As a student Learning Disability Nurse, I have experienced many different placements, in a variety of settings within both the NHS and independent sector. So far, the variety of placements have included a special school, specialised residential home, intensive behavioural support team, general theatres and a low secure forensic hospital. Each one of these placements has enabled me to develop my knowledge and clinical skills.
However, there is one placement that really sticks in my mind, and I feel, has helped with my personal and professional development....Let me tell you all about it...
At the beginning of year two, I waited in anticipation to find out what my next placement would be. I was asked about a placement in Carmarthen, where I would stay for the six-week duration of my placement. Firstly, I was unsure, as I had never been away from my home and family for more than one week, and the thought of being away for six weeks scared me. However, after a lot of thought and talking it through with my family, I knew it would be a brilliant opportunity, I could not miss.
Once I confirmed that I would be going, I was told I would be working in the Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) in Carmarthen. I was excited to be offered a placement there, as I didn't have a lot of experience working on an ATU.
Counting down the days until the move to Carmarthen, I began preparing myself for the six week stay. I was told that I would be living with three other students from the course, two of which were in my year group and another from the first year. I was looking forward to spending time with my peers and getting to know them more.
As the move day arrived, I travelled what felt like miles and miles, feeling further away from home. As I arrived, I felt anxious, but was welcomed by one of my peers who had arrived not long before me. This immediately made me feel at ease and I settled in with the others, spending the first night getting to know each other and finding out about our different placements.
My first day of placement arrived, and I was feeling the ‘pre-placement nerves’. I was welcomed to the unit and was introduced to my mentor, who showed me around the unit and introduced me to the clients staying there. Within my first week, I got to know more about the the role of the nurse working on an ATU and was able to compare to previous placements. I was able to take part in administering medication, physical observations, assessments, personal care, facilitating reasonable adjustments and so much more. As well as this, I met and worked with many other professionals, such as Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Community Nurses, Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Speech and Language Therapists and Advocates. This gave me an insight into their roles and how they collaboratively support the clients on the unit.
Throughout my time at the ATU, I was always made to feel part of the team. As the placement was ending, I realised that the six weeks living and working in Carmarthen felt like just days. Reflecting on my experience, I can say the experience that I gained has been so valuable going forward, and throughout the placement I always felt comfortable and more importantly valued. I can also say I enjoyed the nights sitting with my peers, helping each other with our assignments and generally chatting about life…
This was an amazing opportunity, and I sincerely recommend it to current, and future student learning disability nurses. Thank you to the University of South Wales for allowing me to have this amazing experience.
Hannah Dilger (2nd year student learning disability nurse at Univerisity of South Wales)
There are still places availabe for BSc (hons) Nurisng: Learning Disabilties for September 2018.
Please email Rachel Morgan (email@example.com) or firstname.lastname@example.org
More infromation can also be found at: https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bachelor-of-nursing-honslearning-disabilities/