A Day in the Life of a Student Nurse ~ On Placement

I have been seeing this idea (mostly on youtube) and thought it would be really interesting to do it from a student nurse perspective. This is going to be a two part post, as half of my year I spend in placement and half of it I spend in university. So once I am back at university in October I will do the second part then! I'm sure you are all well aware, student nurses work a range of shifts and the placement I am currently on I am on short shifts so this will be written from a early short shift perspective (I may do another version when I am on a long shift, who knows!).

Due to the nature of this post some of the pictures won't be pictures of me actually doing it for patient and hospital confidentiality, they will be pictures of something related to it.

So my day starts off at about 4.30am on an early shift (really early I know!). This allows me to get up and have a proper breakfast and cup of tea before I start to get ready. As I am normally the only person that is up at that time (that includes humans or animals), I tend to take my breakfast and tea up to my room and eat it while either watching something on youtube or netflix.

Once I've eaten breakfast I like to give myself an hour to get fully ready; that includes hair, makeup, brushing my teeth, getting my uniform on, and making sure I have everything I need. 

So my current placement is just under an hour travelling from my house by car, so I tend to leave my house no later than 5.50/6am. I normally take a cup of coffee with me in a travel mug when I am on placement, I had a gorgeous green glittery Starbucks one that has managed to go missing so I'm currently not able to take coffee with me. Usually once I would have parked up I would drink my coffee as I walk to the ward and during handover.

Once I arrive to my ward, we all start getting ready for handover and waiting for the nurse in charge of each team to come in and handover the patients for that day. Depending on the nurse and complexity of the patient, how long handover takes varies. As soon as handover is finished I like to get straight out and say hi to all my patients and get their observations done before the breakfasts come round, mean I know but I prefer to get them out of the way during breakfast as we tend come round with the morning medications and some can only be given if certain observations are in range.

After the observations are done and everyone is ok, I will do the medication rounds with the nurse. During a medication round the nurse will normally let student nurses do the medications with supervision, they also test us on the medications so we are continually learning. After medications and breakfasts it is time to make beds and to assist with any washes or get patients any of the things they may need for personal hygiene.

The ward I am on at the moment specialises in haematology and oncology so there are plenty of IV antibiotics, bloods and chemotherapy. So after the medications are complete I will go with the nurse while they take pre-IV blood samples, it is making me super excited to learn to take blood in university in third year!

We will then work to complete any tasks that may need to be completed for patients; such as scans, blood work, referrals, doctor reviews, etc. About half way through the shift it's time for a lunch break; all nurses, students and healthcare assistants are split into first and second breaks. Which gives me half an hour to eat my food, have a cup of tea and catch up on everything that is happening outside the hospital.

After lunch break which is just before the patient's lunch; it's back to help giving out lunches, then medication rounds and continuing on with the list of jobs we need to do for the patients. Throughout the day we are continually filling out charts of various assortment; such as fluid balance charts, VIP charts, comfort charts, rounding tools. Before we give handover and finish for the day we have nursing notes that need to be completed about the morning shift.

Then it's time for handover to the evening staff (I thought the above picture was hilarious and so true, especially when you have had a really hard shift!), this again can vary depending on information being expressed and the nurse delivering it. Normally the late shift come in about an hour and a half before the morning shift finish, so as a student we often help with the afternoon observations or we will get a chance to have a go handing over.

Come 3pm it's ready for home time, you normally make sure everything is squared away before you leave. Once everything is done your mentor on placement will tell you to finish, then it's the hour long drive home for me! 

Once I've driven home and it's me time, I can relax, do chores, get errands complete, work on my blog, whatever I would like to do.

Danielle Levy

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