1) Most placements occur in acute or community settings (How I’d love for this to change to something less clinical to show to diversity of dietetics in different fields). It would be best to start off by researching the trust. This includes the location, department, the specialities – this is just to get an idea of what the hospital is like. I’d recommend also checking the Trusts social media pages (twitter, Instagram and Facebook) – especially their nutrition and dietetic service. I really helped me to put the faces to names.
2) If you are moving away, make sure you find somewhere suitable. The perks of living so close to the trust is that you don’t have an excuse to be late, and travelling time is reduced, BUT it can be expensive (depends). There could also be accommodation attached to the placement – so this is where you’ll find other healthcare students. Often, they have good transport links to getting to where you need to go.
3) If your moving out, make a list of things you need to take with you so you feel organised and prepared, it also means you can focus more on the placement prep side of things! (Take a look at my list of things I took on placement)
4) Before you head out on placement you should be given a preplacement pack//booklet. This would have everything you roughly need to know before stepping foot in the trust. It covers uniform, behaviour, contact details and a lot more. Its so key you print this off or electronically have a look at it and highlight the key points. I used to highlight start times, what to wear ect. Don’t expect your supervisor to know what you need to collect.
5) Keep a folder of all your paperwork and keep this is order. This will help your supervisor and staff at university if they need to see it. I created a resource folder (filled with diet sheets, info leaflets) and labelled it from A-Z with different disease ect. (Alzheimer’s, Bronchitis, Crohns…) à This helped me to access them quicker when I was in a consolation.
6) In the preplacement booklet you might be given a timetable. I’d suggest updating this to your phone calendar to help you structure your days. I’d also recommend reading through it and becoming more familiar with it as this would be a great chance to pick up on the things you’re less confident on e.g. if you have no idea about diet and oncology then you can research the day before and make your own notes to help you when on placement. One key thing to check for on the timetables you have been given is 1) Timings – it’s so key to schedule in lunch, the day can be very overwhelming so it’s necessary to have that break 2) Rooms – hospitals, medical centres, nursing homes can be spacious and confusing, it’s so easy to get lost. But having the exact room number and floor level will help to avoid you being lost.
7) Brushing up your knowledge – I definitely went on placement feeling as though I didn’t know enough however this feeling is natural. Remember that you wouldn’t be going on placement if you knew everything. Think its key to trust the process. Also having breaks between placement with Uni in-between, it’s very normal to feel out of sync. I would recommend doing extra reading, familiarising yourself with the ABCDEF Process of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice, nutrition products of the medical company that trust uses (ordering yourself a free copy of the compendium – take a look at my list of using the PENG Clinical Pocket guide) , and using case studies (you never know you might get a really similar patient on placement that you’d be assessed on).
8) If you are able to get in contact with your placement supervisor you could ask whether electronic devices such as tablets, laptops are allowed to be used – its great having them but remember all trusts follow their own policy so its best to listen to your exact one. They’re useful because you can download apps like: BNF (this one is my favourite, just because it can become overwhelming looking at a drug chart, this app allows you to enter multiple drugs to review their interactions), NHS app (for generic diseases), Journal or Human Nutrition and Dietetics, even having your digital notes if that would help you.
9) The first day: *cues internet mom, Ruby* - Get enough sleep, set an alarm to wake up on time, definitely try to eat breakfast, pack your lunch before (because if you are new to the location you’ve been placed at, most likely you’ll be unfamiliar with where to buy your lunch), definitely leave earlier (just in case you come in contact with traffic or get lost finding the meeting/greeting room.
Preparation meets Opportunities - Hope this was helpful. 😇
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