The pressure! Being a student on placement can be a scary idea, you’re learning, studying, applying your knowledge all at the same time and the lack of experience you’ll have at this stage may make this feel uncomfortable
1) I mentioned this before but you wouldn’t be put on placement if you knew everything and had all the knowledge. Always remind yourself you are on placement to learn.
2) Expectations: non one expects you to know everything. you are still a student; with every placement you go to you will be exposed to something new. I’m sure this can even be said post-graduation (this profession is about growing and learning, hence all the amazing continual professional development CPD opportunities)
3) Don’t be so hard on yourself. The whole experience can be psychologically challenging so be sure to outline your purpose and its okay to learn, make mistakes, and ask questions.
4) Mistakes don’t mean that you are rubbish at the job – the good thing about making a mistake is that you can learn from it. Its really key to take away the positives, so if something didn’t work the way you hoped, think about why this was, what can you do different next time (This can also be completed by doing a reflection).
5) I always got told, “you don’t know what you don’t know” – if you don’t know something, ask someone or do you research. You’ll only know once you’ve experiences it.
6) Keeping your university study life separate from placement. I found it was more manageable focusing my attention on one thing at a time. If you have assignments, make sure to give yourself timeslots in the week to dedicate to that, from personal experience I found tackling too many things at once was a recipe for disaster and often lead to me burning out.
7) Confidence. Some people have more confidence than others and that’s okay. Placement shapes you as a dietitian and an individual, I guarantee by completing placement you would have self-developed.
8) “I dOnT ThInK Im GoOd eNoUgH” – When the doubt starts to kick in… I think what reassured me the most during placement is that I can do all the extra reading in the world, and what this webinar and attend this BDA event but I can only try my best. Its easy to compare yourself to others, but you are making a journey of your own.
9) Reflection: don’t just document things that didn’t go well, mention things that you felt really proud of too! This will keep you motivated, knowing you are good enough and you do contribute to the field of dietetics.
10) Break time! Its key to plan your breaks, doing something fun. Your brain can only work at such capacity so taking a breather would help to make you more productive (retaining more information) when you return to work.
11) I like to make to do lists – writing down a list of areas in dietetics that I needed to become better at examples included refeeding syndrome or indications for NG/PEG. I would write a list and dedicate 1-2 of this a week to learn in my own time- breaking down tasks into smaller task was more effective.