The University of Edinburgh Semester- Exchange Programme with La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

By Alexandra Bygrave
The Northern Hospital, Epping.
My first placement was in The Northern Hospital, located in the suburbs of Epping. I was allocated to Ward 220, a Respiratory/ General Medical Ward. This was made up of ten to eleven nurses with thirty-two beds. As a student nurse I was to complete Monday to Friday shifts consisting of AM (7:00am-15:30pm) and PM (13:00-21:30pm) shifts. The style of nursing was named ‘buddy nursing’ where they were allocated into pairs, taking on up to ten patients and shared the workload. As a student nurse I was allocated a buddy nurse every shift and was given two patients to look after. I was expected to know my patients back to front. This included why they were in hospital, past medical history, social history, current medications and understanding the reasoning of why they were on each medication as well as the drug classes and mechanism of actions.

This knowledge was tested by educators of the hospital, these were mainly clinical nurse specialists. They would come round at random times of the shift and ask for a full handover of the patients. With significant emphasis on the medications as we would take part in the drug rounds and rightfully so, it is irresponsible to be giving drugs to patients without knowing why we are giving the medications. The educators made clear to students and to the nurses that we are here to learn and not be used as an extra pair of hands, therefore we were to focus only on our patients. This gave us some time during the shift to do our revision and notes on each patient to be prepared for the educators. This style of teaching on placement really worked well in developing my critical thinking as well as consolidating and connecting the theory into practice.

DIVRS, Preston
My second block of placement was in the community at Darebin Information, Volunteer & Resource Service. This was Monday to Friday from 8:30am-16:30pm and I was joined with 7 other student nurses. The main base was at the DIVRS Centre where we would participate in shadowing social workers and learn about their role in the community & sit in with one-to-one talks with participants. We also would participate in food relief, whereby we would help the volunteers in gardening, unloading food deliveries, packing food parcels, and handing these to vulnerable community members. This community placement was eye opening in learning about all the volunteer-led services available in the Darebin Council as well as the health needs of participants. As students, we visited many differing centres in and around the local area that worked together to provide safe areas and services for participants. These places included: East Reservoir Community Hub, Reservoir Neighbourhood House, East Preston Community Centre, Haven; Home, Safe and Bridge Darebin. Each place we visited we set up health kiosks and would give manual blood pressures to participants, as well as their O2 saturations and heart rate. This was to aid in keeping the participants