Earlier this year, I spent six weeks at a private hospital in Kent where I was working in pre-op and post-op care and also spent some time in theatre too. There were a variety of surgical patients including orthopaedics, E.N.T, ophthalmic, gynaecology, urology, plastic surgery and general surgery.
It was a really rewarding experience, and the setting was very different to that which I’d experienced on previous placements. Everything was very well arranged, and there wasn’t such a rushed atmosphere. Everything was in place to make patients feel comfortable.
I found this made a big difference to how I was able to care for patients. When the environment is relaxed and the patient is already settled, they aren’t as anxious so you don’t have to change your mode of communication to ease their anxiety. You can build a good rapport with the patient straight away and you have time to do the most important things, including getting to know the patient and the care they need.
Staff ratios are one nurse to four/five patients, so the staff had more time to support students. At the end of the day there was a quick reflection and we could elaborate on what we’d learnt during the day and I could ask lots of questions. This was really helpful for my studies.
I would recommend that every student goes on placement in the independent sector if the opportunity is available to them. I would definitely consider a future career in this sector. I particularly enjoyed the surgical setting too. It gives you an opportunity to follow the patient through their entire journey, supporting and caring for them along the way, which is really satisfying.