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Advice for a student nurse.

(25 Posts)
falcon Fri 11-Jul-08 12:51:20

I'm starting a nursing course in August with the intention of becoming either a Learning Disability nurse or a children's nurse and would appreciate hearing about positive and negative experiences that the members of this board have encountered with the medical profession.

I'd love to hear how I, as a future nurse and while on placement can accomodate your child and their special needs, how I can help to make the stay easier for you both, be as helpful as possible and respect and take into account things like sensory issues.

Yummymum1 Fri 11-Jul-08 13:06:07

How thoughtful of you!

Cant actually be of any help as fortunately we have not had any hosp stays but im sure loads of others have .

MannyMoeAndJack Fri 11-Jul-08 13:30:07

We have a community nurse who works in the Children's LD Team. I have found her to be very pro-active, knowledgable and friendly. She has to put up with a lot of moaning from me about my ds but she seems to bear it well!!!! She is thus, a good listener who has realised that a parent's opinions and experiences are important. She has given me some good advice in the past, made herself available within reasonable limits and supported me through tough times.

Too many professionals dismiss parents and their views too readily so the fact the you're asking parents for input at this early stage of your career, is a really positive step! Good luck

misscutandstick Fri 11-Jul-08 16:06:45

im impressed already!

just turning up would be one step further than our nurse manages Half hearted promises that never materialise is a problem, DS1 started thinking it was his fault

You sound lovely, intelligent and enthusiastic... i can see you will be much sought after!

2shoes Fri 11-Jul-08 16:53:36

just please don't whisper. seriously dd's named nurse at school drives me up the wall as I really can't hear her.

PeachyBAHons Fri 11-Jul-08 17:01:22

Mm, I think I could sum up what we have experienced from the comm. LD nurse specialist in

Please don't offer what you can't give (ours told us we were eligible for Dps so we would agree to discharge, SS practically laughed out loud at us)

Do what you promise- even if its only an e-mail to say Hi, sorry cant contact X, will let you know when I can

Please dont say you understand. honestly you don't. Youc an empathise for sure, but having worked as a student nurse and now having 2 sn kids, the difference is massive

I know I'm a pain client because sometimes I just talk. for hours. recognise that to an isolated Mum, thats often the most precious thing you can do.

jenk1 Fri 11-Jul-08 19:17:05

peachy did you pass your degree?

falcon Fri 11-Jul-08 19:56:33

No whispering I promise.grin

I won't pretend I understand either, I hate when people presume they can.

I may become a children's or Ld nurse which will be hard work, but when compared to the level of knowledge, care, hard work and understanding the parent(s) of a special needs child have, I'm the SN equivalent of a tourist.

However,I do have dyspraxia which does allow me to realise a little better than most people who have no experience of SN, how difficult it is when people don't understand your, and your child's needs and limits.

I'm constantly told by people that dyxpraxia isn't a true diagnosis, just me being a hypochondriac and they can't understand why I can't do certain things, at least not so quickly or exactly as they would.

It's made me realise the difference someone who is open minded and a good listener and is willing to learn from the parents can make to both child and parents during a hospital stay.

I'm rambling now, but just wanted to say, thankyou for the advice, it's very useful and please keep it coming.

Romy7 Fri 11-Jul-08 20:19:08

contact your local volunteer centre and ask them what volunteering opportunities they have with children with additional needs - we are always looking for people like you to give up an hour a week to help sn kids in youth activities... grin
what's better than hands-on?

falcon Fri 11-Jul-08 20:22:05

I'm planning on doing so in August Romy, I'm really looking forward to it.Just hope they can put up with me.grin

I've had experience as a volunteer with the elderly and enjoyed that, helping with youth activities would be ideal for me.

falcon Fri 11-Jul-08 20:25:32

I'm also going to take classes to learn both Makaton and BSL, those should prove to be useful.

PeachyBAHons Fri 11-Jul-08 20:58:07

Jenk- 2:1 grin

jenk1 Fri 11-Jul-08 21:47:28

well done go girl grin

Joggeroo Fri 11-Jul-08 22:32:02

sorry to hijack but wanted to say congrats Peachy, well done yougrin

Arabica Fri 11-Jul-08 23:11:25

I only have a moment but would add:
try and spend a minute or two reading patient files before seeing them;
don't assume female parent is happy to be called 'mum' (that really, really winds me up!)
if you don't know or understand about a child's issues, say so, or say nothing, rather than making a patronising statement like 'I am sure s/he will catch up/learn to feed a bit better/walk'
HTH

Nat1H Fri 11-Jul-08 23:24:29

Listen to what the parent is saying - don't disregard it or use your better judgement! Parents have to live with their kids 24-7 and know them inside out. It is so annoying when professionals tell you what problems your kids have (or don't have) when the parent knows EXACTLY the answer!

Romy7 Sat 12-Jul-08 09:37:06

<crossing my fingers you live me and they send me your details as a volunteer>

good luck!

TotalChaos Sat 12-Jul-08 09:41:31

things that have most irritated me:- statements like "they all get there in the end", and defending the indefensible re:crap local services. also IME being in "the system" dealing with waiting list, and appointments and limited services can leave parents feeling very much out of control, so can be an additional stress.

NineYearsOfNappies Sat 12-Jul-08 22:20:20

Avoid making any kind of assumptions
"They love music don't they" being one, and going straight to the SN toy cupboard and bringing out some nice flashy lights being another - yes great, and the people who do it mean well, but they won't actually help us. Sit for a few minutes and listen to what we need instead.

It is far more helpful for someone to ask me "what can I/w do to help?" than for someone to bustle in and try to take charge.

On a busy ward, it can be difficult to take the time to do this, but sitting for five minutes and letting me finish the explanation I need to make rather than rushing in "helpfully" with misguided reassurance after the first couple of sentences is great.

It is also really really helpful to have the same nurse for several shifts in a row. Drives me potty when I get a different nurse each day "because we all want to learn from you". I get very tired with a child in hospital and I don't want to be a teaching tool every minute of the day.

Oh, and as a student nurse in particular, please introduce yourself AS a student. I am more than happy to talk to students (most of the time), but there's nothing worse than finishing a long and complicated request for a particular kind of medication only to be told "oh, I'm the student, I'll fetch the nurse". I know there are different uniforms but when I've had no sleep for three nights I'm probably not focusing on what colour tshirt you're wearing.

This sounds negative. It isn't meant to be. Things which I do always find useful are - staff on the night shift smuggling in cups of tea for me, and staff on any shift who come in and tell me "I will have 20 minutes free in about an hour, would you like me to come and sit with your daughter?". That's really excellent.

Oh, and if you're responsible for my daughter's medicines, keep the painkillers coming on time. And the anticonvulsants. I know we aren't the only family on the ward but there's no excuse for being late with pain relief. And late anticonvulsants will cause my daughter to have massive uncontrollable seizures - you really don't want to have to be dealing with that on top of everything else!

The nurse who tiptoes into the room and puts tissues around the edge of the bin to stop it clanging is quite a bit more welcome than the one who marches in shouting at midnight too...

Listen to the parents, they are the experts. If I tell you dd is fitting, believe me, even if it doesn't look like what you think a seizure should look like.

Enjoy the course!

wrinklytum Mon 14-Jul-08 00:06:08

Falcon,I think the fact you have posted on here and are looking into stuff from a carers perspective shows that you have the makings of a brilliant nurse.I am a hcp (adult) and have only recently started the journey as a parent of a child with LD.I think that the important factors are
1)Listen to the carer.They spend 24/7 with the child and know them better than anyone.
2)Be honest,if you don't know,say so.So much better than bull**.
3)Always consider the child as a person first and their diagnosis second.
4)Never patronise.
5)Develop a sense of humour(this is purely from a nursing POV,not a parent one!!)I think this is one of my best coping strategies with both hats on,IYKWIM

You sound lovely,I hope you are sucessful in your chosen career xxx

PipinJo Mon 14-Jul-08 00:29:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

falcon Mon 14-Jul-08 12:53:55

I'm leaning towards being a children's nurse Pippin.

If I'm a learning disability nurse I'd be working with both children and adults, which I've no problem with but would prefer to concentrate on children.

I also favour working in a hospital enviroment, and I love continuity of care, being able to get to know my patients and their parents, while both could provide me with that, I think I'd prefer to work on wards.

However I'm doing an access to nursing course first which will provide me with some time to learn about both paeds and LD and time to make my choice.

Either way I'm sure I'll encounter many children with SNs and I intend to learn as much as I can about SNs regardless of which course I choose.

PipinJo Mon 14-Jul-08 14:21:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twinklytoes Mon 14-Jul-08 22:06:25

falcon - I think it might be useful to investigate the long term career options in your county, particularly if you intend to work in the nhs.

I;m a LD nurse in a senior role within a hospital setting (specialist LD services). I've been around for a while and found lots of job opportunities when I qualified. But over the last three years newly qualified posts are few and far between. I work for the nhs and we provide a service to children and adults with LD across 4 counties. this amounts to several communtity teams; child respite services and about 10 specialist inpatient adult services. our local university probably produces 10 to 11 LD nurses each year but we go little way to provide posts for all of them.

this year (where we could accept NQ RN's) we've only had 3 vacancies that were suitable. I do however, think that the cost of living locally means that most nurses have stayed in post rather than moving on (which would have happened 5 or 10 yrs ago) also with things like keyworker housing etc, it means people stay. we've currently got qualified nurses in support worker posts for this reason.

don't want to put you off because its always difficult to come by fantastic LD nurses but do research your local area. If you are in the thames valley then I'd be happy to arrange a visit around our services and show you first hand what we get up too.

sorry that was long! but hope it was of help.

falcon Tue 15-Jul-08 12:17:49

Your advice was very helpful twinkly.

You're right, it does help to find out if jobs are available in my area,before leaping in. I'll make sure I do so before I may my decision.

I'm in the Glasgow area, but thankyou very much for your kind offer, if I find myself in your area I'll let you know.grin

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