Don't know what to expect when you go on placement? Below, we have compiled comments and testimonials of the placement experiences of current and past students to hopefully give you a flavour of what is ahead!
"For my placement A I was in a city that I had never been to before and so arrived feeling a little bit nervous and lost! During my placement I think that the most interesting activities that we did included learning how to use a pump feeder and also spending some time on the dialysis ward. We followed round a pharmacy assistant and saw the parenteral nutrition bags being made up, which was fantastic because it was something completely new that I learnt about. We also spent a really beneficial afternoon teaching nursing home staff about MUST scoring with a Nutricia rep. The Nutricia representative was also a dietician and it was so useful to talk so someone who had moved into a more industry based job rather than a hospital setting. I really appreciate how the dietetic staff made every effort to show me as much as possible whilst I was there and it left me feeling very optimistic about my future placements".
Grace, UG Student, RGU
"I found my placement A to be really interesting and enjoyable. The hospital setting provided insight to the interactions dietitians have with the multi-disciplinary team for the care of the patient. Time spent in the special diet bay, and observing the food trolleys being made up for lunch, made me appreciate the trained kitchen staff and the kind of budget they have to work with. Within the community, I experienced home visits where it provided more insight about a patient and the rapport the dietitian builds through the course of treatment. The diabetic out-patient clinic was interesting as I was able to observe the consultations carried out by the doctor and diabetic practice nurse, as well as the dietitian, for the patient’s annual check up. I was lucky to attend a group for newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus patients and a workshop for COPD that was organised by the physiotherapists (which we students participated in working out the BMI). I also spent a morning at a special needs school which was a great experience and where I saw bolus feeding being carried out."
Lisa, UG student, RGU
"I am so glad that Placement A was split between 2 weeks on campus and 2 weeks in hospital as I really appreciated the chance to interact with the other students on campus for the learning outcomes that did not require a hospital setting. The chance for large, group discussions was particularly important as I was on my own on placement and I think that I would have felt quite isolated and found it difficult to cope with 4 weeks on my own in the hospital setting.
I thoroughly enjoyed my days on the wards chatting to as many patients as possible and the experience of being part of a very busy dietetic team of 2. The one thing I found most useful was having a small note book that could fit in my lab-coat pocket that I used to jot down notes and questions and could review at the end of the day. By the end of my second week in the hospital I found that I had settled in quite happily and was sad to be leaving – so I am really looking forward to the challenge of Placement B."
Karen, UG student, QMU
"My placement was extremely worthwhile and a excellent learning experience. It was a great introduction to the area of community dietetics; getting an opportunity to work with adults with various conditions and some with multiple learning disabilities e.g. Prader-Willi Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy where I gained knowledge about dysphagia and tube feeding. The placement contained a multidisciplinary team so I spent time with a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and a speech and language therapist. This was excellent, and showed me the importance of team work and communication. My catering experience was in a National School, which was good. As it was only my first placement, I mostly shadowed the dietitian, but did get to actively participate in clinics held. We also had a health promotion day which I thought was the best experience ever! I, and the other two dietetic students, spoke about the importance of fruit and vegetables and held a ‘fun activity day’ introducing everyone to new types of fruit and vegetables. It was lovely to see everyone so interested. All in all, my placement was a great experience and definitely helped to decide that this is the right career for me!”
Aoife, UG student, RGU
"The two weeks in University first gave me more confidence and support before the hopsital placement. Many of the written tasks were completed in the first two weeks so I got to spend more time with the dietitians during their clinics, ward rounds and home visits."
Sara, UG student, RGU
""Will I get on ok with the patients and staff? Will I remember to follow all the guidelines? What if they ask me something I don't know?" These were just some of the concerns I had going into my first placement, and I know I wasn't alone. I hold my hand up and admit that, at times, I wondered how the theory studied on campus would help me deal with real people and real situations. It was only when I was actually in the hospital setting that I realised how necessary and important it had been. Whilst with patients, I was more aware of confidentiality, respect for their dignity and beliefs, the importance of good record keeping and knowing my limits. I also had the opportunity to see the meals that were provided on the low budgets we had discussed. I was privileged to have the opportunity to observe both in-patient and out-patient clinics from various departments including oncology, neurology, cystic fibrosis and diabetes. In each of the departments, the dietitians took time out from what was obviously a busy schedule to
explain to me what they were doing, and why, which helped me immensely. After the 4 weeks I came away with a renewed enthusiasm for the profession, my concerns had gone and I was optimistic about future placements."
Sharon, UG student, QMU
"I had a community placement and was a bit apprehensive about it before I went. However, I got a real insight into the various areas of dietetics and out patient clinics and how working as part of a multi-disciplinary team is very important in the community field."
Mairead, UG student, RGU
"My Placement B was an enjoyable and extremely interesting experience where I constantly faced new challenges as well as experiencing three months as a Dietitian. I was given the opportunity to spend six weeks in primary care and six weeks in the acute setting. This allowed me to develop the skills required for dealing with various different situations that arose on a daily basis. Everyone I met helped and encouraged me and made me feel at ease and comfortable in the various situations in which I was working. The Dietetic Department and other Allied Health Professionals worked as a multidisciplinary team and supported one another. I learnt so much from their work ethos. Everyday was different. This was exciting and allowed me to expand on the theoretical work learnt in University and put all this into practical application. The satisfaction attained from helping patients and building up a rapport with them reminded me of why I chose to do Dietetics and how important the role is of a Dietitian.
Advice for anyone about to go out on placement is to approach it as a time for developing skills and to make the most of every opportunity that arises. I made many friends during this time and learnt so much from them. Under their guidance I learnt how to ensure patients can have the best level of care.
All the best and enjoy!"
Jennifer, UG student, QMU
"My B placement was hard work, but I found it very rewarding and learned a lot from it"
Nicola, UG student, RGU
"I absolutely loved my B placement and learnt so much from it. It was an excellent opportunity to put all the theory gleaned at university into practice. My placement was split between community and hospital settings which, although require similar skills, proved to be two very different 'jobs'. All the dietitians I worked with were very encouraging and supportive; I was surprised at how much responsibility (although always supervised) I was given at a very early stage of my placement.
As well as working with a variety of client groups and clinical conditions in different settings, I was given the opportunity to organise and run a health promotion day, give several group presentations, watch a PEG being placed and work with other Allied Health Professionals. These included: speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and the Stoma Sister.
At the end of my 12 weeks I was actually sad to be finishing!"
Sue, UG Student, QMU
"My B placement was great as I had experience in both acute and community settings. It was daunting at first putting all the theory into practice, but I was surprised how quickly I learned from the dietitians, who were all really supportive. Placement offers a great opportunity to see the scope of work for dietitians and how you can help such a wide range of patients. It also makes you feel more confident as you can see yourself improve over time as you get the opportunities to do so many different things. I enjoyed it and by the end of the 12 weeks I was really sad to leave!"
Emma, UG Student, RGU
Throughout the 12 weeks I had exposure in many general and specialised areas of dietetics. These included multi cultures, diabetes, lipid lowering, coeliac disease, crohns disease, weight management, nutritional support, oncology, HIV, gastro, and liver. Experience was gained from all different setting including OPC, acute, community and home visits.
Assessment was through the use of 4 assessment tools that contributed towards the learning outcomes. Different tasks had to be completed to achieve the learning outcomes. This included seeing patients in different settings, demonstrating that all the necessary information had been gathered and the correct intervention had been implemented with appropriate justifications. Project work included presenting a journal club to the renal dietitians, displaying a healthy eating display & weight management at the trust annual PCT meeting and presenting a session to a paediatric obesity group.
Overall placement C was enjoyable and I learned vast amounts especially relating to the diet of different cultures. The department was certainly a fast moving, competitive environment, and high standards were expected in all areas of dietetic practice.
Ruth, UG student, RGU
Placement C provided me with ample opportunities to consolidate and develop knowledge and skills gained during university and previous placements. Regular assessment feedback, workbooks and project work has enabled me to expand my familiarity with all areas. Throughout my 12 weeks I had experience with a wide range of clinical conditions and settings including; diabetes, IBD, IBS, weight management, lactose intolerance, coeliac disease, care of the elderly, renal, respiratory, general medical, surgical, orthopaedics, ICU and stroke, which I really enjoyed. Expectations are higher, time management skills and using your initiative are vital in order to get the most out of your placement. The dietetic teams were all really helpful and friendly. I loved having more independence with patients and felt part of the teams from day one.
Heather, UG student, QMU
My C placement was fantastic, as I saw community dietetics for the first time, and discovered that it wasn't as bad as I thought! C is very different from B, as they expect a lot more from you, but the dietitians help a lot, and make sure that you are constantly learning and improving your skills. C placement helps you to put the knowledge gained from University into practice with the skills learned on B placement, and teaches you so much more about dietetics and yourself. I feel that my C placement has set me up to be a dietitian, and didn't want to finish!
Jenny, UG student, RGU
I really enjoyed my C placement. I found it a lot more challenging than my B because there were more complex patients such as type 1 diabetes, renal and enteral feeding. I was expected to take more responsibility for my portfolio than in my B placement but I think this has prepared me more for working as a dietitian. My placement made me feel very much a part of the team and treated me more like a colleague than a student. Having completed my C placement I now feel I am prepared to work as a dietitian.
Nicola, UG student, RGU