So, I am going to try not to make this a ranting post, but I thought I would share with you all the real joys of being a course that is 50% theory 50% practice. I also have some advice alongside these, so if you are not on placement yet, you can prepare yourself.
1. Shift work
The placement area I am in at the moment starts either very early, meaning I am up at 5AM, or starts a bit later, meaning that I get back home at 10PM. This shift pattern change is so confusing that I ended up being half an hour lateto placement a couple of days ago, and almost had a break down because of it. This means that the word ‘routine’ is thrown out the window because every day is so different, which is not good for anxious people like myself! Let’s not forget the night shift. Although I really like night shifts, the fact that I am sleeping throughout the day means that not only is my sleep-cycle very messed up, but I rarely get anything done. Looking back in hindsight, having a diary and creating a routine that is specific to everyday is a good idea, so you are getting things done and you don’t feel so stressed out!
Since I don’t drive, I rely on public transport or on my legs. Public transport can be so unreliable at times, and I get really anxious when I am late for something! In addition to this, commuting using some form of transport costs money, so that is another additional worry. I am quite lucky as my placement provides a free transport service from the hospital here in Stafford, so cost is not really a big deal for me. I do feel really sorry for those that have got to pay petrol and parking, hospital parking is not cheap! My advice? If it’s cheaper to use public transport than your own car, do that. Do bear in mind that buses have the tendency to be late…
What even are weekends anymore? I thought this deserved its own category. I cannot begin to describe how crazy I get when people say “Thank God it’s Friday” or “I can’t wait for the weekend” whilst I remember that I am on an early shift on Saturday and Sunday. So I don’t work every weekend, but you should prepare to wave goodbye to your nights out at the weekend. And when you want to do things during the week, everyone is busy with their work, so it’s a lose-lose situation. I don’t even know what advise to give for this one…
The uniform we have isn’t the most comfortable one, and you can feel really sweaty (sorry, not sorry). And the shoes we have to wear too aren’t the most flattering. My advice: comfort over fashion. I cannot forget the fact that you have weekly washing and ironing of your uniform, which is just another task to add to your already busy life. Our uniform tops are white too, and get dirty so easily! I can find anything from pen to tea down my top, so my washing always piles up. My advice for this is to do your uniform washing with another person or a couple of others, as it saves money if you all chip in for washing.
I think it’s best if I stop there. Placement is not all bad, it is great to gain the experience that you need, and I always feel so lucky that I get to work with people and helping them. I hope some of you can relate to this post, and if you can’t, I hope you feel a bit more for us students who are on placement which feels like 24/7.