Carys Rees from Pontypridd is in the first year of her Adult Nursing degree at USW.
"For my first placement I was on Ward 4 Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, which is mainly discharge planning and elderly care. I worked 37.5 hours a week (three 12.5 hour shifts) for eight weeks.
This placement was mainly about developing the fundamentals of care, so I spent the majority of my time assisting with feeding and hydration, mobilising patients e.g to and from the toilet, and hygiene. I observed many procedures like last offices and catheterisation. I also had the opportunity to give out medication and injections, under the supervision of my mentor.
I had two mentors - an official 'signing off' mentor and a buddy mentor. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to spend a lot of time with my official mentor, as she was the ward manager. As a result I was given a buddy mentor to work with, who would feed back to my official mentor on my progress and in order for my competencies to my signed off. As well as working with my mentor, I would spend time working with HCAs and other RGNs.
The most interesting thing I saw was maggot therapy! MT consists of using maggots, which were specially grown in a lab, to eat away dead flesh on open wounds. Seeing how big the maggots were after the three-day period of treatment gave me a mixed feeling of ‘yuck!’ and ‘cool!’
I did enjoy my first placement as it allowed me to develop fundamentals of care skills, which are essential basics to care. However, as YCC isn't an acute setting, I am very excited to go on to experience acute care. Ideally I would love something fast paced like A&E!
A stand out moment for me was discovering a patient with dementia spoke Welsh when she asked for a "cwpan o de" which means a cup of tea. We engaged in a conversation in Welsh, and she told me how her parents taught her to speak Welsh when she was a young girl.
I felt proud that I was able to be apart of this, and provide care in her preferred language. It was very touching.
It reminded me that there's more to nursing than giving out medications and doing procedures, there's getting to know patients and being there for them."