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.

We’re supporting the Nursing Times Speak out Safely Campaign


SOSlogo200Our School of Health and Social Care are supporting the Nursing Times Speak out Safely campaign which encourages NHS organisations and independent healthcare providers to develop cultures that are honest and transparent, to actively encourage staff to raise the alarm when they see poor practice, and to protect them when they do so.

We encourage our students and staff to raise concerns about poor practice or wrongdoing by following our whistleblowing concerns protocol, knowing that these concerns will be supported, investigated and acted upon accordingly.

The pledge

This Nursing & Health Care School supports the Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign. This means we want every member of our staff and students to feel able to raise concerns about wrongdoing or poor practice when they see it and confident that their concerns will be addressed in a constructive way.

We promise that where staff or students identify a genuine patient safety concern, we will support them, help them to ensure their concern is fully investigated and, if appropriate, act on their concern. We will also give them feedback about how service providers have responded to the issue they have raised, as soon as possible.

Whether you are a staff member, or a student, please speak up when you feel something is wrong. We want you to be able to Speak Out Safely. Visit the Nursing Times website for more details on our pledge.


International Nurses Day celebrated at BU

A special event celebrating nurses was hosted at Bournemouth University to mark International Nurses Day, 12th May 2014.

The event combined exhibitions from key healthcare charities and companies and a series of keynote speeches talking about nursing in the UK.

The day, hosted on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, celebrates the contribution that nurses make to society and was also attended by Bournemouth Mayor Councillor Dr Rodney Cooper (pictured).

Dr Janet Scammell, Associate Professor in Nursing at Bournemouth University, helped to organise the event at BU and said, “Nursing and healthcare have been in the spotlight over the last year as reports about poor quality of care in the NHS and elsewhere have come to light.  We know that most nurses provide excellent care despite increased care need and diminishing resources.  The nursing team at Bournemouth University wanted to use International Nurses day as a catalyst to celebrate the best of nursing despite living in challenging times.”

Janet continued, “The ‘buzz’ in the exhibition was full of energy.  The stands were wide ranging, including international nursing, history of nursing, service users perspectives, practice innovations, student pledges and staff research.”

The afternoon also included a panel discussion with two consultant nurses from Dorset. 150 participants were invited to the half-day conference focused on self-leadership, equality and diversity and service user involvement in health care.

Talks included a lecture on self-leadership by BU’s Professor of Nursing Elizabeth Rosser (also pictured) and a lecture titled ‘Improving the Patient Experience’ by Kevin Holton, Deputy Director of Patient Experience at NHS England.

The work of Florence Nightingale featured prominently, as Janet Scammell explains, “This event reminded participants of her work and those of other inspiring leaders from the past and provided examples from current clinical practice and education of how these values are still alive and well in nursing education at Bournemouth University working with its practice partners in Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset.”

Nursing placements at BU in the Nursing Standard

BU practice educator Belinda Humphries and practice learning advisor Jo Hirdle shared their thoughts on the benefits of student nursing placements in the Nursing Standard.

“Practice experiences can be among the most memorable, enjoyable and rewarding times for students embarking on their nursing careers,” they wrote in the article, which appeared in a student supplement.

“They can also be thought-provoking, pressurised and challenging.”

Nursing students spend 50 per cent of their course on placement, and Belinda and Jo said that the BU practice learning adviser team helps students discuss any concerns they may have in advance of their first placement.

They also suggest that students should try to make a placement preparation checklist, including things like checking shift patterns and travel arrangements, identifying their mentor and other placement support, and looking at uniform policies.

The article also featured first year BU nursing student Kate Allaway, who spoke about her placement experience at Magna Care Home in Poole, and her mentor Heidi Williams, who manages the care home.

Kate said: “As I learned new nursing skills, Heidi encouraged me to write a case study.

“This was helpful and I believe all students should do this.”


BU lecturers share advice in Nursing Times

Clinical demonstrator Catharine Handford and lecturer Cate Wood shared their advice on what first year nursing students should expect from their degree in an article for the Nursing Times.

“Learning to be a nurse is not as simple as just being told what to do and then going out and doing it,” they wrote.

“The process involves time spent in lecture theatres and on self-directed study, alongside learning practical aspects of nursing taught in simulation departments and on practice placements in a variety of settings.

“To succeed you need to be determined, organised, positive, assertive and self -directed.”

Alongside attending lectures and seminars, students should be prepared to become “independent learners”, they added, completing background reading and self-directed study.

“To look after the health of others you need to start by taking care of your own,” they wrote in the article.

“Plan your study wisely and take up all the help offered to you, a study timetable will allow you to work hard and give you time to do other things you enjoy.”

They also explained some of the practical skills that nursing students will be expected to learn and complete assessments in – including practice placements and ‘simulation’ exercises.

“Simulation is used by universities as a way of reflecting on real-life situations,” they said.

“It allows for a variety of clinical skills to be taught and practised in a realistic and safe environment before you practice these skills on actual patients.”

They explained that simulation exercises for first year nursing students at BU included learning moving and handling skills, how to assess a patient’s nutritional and hygiene needs and practicing basic observation techniques – working with other students to learn how to take pulses, temperature and blood pressure.

Catharine and Cate, who are both from BU’s School of Health and Social Care, said: “This is where you really get to know your fellow students.

“By sharing experiences and learning together what it is like to be a patient, you build firm friendships and a strong support network of individuals who understand exactly what you’re going through.”

They added: “The journey to becoming a nurse can be challenging and hard work, but it is also a time when you will grow as a person, meet some amazing people and, hopefully, have a lot of fun.”

Read the Nursing Times article in full (subscription needed)

Professor Jane Reid’s report featured on The Conversation UK

Bournemouth University’s Visiting Professor of Nursing, Jane Reid, had her article featured on news website ‘The Conversation UK’, talking about surgical “never events” and what they are.

The Conversation UK is a new and quirky website that presents and delivers the news using academic opinion and expertise.

Surgical “never events” are extremely serious incidents that should never happen because “they’re entirely preventable”.

Most never events prove devastating, such as having the wrong testicle removed, retained foreign objects post operation and severe scalding of patients. However many are fatal, preventable events: Suicide using collapsible rails, maternal death due to post-partum haemorrhage after elective caesarean sections, wrongly prepared high-risk injectable medication and maladministration of Insulin.

“Unfortunately, too many health professionals, managers and boards continue to tolerate unacceptable practices that are ultimately endured by patients.” Jane Reid said in the article.

See the full article here.

Dean Eastmond

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Dr Ann Hemingway defends nurses on Three Counties Radio

By Dean Eastmond

BU’s Dr Ann Hemingway featured on BBC Three Counties Radio, explaining how she does not feel that nursing is deficient in care.

Recent reports claimed that nurses felt they are too busy to comfort distressed patients and fulfil their roles.

Dr Hemingway, a lecturer in Public Health, said that she felt the NHS should be targeted rather than nurses, and explained that she did not feel that care standards have declined.

“Quite recently my mother was in hospital and she had an excellent experience,” she said.

“The job has changed enormously over the past few years which people don’t understand. Patients are much sicker now in hospital than when I trained as a nurse”

She continued: “The key thing is which isn’t really discussed is that nursing care is just as important as cure. If someone gets a bad bedsore, they can die from that.

“It’s incredibly worrying and it needs to be challenged by the nursing and midwifery council”

It was then passionately explained by Dr Hemingway that there are elements of sexism in the recent news, as nursing and midwifery are typically female dominated roles.

There are no reports about surgeons and other medical jobs lacking in care standards.

“I don’t see why nurses should be singled out”

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

England’s Chief Nursing Officer gives talk at Bournemouth University


The Chief Nursing Officer for England Jane Cummings was among speakers at a nursing society conference which took place at BU.

Jane talked about compassion in practice at the Phi Mu Chapter conference, which took place over two days at the Executive Business Centre.

The Phi Mu Chapter is the English branch of the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing, which is made up of nurse leaders from around the world.

Professor Elizabeth Rosser, Deputy Dean (Education) in BU’s School of Health and Social Care is President of the Phi Mu Chapter, and each year an induction ceremony for new members takes place at BU.

Professor Rosser said that this year, alongside inducting around 12 new members, they decided to hold an inaugural conference.

The theme of the conference was ‘Putting people at the heart of nursing care,’ and as well as guest speakers, there was opportunity for members to network and share ideas of best practice and care, with poster presentations, debates and social activities.

Professor Rosser added: “Having Jane Cummings here means a lot to increasing the profile of BU and nursing at BU.”

In her talk, Jane spoke about the importance of compassion in practice and shared her vision behind her new strategy – the 6 C’s of compassionate care.

She said: “Every single decision any of us makes has an impact on patients. “If we do things right and look after people as they come to the end of their lives, it makes such an impact on people.”

She added: “A degree is not the end, it is the beginning. It is about being able to build on that, and staff skills and expertise.

“I’m incredibly proud of the fantastic stuff that’s happening and we need to shout about it.”

Following her talk, Jane explained that she had been keen to find out more about the Phi Mu Chapter and wanted to continue to engage with universities that teach nursing and midwifery.

“I wanted to make sure that I have the opportunity to engage with universities and staff that lecture, and also the students that are entering the professions,” she said.

“I also wanted to understand a little more about the Phi Mu Chapter – its objectives and goals are really worthwhile and I thought it was a good opportunity to be part of it.”

She added that she was supportive of the nursing curriculum taught at BU – which has a focus on humanisation and the 6 C’s of compassionate care.

“The students I have met today have been amazingly positive.

“I’m hoping [that the members who heard her talk] will take away a sense of optimism and a desire to help implement the different areas of action.”