My first clinical placement

Claire Davies is a first-year learning disabilities student nurse at USW.

Claire Davies is a first-year learning disabilities student nurse at USW. A student mum, Claire has four children and three step-children.

"My first placement was on a surgical ward. As a learning disabilities student, I am passionate about advocacy, inclusion and equality, so I didn’t think I would enjoy working on a surgical ward, but I did! The staff were all so friendly and helpful and I felt like I was part of their team. 

I learned a lot about stoma care, wound care and cross infection. I was taught how to conduct observations on a patient that was post operation and how to change wound dressings using aseptic non-touch technique. I also saw a few infected wounds that reopened when the staples were removed.

Both the ward manager and my mentor were very supportive and asked if there were any procedures I would like to watch before my placement ended. I asked to watch an endoscopy and bowel surgery and the surgeon was very informative all the way through. I found it fascinating to watch.

The most emotional part of my placement was a lady who was admitted to the ward with abdominal pain only to be told she had cancer. She was discharged for palliative care. It was sad to see her leave and I still think about her.

The experience got me interested in palliative care. In the fifteen years of working with adults with learning disabilities, I had never come across a palliative care nurse, despite working with people that were dying.

I was also shocked at how many people with learning disabilities were admitted to the surgical ward and had very little support while they were there.

My placement reinforced how much I want to be a learning disabilities liaison nurse once qualified, and possibly even working in palliative care."