Worried about attending clinical placement during COVID -19?
Restrictions are slowly easing, but for those in healthcare, the presence and stresses of COVID-19 remains at the forefront of our minds. For students about to embark on clinical placement, it is only natural to feel some apprehension about what lies ahead. The Lamp spoke to some of the many amazing nurses and midwives who have been supervising students during COVID to find out what advice they would give students about to attend clinical placement.
Ensure that you have a good understanding of the current restrictions and advice from NSW Health. Once you are on placement, take time to familiarise yourself with the policies and procedures of the facility where you are undertaking placement. Brush up on appropriate PPE as well as donning and doffing techniques to keep yourself and the patients in your service safe. It’s very important to ask as many questions as possible; the situation with COVID is changing frequently and you will gain the most, and be of most value, if you are up to date and communicating well with your supervising RN.
Know what to expect
Staff are currently being screened – this involves temperature checking and being asked a series of questions upon entering facilities. This is usually followed by ward safety huddles run by the NUM. During this, COVID is discussed, any changes will be communicated, and staff have an opportunity to ask questions. Each facility may be slightly different but it’s important that you contribute by understanding and adhering to the policies of your facility.
Practice Self Care
Look after yourself – self-care is a priority now more than ever. Make sure you schedule time out, away from the stressors of a busy schedule of shift work. A healthy diet, exercise and maintaining good sleep habits helps manage stress. Remind yourself that this pandemic is constantly changing and that you need to flexible and open to change. Remember that you are still learning and that you need to focus on what those learning priorities are during your placement. Ensure that you are update to date with all of your university work, engage with the team on the ward and talk with the nurses or midwives about any concerns you have.
Communicate and reach out if you need support
Speak up if you have concerns and reflect with a mentor, facilitator, team leader or someone who you feel comfortable with. Opportunities to debrief are so important, not only as a student but as ongoing practice throughout your career.
Finally, be open to learning new things and always be proactive – that’s the best way to support your supervising nurse or midwife. If you have concerns, talk about it and ask lots of questions. Remember, we are all in this together!