I recently finished my second nursing placement last month (May 2021). I was assigned to a Mental Health Ward.
I was a wee tad nervous when I first found out where I was assigned to because as you may know Mental Health is not the fields of expertise I hope to register in and I of course had never experienced a mental health ward before. However after some in depth reading and talking to friends and family prior to starting I was very quickly feeling ready to take on the challenge that lied ahead! I researched various mental health conditions, symptoms and medications prior to attending my placement so I had a baseline understanding of the environment and people I would be working in/with.
I was delighted to share this experience with one of my class mates and another 1st year CYP student who I hadn’t met before. We were given a warm welcome on our first day. All the staff were so kind, approachable and on the ball. As soon as we had finished the nurses handover we were given alarms to attach to our uniforms in the event that we needed assistance or support with an emergency or difficult situation and given an induction around the ward. We were given activity books filled with questions and tasks to complete over the 4 week placement. I was really chuffed with this (I like things like that to keep me busy and focussed). This booklet was especially useful during my nightshift as it was really quiet.
So yeah! I had my first nightshift on this placement too. I was really nervous about this as I didn’t know what to expect or how I would take to it. I had those typical pre nightshift worries about what to eat and when, and the fear of not being able to sleep. As everyone who’s done a nightshift will know it is the getting into it that is the most challenging. It went better that I thought it would though- I had a “sort of” nap the afternoon of my first nightshift, kept my meals the same (I had breakfast type meals), (food choices are different for everyone but I wanted to keep my routine the same as much as I could). I bought a sandwich some fruit and a good old mars bar to keep my energy up!
Typical tasks in my placement
*Med round ( helping to call everyone for their medications at the med room)
*Chatted and played board games with those being cared for on the ward
*Helped with meals
*Read notes and ask questions to the nurses on duty
Here are just a few skills I achieved during my placement
*Learnt key terminology in Mental Health setting (which I will be aware of for the rest of my nursing career now)
*Gained an understanding of mental health conditions and symptoms associated.
*Gained a small percentage of knowledge in relation to the Mental Health Regulations Act.
*Learnt about some medications to treat mental health conditions
Continued to develop my communication with those being cared for on the ward and the MDT!
I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed my placement experience and was glad to have been given the opportunity. Of course the purpose of this new course is to enable students to experience nursing across the lifespan. It is inevitable that within our nursing careers we will all work with someone living with a mental health related condition whether that be those we care for or a family member/carer. I definitely developed a thick skin during this placement, and as each placements is going on I am finding resilience and new learning in each. Mental Health is such an important part of maintaining good health as your mental health can of course impact aspects of your physical health so it is important to look after your mental wellbeing just as much as your physical wellbeing!
A huge thanks to my Mentor and Supervisor and all the staff on the ward for making my second placement experience an enjoyable and memorable one!
Heres to PLE 3! (I am going on an adventure for this one… you will have to wait and see where!) 😉
Thats all for now folks!