January 26, 2010, by Teaching at Nottingham

Goalsetting for learning in stages on placement

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Alison Clark: “It gives the students a clear goal of where they’re supposed to be because they’ll go out and watch a practitioner do the whole package for a patient and they might only be able to contribute part of a package, but they need to see that’s valuable. So if they go out and say, do an assessment on a client with a Nurse, they might add something to the assessment, or take part of the assessment from the Nurse because they feel confident about it and they need to know that’s a good stage to be. They don’t have to be able to do a full assessment on day one, but they can contribute.”

Learning set

Alison: “And so you’re shifting now from the level one certificate level helper, doing what you’re told more or less.”
 Jo-anne Fisher: “Yes.”
Alison: “To now, thinking about your practice, working alongside the practitioner. And perhaps participant level then, is starting to anticipate, and that’s next term and actually say to the practitioner, ‘I think this is what needs to be done.’ Now it may be that you might swing backwards and forwards between that, because some of the things are going to be so obvious you’ll be saying to Annie, ‘Oh, I think this is what it needs.’ And some of the things you’re going to say, ‘I haven’t got a clue with this.'”
Jo: “Right.”
Alison: “So this term is a bit of a fragile one it’s that transition between foundation programme and getting into working in the branch programme. So it is – I think it’s quite a scary semester, because you move – you’re shifting that level.”
Jo: “Yes. Yeah, and it seems quite a huge step as well. From being told what to do to actually thinking for yourself and making decisions and yeah, applying the knowledge really, isn’t it?”
Jo: “Hopefully. in the next few weeks, when I become more confident and look, you know, think about what’s – what they do and how – what they talk about, hopefully, I’ll have the confidence to do it myself to sit with a patient and go through the process with them. Even if it’s just going through what the operation’s like, because that’s quite, you know, it’s easy to learn a formula, isn’t it, about what happens in an operation, what’s going to happen. I’m not sure how I’ll be when I answer questions, but I know that my mentor’s going to be with me at all times to support me and be there to, to answer the questions that I can’t, yeah.”

Learning set

Alison: “So, if we was to say, within five weeks you’d be able to sit and talk it through, “it” being fears, concerns what they’re going to do, what the programme is about, with some support from Annie, yeah?”
Annie Byng: “You know, we’re here now and where would you like to be?”
Jo: “Yes.”
Alison: “Yeah, that would be a goal, wouldn’t it?”
Jo: “Yes, it would, yeah.”
Alison: “Now, is there any evidence you could collect from that that you could put into your portfolio? What kind of evidence would you want that you’ve done it, other than reflective writing?”
Jo: “A witness statement from Annie.”
Alison: “Yeah, witness statement.”
Alison: “So what you’ve got now is an action plan for five weeks with a goal that, by the end of the placement you could sit and talk things through with a client, and participate in some of the activities with a Cardiac Rehab Nurse. Do you think that’s reasonable?”
Jo: “I do, yes. Yeah, I do.”
Alison: “Annie do you?”
Annie: “Yeah, I do, ’cause looking at the cycle of change, once you understand those principles, you can talk about everything here.”

Annie Byng, Alison Clark and Jo-Anne Fisher (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Physiotherapy).

Extracts from meetings between student nurses, their professional mentors and an academic, and interviews with the participants, produced as part of a CEPPL funded project on placement learning.
This article was originally published as part of PESL’s Teaching at Nottingham collection. Produced January 2010.

Posted in Learning outcomesPlacements and work based learning