January 26, 2010, by Teaching at Nottingham

Verifying a student’s learning as part of staged progression on placement

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Pam: “I think people have a possible idealistic view of what nursing is really about and then the placement actually teaches them what it really is about. And I think without a placement of any kind, without any practical experience, I don’t think as a qualified Nurse, you would be able to function or would have – would actually know what your job’s going to be.”

Ochala: “They are getting you involved in everything they do on the ward. In the A&E Department they’re not treating you as a student, they are treating you as an equal so you can learn. And if you’ve got issues you can always discuss it, if you’ve got concerns about patient, it’s easier to come and talk about it. And they are not looking at you like, okay, or because you’re a student, your idea is not valued.”

Pam: “Initially, I do all the talking and all the assessing and then hopefully, as the student progresses through the placement, the roles are turned round. And at the end of the placement, although I’m outside, they don’t actually know I’m outside and they’re actually doing it on their own, and I’m just listening, and that’s my aim at the end of the placement, so that they’ve started not knowing even how to talk to somebody, but at the end they’re able to do some kind of initial assessment on a patient anyway.”

Review meeting

Pam: “So. Have you done any health promotion? At all?”

Ochala: “Health promotion. Healthy eating. Yeah. That was, the day I did this. ”

Pam: Yeah?

Ochala: “It was a patient, she was malnourished came in and, she was eighty two, and I say, she wasn’t eating because there was nobody to make the food for her in her home. And we asked her (…) you know, because I did the assessments, (…) okay, what do you eat, and she was telling me all, drink just a cup of tea. You don’t get Meals on Wheels or anything? She said No, so now I rang Maria, I was like, Okay. They should maybe look into it because she’s eighty two and she can’t go out for more shopping. She can’t do anything so. So she said she would get the Red Cross in to assess her and help her with shopping and if possible she could get Meals on Wheels sometimes.”

Pam: “Right. So you sought the specialist advice? ”

Ochala: “Yeah. ”

Pam: “Yeah. Because you asked Maria first. ”

Ochala: “Yeah. ”

Pam: “Did you support and educate? ”

Ochala: “The patient? ”

Pam: “Mm. ”

Ochala: “I just told her the importance of eating, and eating, not just eating, not eating chips. But eating healthily.”

Pam: “So do you think you’ve done that then?”

Ochala: “Yeah.”

Pam: “Created and utilised opportunities. Yeah. I think you have as well.”


Alison: “As each student progresses through the programme, what we’ve tried to do is give them a pattern or a staged introduction to be coming competent carers. And all professions use different frameworks. At the moment, we’re using novice to practitioner one, and we might say, well, when you’re in your first semester, you’re a helper, work alongside, do what you can but you get insight, lots of observation. And you will only do what you feel safe to do under direct supervision of a staff nurse, and then the next semester, well, perhaps now you’re a little bit more confident, well, we’ll let you do a little more.

“Then the next stage would be, well, what would you suggest that the patient needs? I’d start expecting the students to start to bring up their own ideas about how they would plan the care and then slowly the supervision is more and more gradually withdrawn until the staff nurse can almost say, Okay, I’m here if you need me, you practise, I’ll watch.”

Authors: Alison Clark, 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.

Posted in FeedbackPlacements and work based learning