Are you ready? Nursing Placement Checklist
So you're going on your first nursing placement...Second year nursing students Patrina and Megan have put together a super useful list of everything you need to remember!
You’ve got yourself a nice backpack, but it can be hard knowing what to actually put in it, especially when you’ve got an extra-long shift to get through.
We recommend the below:
You will lose about 100 pens throughout the placement, it’s literally one of those things! So, bring a few and don't bring any you'd be sad to lose!
Always bring a pocket notepad (A6 and the nursing tunic are a perfect pairing) to take notes out in placement. You'll see things that genuinely can’t be taught in uni and will hear terms you’ll want to Google later.
This is extremely handy too if you need to jot down anything quickly. It's also useful for reflecting on what you did each week and can help you with your EPAD (Note: NEVER DOCUMENT ANY PATIENTS DETAILS).
Pack a packet in case you’ve had to be head to toe in PPE or if you’ve been warm or sweating on the ward (Be warned…wards and nursing homes can be very warm!) There is literally nothing more refreshing that washing your face during your shift.
Masks and the heating can dry out your lips!
If you struggle with the smells of certain bodily fluids Vicks is recommended, a tiny smudge under the nostrils helps a lot!
However, if you do need to apply Vicks, please be mindful of the patient and other healthcare professionals around you.
A large water bottle and a coffee cup
It is important to keep hydrated on placement, however, it is not always possible to get access to water so having a water bottle pre-filled is always a must!
If you need caffeine, your own coffee cup is always a good shout - you will find many staff will have their own cup in the staff room!
Always make things like sandwiches and wraps- something cold because you don’t know what is available (microwave, kitchens, or canteens). You will see what is available to you on your first day then you can take it from there.
PACK EXTRA SNACKS
Long days can make you need energy boosts throughout the day.
Don't forget these or any other medication you need these are handy to have in your bag in case you need them. If you are on any medication, it is important to tell placement on your first day what medication you take. This is in case anything was to happen. With that, if you have any illnesses etc that can affect you on placement, please let them know.
Both are very useful for working on your EPAD. Not every placement has an abundance of computers plus staff will take priority for the ones that are available.
Epauletes/Lapels/The coloured strappy things!
Make sure you have your lovely green lapels on your uniform! They let other healthcare professionals (and other students in your practice setting) know what year you are in. Green for first Yellow for second and Red for third year.
You can pick these up on amazon or eBay for a few pounds, so don’t panic if you’ve forgotten. These are used a lot during placement! Plus, it’s better to check the time using this instead of taking out your phone!
Please do not forget your name badge, this is a massive part of your uniform. Not everyone will remember your name, so this helps. Also, don't forget the #mynameis campaign throughout healthcare and it can be a useful prompt for ensuring you let your patient know your name.
Queen’s requires black washable closed-toe shoes. You can wear ALL black leather trainers; you will probably find most students have the same black leather trainers or shoes. If you see other students or maybe other nurses wearing different shoes - do not copy them. Uniform inspections are a thing and can be recorded on your EPAD.
Comfort is key. When you are on your feet for 12-13 hours a day you won’t care what they look like you’ll realise it isn’t a fashion show and before you know it, you’re all about the comfort.
If you are going to change anything, make sure it’s as close to the original uniform as possible. Some placement areas may prefer you to wear your Queen's polo shirt instead, but they will let you know if this is the case (or else it will be stated on Inplace). For example, many health visiting placements and day centres prefer the polo shirt over the tunic.
Consider compression socks
If anyone struggles with being on their feet for long periods of time wear compression socks. They are a saving grace at times for sore and restless legs. (Amazon sell nursing themed ones!)
Hair, Nails and Makeup
Please do not take it personally if they tell you to put your hair up above your shoulders. Depending on the placement area and the ward manager, some placements prefer hair to be in a bun and to be above and off the shoulders, and nothing around the face. You can't go wrong with a big bun and a scrunchie!
Nails need to be free from nail polish, gel polish, acrylics - you cannot have anything on your nails. The length of your nails is another thing due to infection control. The length should never be over your fingertip. Also, minimal makeup please.
Again, this depends on the placement area. All placement areas will be bare below the elbow, with no smartwatches, step counters, or fancy bracelets. (Wear your apple watch/Fitbit around your ankle to track steps if needs must).
- No rings either, except for a wedding band
- No engagement rings or anything with a stone
- Some placement areas allow small, studded earrings however not all allow piercings
Some will ask you to take out any visible piercings and if they cannot be taken out, they will ask you to cover them with either tape or plasters. So be mindful.
Remember this is nothing personal, it’s for the health and safety of yourself and others.
If you found this useful you need to read Patrina and Megan's Complete Guide to Your First Nursing Placement.
Find out more
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Megan Meek | Patrina Loughran | Nursing |Undergraduate Students | N.I
Written by Megan Meek (Adult Nursing) and Patrina Loughran (Learning Disability Nursing). Megan and Patrina are both second year students who met through the Peer Mentor Scheme.