Nursing placements are fantastic for learning, understanding, and developing skills

James Paul

We spoke to James Paul, a Child Nursing student, for International Nurses Day, about his experiences on placement.
He talks about the support he’s received and the respiratory event he dealt with.

How has it felt, being able to experience your future career through placement opportunities? 
Placements are fantastic ways of learning, understanding, and developing skills, personal capabilities and gaining confidence and knowledge. Furthermore, the range of opportunities provide insight into likes and dislikes for when you qualify. 
What support have you received while on placement? 
Placements offer a wide range of support, from mentors (now assessors) and supervisors, staff in general. From HCSW to reception staff who though not medically trained, have a wealth of knowledge on children. In addition, the university is always there to support with queries or discuss difficult situations. Whilst fellow students provide the friendship and understanding of what you are going through. 
Tell us about the respiratory event you had to deal with while on placement at the Royal Gwent Hospital. 
This was a scary out of the moment situation that took over my mind for a while. Running towards the noise and assisting where I could, was an instant reaction. The staff were amazing with the situation, and the speed that multi-disciplinary teams arrived at was unreal. I knew when to step back and focus on other patients, which at the time felt the best thing to do. Thankfully, the patient recovered, which was the main thing. One thing that sticks with me is the aftermath. Looking at the room once everyone had gone, it appeared to have been hit by a tornado. To me, it showed the organised chaos which unfolded! 
How did you provide comfort to the patient at this difficult time?
The patient was young, so early on, it was about family centred care and giving mum and dad support. When the patient could interact, they seemed unphased and went back to their chatty, playful self. This was great, as the situation was dwelt upon. I nursed the patient a few more times on re-admissions so, we had a little rapport towards the end. 
How did your course prepare you to deal with this situation? 
The course prepares us by providing medical guidance and reassurance that you are not alone. That is true, based on the experience.
Why did you decide to become a child nurse? 
Child nursing has been a venture that has always interested me as a person with a long-term illness, hospitals and healthcare have always been part of my life. So, it feels like a natural process to take this opportunity. 
What is it you love most about being a student child nurse? 
Seeing the patients improve to go home. But having the opportunity to learn, observe, gain knowledge, and meet so many people. Patients, parents, and colleagues are what makes the student nurse role so rewarding. 

What skills will you be able to take into your future career? 
Your skills are constantly enhanced. I can already see my observational skills and general understanding improving with every shift. I feel communication is vitally important. Chat to everyone; build trust and provide an ear for listening wherever you can.