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Calling all Nurses / Student Nurse!!!

(35 Posts)
OneWayStreetToNoWhere Thu 20-Feb-14 12:51:30

I am a student nurse (2nd year) and I am on a year out, due back in May. I took a year out from my course as I had a really bad placement (bullying etc) and I couldn't cope with it, was crying in the bathroom several times a day during my shift. The uni got involved but weren't much help. Anyway been on a year out since sept and now due to go back and finish off this placement (but in a different area) in may. My problem is that whenever I think about going back I get anxious, sweaty palms etc. I have been to a counsellor (for months) to try and get over this to go back, in total I have 29 weeks of placement left to complete before I qualify, thats roughly 1073 hours...(thats how much i am dreading this). Its so hard between essays and academic stuff as well as learning practical skills and trying to fit into another ward and team and feeling like the outsider as well as working long shifts with little contact with family or friends during the day so feel even more isolated and cut off. I have asked my uni if i could do 9-5 5 days a week instead of 3 12 hour shifts but understandably they refused. I have no idea how I am meant to get through the remainder of my course. I also do supply work in the hosp as a HCA and feel the same anxiety whenever I am due for a shift as its always a different ward/don't know anyone etc. Any advice/help? Pleasse! I'm only 20, came straight out of school into this so terrified if i pack my course in, i wont be able to get another job with a different degree.

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Thu 20-Feb-14 13:38:10


Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:34

I feel your pain. I had an awful placement when I was a student that resulted in me being signed off for 6 weeks. I had already done 4 weeks out of the 6 week placement but by that stage I was being physically sick before going in and phoned my course director in tears. My GP signed me of with flu (ironically contracted swine flu 3 days later and ended up needing 12 weeks off...) and the Uni gave me the choice of finishing the last 2 weeks in the same placement or redoing the full placement in another location.

I chose to redo the whole placement because I knew that no matter how hard I tried in those last 2 weeks, my previous placement wouldn't give me a good appraisal. It meant that I finished 6 weeks after everybody else (killed myself trying to catch up on lost hours but eternally grateful that I was sick during our Christmas break and was fit enough to go to classes, just not fit enough to be near patients) but I loved my new placement! I had a very supportive mentor and a tutor that I could talk to (Didn't know the tutor for my previous placement because she never came out to see me and was spectatcularly unhelpful when I approached her when I started having difficulties). I was very nervous on my 1st day but my mentor put me at ease and I ended up with a really good appraisal (although there is no way on earth I will ever do Health Visiting/Public Health Nursing!).

Talk to your mentor/tutor and explain that you are nervous so that they are aware of the issue. You will manage, just keep on counting down thise hours! Good luck smile

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Thu 20-Feb-14 15:02:48

Thats good you managed to get through it, mines is an elderly placement (last place was a care home :s )

FabULouse Fri 21-Feb-14 05:08:42

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Loftyjen Fri 21-Feb-14 06:11:39

Uni are likely to be reluctant about you doing 9-5 as you'd then be out of kilter with the ward routine/your mentors work programmes.

Maybe you should discuss with them a phased return where you do a wk or so of half shifts (mixing first half/second half of shifts) before going back to full shifts - as this follows a typical working pattern it might be more acceptable.

Would make an appt with your personal tutor to discuss it with them.

poopooheadwillyfatface Fri 21-Feb-14 06:17:48

I would suggest talking to student support services at the uni. IME student nurses don't tend to access the student resources so much as we don't feel like 'normal' students.
bank shifts- pp is right you can choose only wards you like- I definitely didgrin
find a mentor. a good nurse who will be someone to lean on.

bad placements are hard. my first was dreadful and all the others were much nicer in comparison.

shifts wise, it's not realistic to try to work 9-5 really. It might be possible for a short while if you had a fit note but anxiety that prevents you from working shifts isn't very compatible with nursing. Shifts are vital for the handover and ward rounds/drug rounds really.

be your own mentor too, and your own advocate. its a brilliant job. loads of crappy elements some days but still a brilliant job.
feel free to pm me smile

Babyroobs Fri 21-Feb-14 13:59:07

I feel for you. I trained 28 years ago and still have severe anxiety over some dreadful placements and bulying staff. It can really knock your confidence and self esteem.

Mignonette Fri 21-Feb-14 14:10:24

You have to finish your course within a five year time frame to comply with NMC regulations so taking more time is very risky. If you suddenly got sick in year 3 and needed time off you're running close to running out of time so try to find a way of getting back on track. There is no way around these regulations.

First of all try to stop thinking in terms of the whole course. Refocus on the here and now. All student nurses have these moments- they course even has a name for the end of 2nd yr start of 3rd year wobble called 'The Practice Theory Gap'. You are not alone and most STN's feel alone and strange when they start a placement. It is normal.

I do sympathise and also suggest you find a sympathetic person in the placement who you can confide in. Sometimes what you need to do is plunge back in with some reinforcement from kinder colleagues.

Also have you contacted your union? They can help you and there are also anti workplace bullying charities that have help lines.

Finally - do you actually enjoy nursing? I'm not hearing that.

Good luck.

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Sat 22-Feb-14 16:48:18

I have had CBT but still feel wobbly about going back. I do enjoy it when I have a good placement...I can't see myself working in a ward if I manage to qualify much rather be in community, most of the time though I don't really enjoy it (if it's in a ward) but think that it's just something I need to do /get through to get my degree and hopefully end in a job in the community or do a post grad.

Floralnomad Sat 22-Feb-14 16:54:20

TBH at your age I'd cut my losses and find a different career that I wanted to do as it doesn't sound like you are really enjoying nursing or if I'm honest that you are suited to it . No job should be making you feel ill and if it does then you are in the wrong job so if you are in a position to do something else with your life go and do it .

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Sun 23-Feb-14 12:50:57

I don't want to just give up though, that would mean that awful placement was for nothing.

Elllimam Sun 23-Feb-14 13:00:39

I don't think you should give up. I had a god awful placement as a student (in a nursing home) and have now been working for 10 years quite happily. The great thing about nursing is the variety of careers you can have once you qualify. I agree speak to your mentor once you start and explain you have had a bad experience. Is it a ward you are going into? Xx

Floralnomad Sun 23-Feb-14 13:45:01

I'm not saying give up on the basis of one placement its all the other stuff you said about worrying about bank shifts , shift work , mixing with people you don't know , all these things are part and parcel of being a nurse .

Elllimam Sun 23-Feb-14 16:30:57

Not necessarily though, loads of nurses work outside hospitals, my mum has been qualified for years and only ever worked in the community 9-5. There are clinics, DN's, research posts all sorts of variety available. I think if you get a bad knock it can put you off for a while but it is still a good profession to have.

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Sun 23-Feb-14 18:36:46

I think its a ward, either that or another nursing home. My 15 week one next summer is in medical and then I have an 8 week one where I get to choose so will be picking community. It's just a bit nerve wracking not knowing what your going into with a new placement, same with bank shifts.

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Sun 23-Feb-14 18:56:34

It will be worth the slog, honest! There are aspects of the training that I didn't enjoy and would never consider as a career path i.e Gynae (seen too much of the ward as a patient grin), Paeds, Midwifery, Health Visiting, Public Health etc.

My interest has always been A&E, Cardiac, Surgical, Rehab then Medical, in that order. Funnily enough those were the only placements that I actually enjoyed and looked forward to going into work. The irony is that I now work in Pharmaceutical sales as a translator and I hated pharmacology gringrin There are times when I miss the wards but I wouldn't have my current job if I hadn't completed my training.

You can do it!

Mignonette Sun 23-Feb-14 19:04:01

I hated my general placements- general adult nursing is so not my thing. I endured a medical ward for 4 weeks and coped by escaping to the EAU which was marginally more tolerable. To be honest when the RGNs realised I was MH branch they lost interest and gave me all the challenging patients to look after.

I disliked the shifts I did on Labour,Delivery and Post Natal too (I wanted to gain insight into MH and childbirth but quickly learned that MWs tend to know very little all about it sad) and fishing about inside some poor woman was my idea of a hell job.

The RGNs tended to detest the acute MH placements although two defected to MH branch after theirs.

I spent a week shadowing the MH pharmacist and learned a ton about the effects of all medications but specifically MH ones. This is my big recommendation to you- so many nurses know very little about the actions of drugs and by rectifying this you will pass on empowering knowledge to your clients/patients.

What you think you'll like is so often poles apart from what you end up liking!

Mignonette Sun 23-Feb-14 19:06:53

I also recommend doing some time with charities/support groups that work with a patient group that interests you. Gaining insight into the patient experience (and hearing hard truths about how nurses can treat some of them) is a good lesson and helps you empathise.

I spent time with MIND and the Zito Trust.

Floralnomad Sun 23-Feb-14 19:07:13

I'm in no way saying you have to enjoy everywhere that you work , there were places in my training that I loathed ,but not enough to take a year off and have therapy .

OneWayStreetToNoWhere Sun 23-Feb-14 19:38:31

Thanks, its nice to know that there are others who have had bad experiences but have managed to get through it and qualify. It feels so long away (if i survive and manage to graduate) but it felt like that when I was taking driving lessons too and now I have my own car, guess its about persevering!

Tiredemma Sun 23-Feb-14 19:41:35

My absolute worst placement was 6 weeks in a Private Nursery because there wasnt enough paediatric placements for the whole cohort. It was the worst 6 weeks of my life.

Reading your OP- are you 100% sure you want to be a nurse? Its going to be a long gruelling career choice for you if you already dread the thought of going into work.

Mignonette Sun 23-Feb-14 19:45:02

God TiredEmma

What a waste of 6 weeks bearing in mind what you were training to be.

I cannot imagine what my local MH trust can possibly offer MH students bearing in mind it is in a state of collapse!

Tiredemma Sun 23-Feb-14 19:49:04

I know!!

It was bad enough being ignored by the RGN's on my General (surgical ward) placement- The Nursery staff couldnt work out what to do with me.!

I do worry about the future of our services- I really fear we are being left out to dry- resources and funding cut. Its a disaster waiting to happen.

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