January 26, 2010, by Teaching at Nottingham

Modelling professional practice for students on a work placement

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Learning set meeting

Alison: “So your portfolio, in some ways, will be very different, Jenny, to Jo’s, because you’ve had a much more observation and insight experience, lots of visits, learning to appreciate what factors affect the patient with neurological problems in the community, and that’s what I would expect to see in your portfolio, how you can show it, what have you learned about the social psychological and physical needs of clients, what Veronica’s role is.”
Veronica: “What I tend to do is give my patients the options. I don’t say Right, we’re going to refer you to the physio, the OT. We tend to say well, we think this is, might be useful for you, and this might be useful and therefore, it might be a good idea to refer you. Do you agree with it? What do you think? And sometimes, they will turn round and say, No, I don’t feel I need it at this time.”
Alison: “But that’s you leading making it, and that’s you observing it.”
Jenny: “Mmm.”
Alison: “So, did you see how Veronica managed that, Jenny, is it something you can visualise in terms of, did you learn from it, firstly?”
Jenny: “Well, yeah, because obviously you couldn’t do anything about it, we had to go and, he had to make an appointment to see her (…) didn’t you, before you could make a decision on what to do about medication. (…)…”
Veronica: “We made the appointment there and then.”
Jenny: “and gave it to her, so.”
Veronica: “And to see her at home, I mean, that’s the advantage we’ve got, we can pop out to see them at home.”


Alison: “I think they can often think it looks different because I was going to say they’re taught by rote, but they’re taught procedurally, ‘This is a good way of doing something.’ Obviously you can’t show them tens of ways of doing things that experienced Nurses have learnt to develop, and the key is the students understand the principles so they can see the principle within what the nurses are doing, but it’s unpicking that for them. I think often it’s quite difficult to see.”

Ochala: “I’ll come in and I’ll be like, okay, this is what I’ve been told about care delivery, and this is just my second year and this is what I think it means. And she, I mean, she’s my mentor, she’s been doing it longer, she’ll be like, Don’t you think this is what is meant? I mean, she’s been doing it longer and she might be right but I strongly feel about, if I strongly feel No, it’s not, then, we have to talk about it.”

Review meeting

Pam: “What about that, are we…”
Ochala: “Yeah. Client interests, yeah.”
Pam: “…we’re all doing that…”
Ochala: “Yeah.”
Pam: “…so you’re happy with that half, that we, that we are practising that and you are as well.”
Ochala: “Yeah.”
Pam: “That’s the only bit that you’re…”
Ochala: “Concerned about.”
Pam: “…a little bit concerned about, okay. So, if you, it might be watching different people going and assess the patients and just see how it’s done. I mean, you might be comparing people, you might compare me, one of the nurses in there and perhaps one of the medics, so that would be three different disciplines. Although, I know I’m a nurse but I’m a, I’m the discharge team so it’s slightly different, our assessments are slightly different so, just see. We might all be doing exactly the same. But I know there are differences. But it will be interesting to see if you see them.”


Pam: It’s trying to make sure that they understand what they’re seeing, what they’re doing, and sometimes if there are things that they haven’t done or haven’t understood, you can actually find out by the answers that they’ve given so that you know that that’s a point, right, well, we need to address this or we need to go back over this or, or, that’s it, really, it’s just trying to make sure that they understand what they’ve seen and what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

Alison Clark, Veronica Hunting-Young, Ochala Ojonugwa, Jenny Walters & Pam Winn (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 EmployabilityPlacements and work based learningThe role of the teacher