Day in the life of a student nurse on placement
Hi, my name is Karolina. I am a second year Adult-Field student nurse at the University of Salford. I am currently on a 7 week clinical placement at Salford Royal Foundation Trust within their B8 Complex Spinal ward. The following will describe the activities I take part in on a daily basis while on the ward, sometimes it can vary depending on the patients we have and if there’s any emergencies occurring, but this should give you a rough idea of what it’s like to be on training!
7:00-7:30 We start the day with a handover, depending on the number of patients and amount of information needed to be passed on, the time can slightly vary. But we roughly try and stick to a half an hour mark for the entire handover process. We first begin with a huddle, all the day staff coming in for their shift will sit in a room and listen to the reading of the handover document, it includes things like staffing levels, code red patients, who is currently nil by mouth for theatre, identifying patients with diabetes, collars and braces, infections, skin concerns etc. As well as any messages from the management to be passed on to all staff. Once this is done, we proceed to take a verbal handover from the night staff, this includes a general description of the patient, their presenting concern, medical history, care needs and anything that has happened throughout the night or awaiting to happen during your shift e.g. a scan appointment, review etc.
7:30-9:00 Breakfast time for our patients! We will slowly start to wake everyone up, get them brews and some breakfast and begin assisting with washes where required. Then proceed to start the morning medications round.
9:00-10:30 Time for general chit chat! Catching up with the patients, saying hello, asking important questions like “How do you feel?” “How did you sleep?” “Have you opened your bowels?” “Have you passed urine?” “Did you eat any breakfast?” “Are you in any pain? / How is your pain?” collating information will help you with your writing and documentation later on, and it also gives you some time to further get to know your patients and practice your communication skills! This is also your time to perform your observations, on B8 we do basic clinical observations within a NEWS score, this includes, temperature, oxygen saturations, respiration rate, blood pressure and pulse as well as, neurological observations which includes the GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale), checking pupil reaction and performing limb assessments. This is also the perfect opportunity to do a skin check. Assessing pressure areas in all patients is key to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and moisture lesions, even if the patient is independently mobile. *The skin check also involves assessing surgical or other existing wounds for example, check the dressing of a surgical wound: Is it intact? Is it clean? Any signs of infection? Or existing erythema: Is it improving/worsening? Has a barrier cream been applied? Lastly, any devices or lines must be checked, things such as cannulas, mid lines, drains, catheters, just make sure they look good, they are doing their job and that any dressings are clean and intact!
10:30-12:00 Time for your writing and documentation! This is your nursing evaluation, something that is done twice daily or “per shift” which means morning and afternoon in layman terms. This is also the time to document any wound care assessments, stool charts, lines and devices assessments and your NEWS observations.
12:00-13:30 Lunchtime medication round! And lunchtime for our patients.
13:30-14:00 Break time!
14:00-15:30 Repeat all your assessments and observations for the afternoon shift.
15:30-17:00 Repeat your writing and documentation for the afternoon shift.
17:00-17:30 Break time!
17:30-19:00 Evening medication round!
19:00-19:30 Handover to night staff and home time!
This is a basic structure of my daily tasks as a student nurse on the ward, however sometimes there’s additional things such as preparing a patient for theatre, taking admissions, discharging patients, patients returning to us from theatre as well as any emergencies that may change the course of our usual practice.
"Every placement is different, every ward may have a slightly varied schedule and different departments will have varied tasks depending on field and speciality. Take every opportunity and make the most of your time in practice, it is our chance to develop our knowledge, skills and ourselves in general. Work hard but have fun and enjoy the experience, it is the most rewarding to be able to look after your own patients and I promise your confidence will grow day by day. Good luck and hope to see you in your uniforms soon!"