Students matter

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If I had to choose where to have my care I would choose the place that has students on placement.

The NHS has to train more and more health care staff and I know that there is always a struggle to find good quality placements and learning experiences for students.  In my recent patient experience I  found that the professional looking after me often had a student with them, I was always asked if I minded the student being there.  I never said no, how else do we ensure the next generation of health care staff if we don’t provide them with learning opportunities with patients.  I made a point of asking the students where they were studying, what stage they were at in their studies and how they were finding it – although I was a bit worried by the second year student nurse who struggled to get the patient wrist band on me! Thankfully she faired much better on the blood pressure monitor.  But I discovered something that I didn’t expect to – the care I received seemed much better when a student was there.  The healthcare professional explained things both to me and the student, they explained why they were doing things as well as what they were doing. I felt better informed as a patient.  I realised that by having to teach and explain things to students these healthcare professionals had to be sure that they were upto date themselves but also they had to open themselves up for learning as well.  The physio who saw me post operatively (with a student) hadn’t seen a leaflet I had already received from another nurse about post operative exercises, she realised that it was better than the one she already had and discussed this with both me and the student.  Without a student there sometimes care was just “done” to me, if I was feeling brave I would ask, “what are you doing?”, “why are you doing that?”, but sometimes I just didn’t feel well enough to ask that.

Maybe I’m just a bit nosey, but I know for sure that I would rather have care provided to me by someone who cares enough about the role and the care to teach others and has the humility to accept that they always have something to learn themselves.

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