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When I was allocated a care home as my first placement in my second year, I initially thought this wasn’t what I wanted. I cried quite a lot and was anxious about having to spend 6 weeks there. 

When I thought of a nursing placement, I thought of the clinical experiences, wards, nurses, doctors, and loud, busy environments – a far cry from a care home.

I reasoned with myself and told myself I couldn't always get what I wanted. I needed to make the most of this opportunity. 

I called the care home manager a few weeks before starting to introduce myself and to arrange my shifts. I was asked how I felt about coming to the care home, and I was very honest. I told the manager how nervous I was, and was instantly reassured that I would enjoy my time there. I didn't believe her. 

My care home placement was hands down one of my best learning experiences

I was proved so wrong. My care home placement was hands down one of my best learning experiences. I was welcomed into the team and supported by everyone to make it a fantastic experience. 

I had the honour of being invited to look after residents in the place they call home. I got to know every resident and their families, which allowed me to support them in  the best way possible. I quickly became part of that team.

Holistic, person-centred care

A real highlight was my work on a quality care improvement project. The project aimed to make it easier for residents to transfer from care homes to hospitals, making the experience less distressing for them and their families.

My background is in a medical admission unit and when people are admitted from care homes, they're often admitted with insufficient information to enable a consistent transition. Sometimes they’re unable to verbalise the information needed. 

Tyler Kirkham

Pictured above: Nursing student Tyler Kirkham, from Scotland

This sparked an idea. I wanted to produce a tool that was accessible and easy to update when required. 

The document I created was an adaptation of a hospital passport, most commonly used for people with learning disabilities: ‘My Hospital Personal Plan.’

The right care, in the right place, at the right time

It's intended to accompany any resident admitted to the hospital and provide staff with the information needed to maintain the same person-centred care the resident experiences within the care home – the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

I was encouraged and supported by all the staff at the care home, and allowed to work independently and trusted to make changes where appropriate. Most importantly, I always felt listened to.

Open to opportunity

At the end of my placement, I genuinely felt very grateful for my time there and was very sad it was over. The care home will always hold a special place in my heart.

We all get worried about our placements, and the thought of a care home makes some of us even more anxious. There is so much we can learn and take away from care home placements – you must be open and give them a chance like you would any hospital placement. 

You never know; you may love it as much as I did.


Following her work on the hospital personal plan project, Tyler was awarded the Brittle Bone Society's Touch a Life Award and her university’s Sir James Black Award 2024 for outstanding achievement. She is due to become a registered nurse later this year.

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