My first placement as a Mental Health student nurse

Samantha Lynch is a first year Mental Health Nursing student.

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

At first, I was a little anxious about this placement, as I have no experience working with older adults. I came into nursing with the ambition to work with children and adolescents with mental health illnesses. However, despite my initial anxities I found the placement thoroughly enjoyable.

I learnt so much. 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.

The staff made me feel like one of the team immediately - I was quite concerned about this at the start but I had nothing to worry about!

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 experience has taught me to be more open minded about where I am placed in the future. Working with older adults was never something I had considered as an option. 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.

I will always remember the patients who made me laugh every day. This placement certainly helped me to realise I am on the right career path and I am so very grateful for the opportunity to meet and support such interesting and kind people."