January 26, 2010, by Teaching at Nottingham

Placements in Nursing: academic, mentor and student expectations

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Alison: “Fifty percent of the nursing courses are practice which requires a range of practical placements to give students lots of different experience and, for each placement, they need a designated mentor who has that professional qualification.”

Annie: “I think doctors are very, I think a lot of their training is very physically orientated, it’s very disease orientated. You know? You will treat this disease with A, B and C, whereas it think nursing training is very much more holistic. Where, yes, you learn about the disease but you also learn about the social, the psychological and all the other aspects that go with it.”

Alison: “You start off with a very rudimentary action plan, very, perhaps global goals for the students, I just want to learn to be a nurse, or I’d like to know what cardiac rehab nurse does or a homeless team does, because they don’t know the specifics. The mentor will fill in the specifics by the end of six or twelve weeks, you will need to see this, you will need to be able to do that, I want to see you, be able to do that, and then, we need to review it because students learn at different paces, different things will affect their experiences, they might or might not get those opportunities , so you have to keep going round the cycle. Re-setting the goals, until you get to the point where, Right, we’ve got to the end and have you, have what you’ve done been enough to get you to the point we expect you to be at this point in the programme and that’s like the sign-off point.”

Review meeting

Jo: “I think what did stand out for me was the fact that patients did go from Angioplasty and then they were, you know, come out of hospital the following day and they were encouraged to like…”

Annie: “…today you was explaining to the patient about getting up and going out for a walk. After a major cardiac event I think people expect to be lying in bed for two or three weeks.”

Jo: “…two or three weeks. Yeah, that’s right. That’s right, and I think I had that impression as well. You know, not having – or not having any experience in Cardiac at all.”

Jo: “So, I’ve been out and done a few insight visits so I went to theatres and saw a bypass and I saw an angiogram and an angioplasty and then I went, spent time with the community heart nurses. So, it was enabled to link everything up in together about what the cardiac service is and how cardiac rehab fits into surgical side of it and then the community part when they’ve come out of hospital.”


Pam: “They have no concept, and that’s one of the nice things about where I work, they have no concept of what we do. Or where we work. They’ve got an idea of a ward, that’s the only idea they’ve got, and that’s their idea of nursing. And that’s the idea of this placement, is to prove to them that there are different ways of nursing, it isn’t just a patient in a bed, with a wound that you’re dressing and, yeah, and most students react to it very, very well.”

Ochala: “I thought a placement was just where you go, practise what you learned in class. Honestly. I thought it was just that. But, now, it goes beyond that. You have to learn some practical skills on your own. It goes beyond what you’re taught in class because most of it is just common sense. You just have to, it has to (…) skills, in the class they give you scenarios, “okay, you find yourself in this situation, what do you do?” But the truth is, if you don’t get confronted with it, you don’t know what you will do. In a class you can just be like, “Oh, I’ll respond this way, I’ll respond this way”, but when you’re stuck in it, you have to think on your feet. And, it just has to be quick. So, I think I’ve learned that. Progressively. Which is good for me.”

Annie Byng, Alison Clark, Jo-anne Fisher, Ochala Ojonugwa & 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.

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