The easy guide to a successful student placement in hospitals


The advantage of student nurse placements is that they are your chance to take the skills you’ve learnt in the classroom and apply them in a hospital ward. It’s a valuable opportunity to gain a real insight into life as a qualified nurse, plus it enables you to develop and refine the things you have been taught so far.

The article will take you through the basic steps on how to prepare for a successful placement in the hospitals. It’s vital that you have a good idea of what you need to know and do. That way, you can better prepare yourself for your first student nurse placement and further your career in the profession. If you are a student nurse in Australia, this practical guide is for you!

Apply for a police check BEFORE you look for a placement

In Australia, you must have a current police check in your possession before you look for a student nurse placement. If you don’t, you will, unfortunately, need to wait for another placement.

It is strongly recommended to apply for a police check well in advance before seeking a student nurse placement. That’s because the process can sometimes take longer than expected due to the volume of applications or if further clarification is needed about a person’s information.

Another reason to apply for a police check in advance is in case you have any problems with the results on the certificate, you have plenty of time to apply for appeals or to contact your coordinator for the solutions.

police check for employment

Make sure you are flexible

The thing about student nurse placements in Australia is that they are sometimes subject to change with just a moment’s notice. Reasons may include cancellations or health venue issues (for example, the ward could be on lockdown or be affected by an act of nature such as flooding).

Another reason to be flexible about your placements is that they are often only available at particular times of the year. So, if you’ve had in mind the idea of doing a placement within a specific month, for instance, you may find your options rather limited.

Know how to get to your placement

When you have been told where you will be based on your student nurse placement, it pays to do some research before you officially start. One obvious thing you need to do is to work out how to get to your placement

You may already know the location of where you will be working. But, clinical centres like hospitals are big places, and you will need to find out how to get to your ward. Also, you must learn whether it’s better to take public transport or to travel there by car. Bear in mind, though, that some places offer limited parking.

One idea is to telephone the ward or department where you will be based in and ask if you can drop in and say hello. Doing so gives you the opportunity to find out more about your placement in an informal setting. Plus, it shows mentors and managers that you have a keen interest in your placement.

Create learning objectives for your first placement

It goes without saying that thorough research means you are far likely to end up with desirable results in life. The same can be said of your student nurse placement! It pays to take the time to research the placement area so that you know what to expect.

Once you do that, you can then start creating learning objectives for your placement. It’s important to remember that every opportunity is one for you to learn – regardless of whether the experience is a positive or negative one!

Image is everything

As you might expect, the image is everything when you are entering a professional setting. You don’t want the people you work with – or your patients – to think that you aren’t serious about your job.

With that in mind, make sure that you have the correct uniform ready for your first day, and that it fits well and is freshly pressed. You should, of course, maintain some degree of hygiene and professionalism!

Ensure that you are up-to-date with your vaccinations and immunisations

Last, but not least, when you work in a clinical environment, it is crucial that you have the latest vaccinations and immunisations. Not only is that to protect you from any potential illnesses in your working areas, but it also protects the people that you work with as well – including your patients.

You will usually be asked to provide evidence of flu vaccinations, and you’ll also need to give an immunisation statement. If you don’t meet those requirements, it is highly likely that you will be sent home. So, to avoid that situation from happening, book an appointment with your GP and make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations and immunisations.

Hopefully, you have found this article useful in preparing for your student nurse placement. Don’t forget to apply for a police check before you seek your first placement!