2021, by stykjsk

Hospital Placement: The Ultimate Run Down

By Katy Skillen, third-year MNutr Master of Nutrition and Dietetic Student

I have just completed my first month of placement in an NHS hospital. If you study a healthcare degree, like medicine or nursing, you will likely have some placement within the NHS. This is an exciting and enlightening experience, and you gain so much knowledge in such a short period. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned…

Be flexible

The NHS is a hectic workplace, and honestly, things rarely go as planned! Therefore, remember to be flexible and adaptable to different situations. I’ve had to stay a bit later than planned some days, and I haven’t always been able to observe or take part in what I was timetabled to do. Be willing to change your day last minute and help out when needed.

Ask questions

This may seem obvious, but you are doing a placement to learn! Yes, NHS staff are very busy, but the educational experience is still super important for you. Use initiative; if it doesn’t seem an appropriate time to ask questions, make a note of things and find a suitable time later to ask. Even if you think it is a silly question, it’s better to ask than pretend you know and then get stuck later on.

Don’t put pressure on yourself

Most students, like myself, will have a certain number of learning objectives and tasks or tools to complete by the end of their placement. While it is important to keep on top of these, don’t stress about them. You won’t get everything done in the first few weeks, and you may feel like you are behind. But trust me, the University knows what you need to get done, and will have allocated you the right amount of time of placement to do this. So please don’t be working late into the evening- sleep is important!

Confidence is key

It can be daunting the first time a healthcare professional asks you to lead a consultation, or do a procedure. But please be confident in your abilities! Remember your supervisors will have led hundreds of students through placement before, so they know where you’re at and will not ask you to do something if they don’t believe that you can do it! Trust in all the knowledge and skills you have gained over the course and go for it! You’ll feel so proud when you’ve done it!

Fitness first!

Honestly, I did not anticipate having to stand on my feet so long every day! Working in a hospital setting is a physically exhausting job. You spend a lot of time walking around the wards and up and downstairs. This is really tiring, especially if you are shadowing other staff, and are just standing for long periods. My tips to help with this? Keep hydrated and eat a good breakfast before work, have comfy footwear, and don’t be afraid to ask to sit down for a while if you need it. Oh – and lots of coffee!

This Placement has been such a learning curve and I feel very lucky to have gained such an interesting insight into how the NHS works. Every day is so different and working in such a valued and important industry, especially in these current times, has been such a privilege. Honestly, I’m loving every minute of it.

If you are looking for a thorough insight in a career area, a specific company or industry, a year-long placement could be ideal for you. You can book a careers appointment with one of our advisers to discuss your placement options.

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