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Reflection is a way to look back on what a person experienced on a certain event. The purpose of this reflective essay is for me to mull over on what I have learned from my direct experience on placement. I opt to utilise on this reflective essay “A Model of Structured Reflection” by Driscoll (2007). This Model has three questions, ‘what’, ‘so what’ and ‘now what’ for me to answer and at the same time to ponder about my practice experience; hence I chose to take advantage on Driscoll’s model as it is very handy to apply even with or without a paper and pen, as all I need to bring to mind is the above aforementioned three questions. I will tackle what I think it matters to me most from my two weeks practice placement, share some learning needs from the learning plan and analysing whether I gained knowledge and understanding that can be applied in a new situation (Howatson-Jones, 2010).
I was in the ward on my two weeks introductory period of practice experience. On my first day, the Ward Manager introduced me to her team. She had told me that my mentor was not around at that time; hence she handed me over to one of the nurses’ in-charge. As I came on an early shift, I have observed the patients hand over from night staff (Wywialowski, 2003). They printed out a handover sheet for each one of us. At first, I was a bit muddled up on how the night nurse was endorsing the patient, maybe because I am new, and not use to it. There are acronyms that they usually use, and I was telling myself that I have to familiarise the medical terms used so I could understand and comprehend, even I am supernumerary I want to be part of the team whilst learning (Jelphs and Dickinson, 2008). After the handover, the nurse asked me to be with the Health Care Assistant (HCA) at the moment, for me to be acquainted with the patients and adapt with the daily routine. I am fortunate that the HCA was helpful, and she taught me a lot about how to assist patient on personal hygiene. She showed me how to use the Blood Glucose monitor and plot it down on patient’s chart (The Global Diabetes Community, 2013). In addition, she taught me that they usually take the observation every four hourly if the patient is not on close observation. The days have gone by so quick; I was productive on my day to day experience as a student nurse. I never wasted my time just standing there without accomplishing anything at the end of my shift. With my passion of caring to patients, I become accustomed on dealing with the patient, assisted to go to the toilet, gave a hand to those who are not able to care for themselves, especially the immobilised patients. I became certain on writing down the nursing care plan of a patient (Lloyd, 2010), observed the Nasogastric tube (NGT) (Macmillan Cancer Support, 2013) and Electrocardiogram (ECG) procedures done by the staff nurse and HCA respectively (British Heart Foundation, 2013). I volunteered myself as well to get the take away medication of the patient in the Pharmacy. Furthermore, I have learned how to fill up the Nursing Assessment forms for a new patient admitted; I have done the said forms by means of communicating with the patient and family. I have mentioned the word communicating as there was a non-spoken English patient admitted because of back pain. In complying with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Code of Professional Conduct (2010) about confidentiality, I will be using a false name for her. It was hand over to the day staff that English is not her first language; hence, Mrs. C cannot speak and comprehend well. When I went to her bedside to take her vital signs, I asked if she has any pain at the moment, she nodded her head and touched her back (White, 2005). I have seen the grimace caused of pain on her back. I reported to the nurse right away that Mrs. C is in pain, and she is due for another dose of pain killer based on her Drug Chart; as a result, Mrs. C has taken the said medication. I informed Mrs. C with the use of verbal and non-verbal gestures that she will undergo Colonoscopy to check what’s causing her pain (Sully and Dallas, 2010). We waited for her nephew before accompanying them in the Gastroenterology Department as she needs somebody to translate the conversation on her behalf. Since it was my first time to watch a patient doing the procedure, I grabbed the opportunity to request from the Specialist Nurse if I can go inside and observe the procedure which she willingly accepted. I also asked permission from Mrs. C through her nephew; I was grateful when he told me his aunt wanted me to come with her in the colonoscopy room. During the procedure, I sat next to Mrs. C whilst holding her hand as she was feeling uneasy with the endoscope inserted into her anus. The Specialist Nurse has given me a few insights in relation to what she was trying to look inside the colon of Mrs. C. I was privileged for having an exquisite time of basic understanding about Colonoscopy (BUPA, 2011). After the procedure, Mrs. C has given me a hug and was thankful. I smiled and responded that it was my pleasure to help her. We went back to the ward, and before I leave Mrs. C on her bed with the assurance that she was comfortable and safe, her nephew expressed his appreciation for looking after his aunt whilst he was not around. Moreover, Mrs. C told him about me being there rubbing her back when she was in agony. I was overwhelmed on how they recognised my presence of comforting her for a short span of time and without much verbal communication.
On the above scenario, I have achieved one of my learning needs, the effective communication between patient and me as a student nurse. Despite the inability of Mrs. C to express herself verbally, I was so sensitive observing her gestures and actions thus I can extend the appropriate care and assistance she needed. By intently looking at her countenance, I can interpret what she was trying to convey to me; henceforth I was able to address her needs. I have realised how vital is verbal and non-verbal communication in nursing. As a student nurse, I should be sensitive to the patient’s nonverbal message. I should not let language be a hindrance in giving the nursing intervention for the patient to recover and return in optimal health (Andrews and Boyle, 2008). Care of people is the priority of all nurses; this is one of the four principles of NMC Code (2010). The provision of care for the patient should be done in a holistic approach that includes the activities of their daily living (Newton, 1995). A simple act of care means a lot to the patient; consequently, I will put into practice again what I have learned from this in the future.
Another learning need that I partially accomplished was being able to observe how to perform the Colonoscopy procedure. I partially achieved it because we have no time to explore the method used to find any abnormalities or inflammation from the patient; however, I did some informative readings about the procedure.
To summarise what I have learned on my placement, I was able to see the nurses’ responsibilities. How they manage to give the best nursing interventions in a busy ward. How they collaborate to other health professionals for updating the patients’ care plan. I have proved to myself that most patients usually depend on nurses as they are the one who provide direct care on them (Altman, 2010). I do believe that nursing is a never ending process of learning; thereby ensuring that nurses are up to date with their trainings and education; otherwise the highest possible care for the patients will not be met. As a student, I have to be dedicated, motivated and inspired to achieve my ambitions in life (Maslow, 1954); continually accepting any challenges for my personal development. For the meantime, I will set my goals on what I want to learn; recognising any learning outcome on my learning plan as this will draw me closer to my aspiration, to be a Qualified Nurse (Peate, 2006). My two weeks practice experience was superlative. The Faculty of Nursing in the hospital provided teaching sessions that will develop us to be competent (McNiff, 1993). All the staff in the ward where I worked with were supportive and compassionate. I am looking forward for my next placement, for me to implement what I have learned from my previous one, and be able to identify new learning opportunities. In conclusion, practice placement is a day of experience, a day of new learning.
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