My last ever placement for my nursing degree, I was in Women’s and Childrens (W&C) at Central Gippsland Health. The knowledge I gained during my final 5 weeks as a student nurse, is immeasurable and I am so grateful for my time on this ward.
When I first found out I was going to be on W&C, I was terrified. I had had limited nursing experience with children, however, I had experience teaching children skills such as basketball and soccer in my previous job. I believed that this would help me engage and communicate with my patients. I was nervous about connecting with parents and being able to build a rapport with them. I was worried I would have trouble understanding where their concerns and worries were coming from as I don’t have children of my own.
Thankfully, my preceptors were all amazing! I was able to voice these concerns to them, and they explained things they had experienced with parents and how they helped the parents understand and cope with what was going on with their children.
My first week, I really felt like I was thrown into the deep end. It is quite hard finding your feet in a new environment, finding out where things belong, and even doing something as simple as observations on a child (it’s a completely different approach to adults). After my first week, I started to get into the swing of things and was able to pre-empt things that were going to be required and complete these tasks before they were asked/needed. It was amazing the difference I saw in myself after just one week.
The following week, I again felt like I was thrown in the deep end as I was lucky enough to do some shifts in the special care nursery. The staff were all so knowledgeable and no one got sick of me constantly asking questions about newborns, as they aren’t something we focus on in the nursing degree. I have always been nervous about newborns and holding them. By the end of my placement, I was confidently changing newborns positions, getting newborns out of the humidicribs, feeding newborns via nasogastric tubes, updating feeding charts, medications and everything else that comes with caring for such vulnerable little people.
Throughout the 5 week placement, my trepidations of parents and understanding how they are feeling disappeared. I realise now that they just want the best for their child, and want it explained in a way that they can understand. Once I realised that, it all came so naturally. I was grabbing mums coffee from the café when I got mine as they didn’t want to leave their child who finally fell asleep, or ordering them some dinner from the kitchen so they didn’t have to leave. It was a completely different environment to be in and learn in, but I loved it so much.
I was so incredibly lucky to see a C-section, and it was the most unbelievably, beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. I can see myself doing further study in paediatrics or midwifery. This 5 weeks, completely changed where I see my career going and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I have learnt.
I am so excited to continue my nursing at Central Gippsland Health and am looking forward to all the new experiences and things I will learn in my graduate year.