Make the most of your placement – tips from BU Nursing students

Final year nursing students at BU recently contributed to a doctoral study about learning on practice placements.

Amanda Alexander, Joanne Hewitt, Teresa Pearce, Elinor Suter and Clare Taylor volunteered to share their top tips to help new nursing students make the most of their placement experience.

Whether you’re a nursing student or not, if you’ll be starting a placement soon, their tips may help you too:

See what team members do:

Spend time with different people in the team. They’ll teach things in different ways – some may ask you to observe while others expect you to practice a technique or activity. Officially request a day working with different members of staff so that you can focus on what you are learning.

Build your confidence:

Do your homework before arriving on placement, and while you’re settling in, take notes and be prepared to ask questions. The first few days or weeks of a placement can be overwhelming, and for healthcare professionals, things like shift handovers can be challenging, especially when there’s lot of jargon being used. Make sure you know who you are working with so you know who to refer questions to, and familiarise yourself with processes quickly so you can make even small contributions. At the end of each day, ask yourself ‘What have I learned?’

Build your knowledge base:

Learning is your priority on placement and everything is a learning opportunity, from practicing a procedure or process to observing how colleagues make complex decisions. Ask questions, request feedback and make the most of time with your mentor to discuss your learning outcomes and how to achieve them.

Stand firm on important issues:

Some staff can resent placement students because of their protected role or lack of expertise, so try and build a good rapport with everyone, keeping your views and actions professional. If you feel that your learning experience is being affected by an individual’s attitude, initiate a conversation with your mentor or your university link tutor. Be assertive in seeking confirmation of who your mentor is on each shift (or project) as it’s important for your learning to know who’s supervising you. If you need more practice with a procedure or process, ask and keep asking – it’s too late to regret or complain once you’re back at uni.

The students’ top tips were originally published in Nursing Standards magazine on Wednesday 28 January 2015.

Midwifery conference discusses future of global childbirth healthcare


An international conference exploring the challenges facing maternal and newborn health worldwide has taken place at Bournemouth University.

The conference, organised by Bournemouth University (BU), looked at the international health issues facing those giving birth and their newborn babies and aims to influence the global agenda for the next 15 years.

Professor in Midwifery at BU Vanora Hundley, who has helped to organise the conference, said: “Midwifery should be the backbone of universal access to reproductive health services.”

The conference, called Midwifery and the post MDG Agenda, comes as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations end in 2015.

Two of these MDGs focused on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, and the conference will look at what has been achieved so far, and what still needs to be done.

Dr Zoe Sheppard, from BU’s Clinical Research Unit, said: “The MDGs helped focus attention on reproductive health and rights over the past 14 years.

“Now we need make sure we set challenging but achievable targets for the next 15 years.”

Delegates at the conference were encouraged by speakers to promote access to pregnancy- and birth-related healthcare for all women worldwide, regardless of economic situation or country of birth.

The conference also included a poster exhibition hall that displayed the latest research taking place in the field of midwifery. Posters included information on midwifery in poorer countries, such at Sheetal Sharma’s (pictured) poster on midwifery in Nepal.

Speakers at the one-day conference included Dr Neil Squires, from the Department for International Development (DFID), and Brigid McConville from the White Ribbon Alliance, a non-profit organisation which campaigns for safe birth worldwide.