How to Prepare for Student Nurse Placements

Starting a new student Nurse placement is always daunting! On top of worrying about if you will like it, if they will like you and ‘will it be too hard?’; You also have content with travelling times, worrying about what will be asked of you and if your mentor will be friendly! If you’re feeling nervous and want to know how to prepare for student nurse placements, you’ve come across the right post!

Switching between placements is a constantly test of your adaptability. Its rare to find another job where you are similarly thrown into different work settings and expected to learn and thrive. This is especially difficult when the locations are clinical nursing placements as many health care settings are continuously faced with many other pressures!

This being said, when you finish your last day of your final placement the sense of achievement you will feel will be second to none! The time will absolutely fly by so its really important to make the most out of your placements whilst you have the time to learn as a student. The best way to do this it to prepare, so keep reading to find out how to prepare for Nursing placements so you can start your new rotation with confidence!

5 Ways to Prepare for Student Nurse Placements

Prepare for student nurse placments

1. Practice the Route

When you find out your next placement allocation, use Google Maps or City Mapper to figure out the route. Use the apps to calculate a route that ensures you arrive at least 10 minutes before the shift starts. Shifts can start as early as 07:00! It may sound obvious but make sure you look into how this would work on weekends too, as public transport will be less frequent on these days.

Once you’ve figured out the route it is a good idea to do a test run’ to travel to your placement and figure out where the exact location of your placement is. This is especially helpful if you’re based in a large hospital so that you know exactly where to go on your first day. If you don’t know the area at all and are looking at long travel times, try to think of it as widening your geographical knowledge of the area. The placement will be over before you know it!

You could also ask around to see if anyone else in your cohort has the same placement, so you could do the journey together.

2. Research Topics Relevant to the Clinical Setting

I have worked as a Nurse for 2 years now and yet this is something I wish I had done more of as a student! Researching can involve a quick google of the area of care the placement involves.

Brush up on keywords and go over your Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) notes that you have for that area. It absolutely won’t take as long as you think it will.

A little bit of pre reading will give you so much more preparedness for what you will encounter on the placement. For example, knowing the common Cardiac drugs, their uses and contra indications will mean the meds rounds on a Cardiac ward will easy! It will also help with revision of your A&P/Pharmacology subjects for future exams and your future job!

3. Bring the Right Equipment

Its important to have the right equipment with you, on the day, to prepare for student Nurse placements.

  • Bring at least 2 Black Pens with you.
  • A Fob Watch is also a necessity for counting respirations accurately whilst recording observations. (An important job as a student nurse, as no one else does it).
prepare for student nurse placements
Important for counting respirations!
  • A Small Notepad is also a very useful item to have on you. This is helpful for when you need to write down a name or contact detail in a rush or want to make notes on something you want to research later.
  • A Pen torch is also important for recording Neuro Observations and a pair of scissors (preferably trauma scissors) are also invaluable in some situations.
  • A Reusable Hot Drinks Cup is a must if you are travelling by public transport to work and need caffeine on the way
Necessary for morning commutes
  • A Water Bottle is necessary to stay hydrated throughout the day. I recommend buying a larger one as you may not have time to fill it up often.
View this post on Instagram

18 duh 💁‍♀️

A post shared by nursedoseRN (@nursedosern) on

4. Download the BNF App

This app is by far the fastest and most reliable way to quickly check the contra indications and normal dosage for a drug when you’re at work. It’s also free and works quite well without a connection to wifi or data, which sometimes happens in certain areas of hospitals.

5. Make sure you have the Right Shoes

One of the most important things to sort to prepare for student nurse placements is shoes! Shoes for Nursing placements need to be closed-toed and black. They often benefit from being wipeable if you are in a clinical setting with bodily fluids around such as on a hospital ward. Its also important you choose shoes that are comfy as you will be on your feet for a long time.

Click Here to read about the 5 Best Shoes for Nursing Placements!

For more Nurse content and resources, check out the Nurse Hub!

Follow @SurvivingNurse on Insta!