Going out on placement can be stressful, especially if you are going for the first time. Feeling anxiety around your first (or tenth!) placement is totally normal, but there are some things that you can do to feel more prepared. Here is some advice from those that have done it before.
- Do your homework. Find out from the placement what the main aspects of the role are so you can brush up/read up on anything they may want you to have basic knowledge of. Look the placement location up on a map, and consider doing a drive by, so you know exactly where you are going on day one, how long it takes to get there, and where you will park.
- Know your limitations. Understand your scope of practice. You don’t want to be put in a position where you compromise your ethics or your safety, or the safety of others.
- Dress appropriately. Wear your nametag and dress appropriately for the role.
- Be punctual. Being on time is important for supervisors organising their working day. Consider arriving 15 minutes before you’re meant to be there.
- Ask questions. Placement is about learning, so you are not expected to know everything. Supervisors are there to help, but they won’t always know you need help until you tell them. If people have asked for students they are generally very keen teachers, so they will be friendly and supportive.
- Take notes. Carry a pen and notebook. If you learn new things or need to look something up, write it in down. Then you can look things up when you have a quiet period.
- Put your hand up for opportunities. Have an open mind, try different things and be flexible so you work well in a team.
- Hang around for lunch. It’s nice for supervisors to get to know their students in a less formal environment and vice versa.
These tips have come from Caroline McLeod, a Clinical Psychologist on the north-west coast, Dr Chris Hughes, a GP based in Wynyard, and Caitlyn Tucker, a current nursing student.
Both Caroline and Chris studied with the University of Tasmania and now supervise students on placement. Dr Chris Hughes was the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) General Practice Registrar of the Year in 2016. An award that recognises the strong commitment made by a general practice registrar to learning, the general practice profession and the provision of high-quality patient care.
Caitlyn has completed four placements and says they are the ultimate way to learn.