My first placement as a Mental Health student nurse

Samantha Lynch is in the first year of her Mental Health Nursing degree.

"I've just completed my first placement as a student nurse on a mental health assessment ward for older adults.

I came into mental health nursing with the ambition to work with children and adolescents, so I had no experience of working with adults. However it turned out to be an amazing placement and I learned so much!

The staff made me feel like one of the team immediately. I started by learning how to build positive and trusting relationships with staff and patients, as well as their significant others.

I met many patients with various mental health illnesses such as dementia, personality disorders, bipolar disease and depression. Building relationships with these patients was easier than I thought, as you really get an insight into their conditions and also them as a person.

Assisting with the care of a recently deceased patient was one of the hardest but most profound moments of my placement. I was very humbled and grateful to have been involved, as the patient was a real character who always made me smile. The patient received dignified care from all involved and it was lovely for me to have the chance to say goodbye.

This placement taught me to be more open minded about where I am placed in the future. Working with older adults was something I had never considered. Nevertheless, I was privileged to have heard so many personal and interesting stories. They were so appreciative of my time. My skill set has grown immensely as well as my confidence in my own abilities such as care and compassion."