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is it normal to HATE placement?

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Author is it normal to HATE placement?

louisa

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:04 am

I've just completed Day 3 of my cert 3 placement...and the thought of going back tomorrow fills me with dread. I actually like the tasks involved, like meal assistance, talking to residents, I don't even mind the showering and toilet assistance. It's just the place itself I dislike. There are about 6 students and it feels like the staff don't want us there - most of them seem to ignore the students and aren't approachable. They seem slightly begrudging about teaching you anything or having you around, so we all kinda avoid asking questions.

There's also not much actual 'training' - we just show up and follow staff around and then are expected to get it right. On my second day I was instructed to go alone to shower a resident without knowing the proper procedure (I'd seen it done once). When I wasn't sure, the elderly woman starting screaming abuse at me in a foreign language, and now verbally abuses me whenever I see her. My second experience of showering someone was with the most physically aggressive man in the facility who would try and punch me whenever I tried to touch him.

It just seems a bit wrong, I suppose I was expecting some kind of guidance? The sucky part is, I was really motivated and excited about aged care, but these incidences have left me a bit shaken and demoralised. I'm seriously questioning just quitting it and rethinking my career path (if all aged care places are like this, maybe it's not the industry for me) but it feels like such a waste of time, money and energy and maybe I should just stick it out.

So my question is - does everybody dislike their placement or am I just being oversensitive?

Suannie

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Apr 09, 2013, 12:18 pm Last edited Apr 09, 2013, 12:18 pm update #2

Hi Louisa,

Sorry to hear of your experience.

I did mine for one day only but unfortunately, I fell very ill on the second day and could not continue for a while.  However, the facility was not happy to take me back because I was not from the training school they preferred.

Anyway, in answering your question, I felt the same way too with the staff but it was an easy day for me only because my friend works there and she was showing me the ropes for which I was so thankful. 

But I saw how the other students were treated like stupid and hated because they are too slow, etc.  Even among the staff, I see them bickering and arguing which made me very uneasy.  Then there was one staff who just looked at me from head to toe, never said a word as if I was a total threat to her.  

The feeling I have there is one negative, unfriendly place but the residents are a joy.  They love to know you and are happy to have a chat.  I just feel sorry for them having to be taken care of these bitter, unhappy people with uncaring attitude who I think made them as such from years of hard work and low pay.

At least you have your foot in the door because you need to complete your hours at a facility to be awarded the Certificate III.  After that, you don't have to work with them, you have the option of doing Home and  Community Care (HACC) where you are on your own at a client's house.  I have a friend who works just like that and  told me it's much easier and less stressful and she swears by it.

My advice is to stick it out because you may never get a chance to do your placement at another facility.  They are chock-full and not accepting students, unless your education provider can arrange that for you.  Mine did not and could not so I'm not sure if I could ever complete the course.  Oh well, just my luck.

modified: Tuesday 09 April 2013 1:58:44 pm - Suannie

seraphim

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Apr 09, 2013, 04:39 pm Last edited Apr 09, 2013, 04:39 pm update #2

Sad to hear both of you had such terrible experience within the age care facilities.

Louisa, remember, you are there for the patients and to learn. Reflect upon your mistakes and never repeat them again, it will help you alot in both your placement and future workplace. I know the feelings of dragging your feet to placement because of unsupportive staff, but never forget your reasons for taking the course. Ignore the politics within and believe in yourself that you can do it.

I have met an unsupportive nurse in an age-care facility too. I was tired and sat down for like less than 3min (I have worked since 7am-1pm without break). A particular EN sitting on the nurses counter barked at me saying 'you are here to learn, not sit around doing nothing!' While she was sitting there doing nothing too and was at the nurses' station far longer than me. Maybe I was abit more hard headed. I replied 'I'm not paid to work here, maybe you can show me a better example, since you are paid to do so.' That basically pissed her off and we ended up having the manager call my facilitator. She never bother me again after that incident though. :-P Also, I notice it is those older nurses who tend to bullies.

I strongly encourage you to finish your course and set yourself as an example against those bullies. Nursing is afterall a tough job. You get all sorts of rubbish thrown against you and be expected to handle it well even as a new graduate. There are really nice nurses/healthcare workers out there, it is just that you happened to get into a 'not so nice' age care facility.

modified: Tuesday 09 April 2013 4:47:46 pm - seraphim

louisa

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Apr 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

Thanks for the replies, Suannie and Seraphim.

I definitely agree with you both that you do have to focus on the residents, I'll certainly be keeping that in my mind every time I get discouraged. Suannie, I've already applied for work with home care agencies and one has agreed to take me on even though I'm not yet fully certified. So my primary focus is to finish the placement and focus on learning new skills to further my abilities with future clients.

That aside, I've been reading online about others experiences and realise that my experience is pretty common - I read one sociological study saying that around 50% of students decide not to work in the industry after having done work placement, largely due to the lack of support and that the majority of facilities don't have any employees with training experience. Those facilites who did have trained employees who actively assisted students found that post-study retention rate rise to up to 90%. If only all aged care facilities would do this, otherwise why do they bother taking on students? Cheap labour?

Suannie, if you're in Vic or Tas, pm me if you would be interested in the names of a couple of places that take on students that you can try.

Caghs

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May 11, 2013, 04:44 am

I had similar experiences when I started, and was actually taken to task by a manager because on my FIRST DAY of employment (with no training at all or prior experience beyond volunteering with activities) I was left to wash a resident alone.

It does get easier as you become more familiar with the tasks, but the older staff will ALWAYS pick fault with the newer staff; you're too slow, you don't know how to do the tasks blindfolded, you took too long, you're not doing it the way they've always done it (usually because you've been taught a safer way), etc. Don't take it to heart, and don't let it put you off.

And yes, they are SUPPOSED to give you guidance, that's what you're there for. For the sake of not ending up in legal hot water, don't allow yourself to be pushed into anything you don't feel safe to do. If you aren't confident showering someone alone, insist on help. What are they going to do, complain about you? If they do, THEY will be in trouble for not training you properly.

Don't be afraid to approach your lecturer, too.

I nearly quit after that kind of thing too, but it does get better. As you get to know the job better, you get more respect from your co-workers as you're more able to "pull your weight". Ask questions regularly, ask them to demonstrate what they're getting you to do, and work as fast as you safely can. And whatever you do, don't stand around looking lost. If you don't know what you're supposed to do next, ask somebody. After a week or two, you'll get to know the routine and naturally know what comes next and how things are done. Until then, show them that you're a hard worker.

navyseal

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Aug 25, 2013, 08:20 pm

It blows my mind that they would not be grateful that students are offering free labour in making their job easier.

I just dont understand the rationale of these people. Do they not remember what it felt like when they were doing their placements too?

Simply ridiculous. Shows there are all sorts that make up this world.

trudooldoo

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Aug 16, 2014, 04:52 pm

I just did a week of placement love it like you said you do with residents etc, but staff seem to be busy, stressed, cranky, are helpful though, and I am like a shadow following them around, they explaint things to me are good like that, make sure we put fresh towels etc mop floors with towels before we leave this bathroom. But they seem to be there to just do their job, nurses hardly say hello, it's like you are a burden, or gee here comes a tafe student. I thought when you want to become a nurse, it means your kind and supportive, lovely person, not a person that is cranky, and hates their job type person, some people may need a career change if they don't like it. Maybe I might do community care, not in residential, away from so many staff members bickering and bitching about everyone else that's not doing the right thing, that's all I heard, nurses fighting.

louisa

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Aug 18, 2014, 12:52 pm

Just to follow up from my original post:

I left that aged care trainer and completed my training at a different aged care home. I was the only student there and found it a MUCH better experience - some of the nurses were fantastic, guided me through everything and even gave me personal working references when I finished. Some were less great, of course, and I've since found that in aged care there can often be a real mentality of some carers behaving as if they know everything and you're invading their turf. As trudooldoo mentioned, in many aged care/nursing environment I've witnessed there has been some degree of staff members gossiping, one-upmanship, unsupportiveness and putting others down, which has been disillusioning at times.

My advice for anyone who was in my original position (or who may be looking for their first aged care home to work in) would be to opt for aged care providers that have a decent staff gender and ethnicity balance, and a young staff - this is not to denigrate older carers, many of whom are experienced and FANTASTIC at their job - but in my short experience I've generally found that younger staff environments have been more inclusive, flexible and enthusiastic, and less judgmental towards newbies and students. 

I'd also suggest HACC (Community Care). It has it negative points (e.g. there's a lot of driving, and at times you feel like a glorified cleaning lady) but you have relative autonomy and you can just get on with doing a good job without having to worry about workplace politics so much.

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