Monday – night shift
We are starting the placement week off strong with two night shifts! I have a love/hate relationship with night shifts. I love how quiet and non-disruptive they can be as patients are asleep, but at the same time, it can be a challenge trying to stay awake and focused in the early hours of the morning!
To help set myself up for the night shifts, I try to stay up late as possible the night before so that I sleep in later and am not awake for long before my shift starts. This is because I would rather do this than have a nap before my shift. I will then make sure to have a coffee and a good meal before I leave so that I’m nice and awake for the hours to come!
Tuesday – night shift
I get back home at around 8am, I quickly eat, shower and then get into bed with my eye mask on for a well-deserved sleep. I wake up at around 4.30pm, and go downstairs to a catch up with my housemates and have a little debrief of the night shift. I must emphasise that it is very important to have a little debrief after a hard shift, whether this is with your flatmates, your family, or even writing any thoughts down. The last thing you want to do is bottle up any emotions and carry them to the next shift.
Then it’s back to the hospital for another 12 hours!
Things I practise/observe on the night shift
- Night medication round
- IV antibiotics and fluids
- Observations and NEWS (National Early Warning Score)
- Blood glucose monitoring
- Updating care plans, filling out input/output charts
Wednesday – Christmas market with friends
Unfortunately, to reset my sleep schedule, I have to wake up at 12pm, so I only get around four hours of sleep. This means I will take this day to chill after my night shift and try not to overdo it. In the afternoon, my housemates and I decided to go to the Christmas market. This helped relieve any stress I had experienced from the night shifts.
Thursday – back into a routine
I use this day to do any admin that I need to do for the week, such as answering emails, updating my PebblePad learning platform, and preparing for my next shift. I will also try to go to the gym or incorporate some movement into my day. This is vital for my physical and emotional health, especially as I don’t get much opportunity on the days I have placement. I also take the day off to chill, as this is also important when on placement, to prevent any burnout.
Friday – LD shift
Back to placement today! But this time it’s a long day (7am-8pm), and it’s a lot busier than the night shift. During the day shift there are learning opportunities such as:
- watching a PD (Peritoneal Dialysis)
- medication rounds
- catheterisation, putting up NG (Nasogastric) feeds
- MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) meetings
- wound care
- admission assessments.
Saturday – part-time work and night with friends
The annoying thing about placement is that us Nursing students don’t get paid for it, meaning the money has to come from somewhere else! I currently have a student contract job with Tesco, which gives me lots of flexibility for when I can work. I picked up a Saturday shift this week, but I finished at four which allowed me to have my evening free to go out with my friends.
Sunday – prep for placement
Sundays are for lie-ins!! I caught up on some well-earned sleep, and also did a food shop for the week ahead. I have placement again on Monday, so I washed my uniform ready for the week and meal prepped for my shifts. Organisation is key when you are on placement, as it helps you stay on top of things during your busy weeks!
My tips for staying organised while on placement
- Get your uniform ready (eg put epaulettes on) the night before, then it’s one less thing to worry about in the morning!
- Meal plan! This has been a lifesaver for me. It means I don’t have to worry about not having food for my shifts as I would have already prepared it. It also saves you precious money!
- Write your PebblePad to-dos. There have been so many times where I have forgotten to get something signed off on my MYEPAD (Midlands, Yorkshire and East Practice Assessment Document) due to me not knowing what needed to be done with my Practice Assessor. I would write down what you need to do at each stage of your placement, so you don’t have to go back to it at the end of your placement.