Hi everyone! My name is Georgia and I am a third year Dietetics student currently on my B placement. I thought I would give an overview of what you can expect from your B placement on the Dietetics course – I hope you find it helpful!
How are placements allocated?
At the beginning of my third year, at around September time, we are all given forms to fill out which we can fill in our Trust preferences. So you don’t really choose your preferences based on location as you could be placed anywhere within a Trust. For example, I received my 2nd choice which was Tees, Esk and Wear Trust. I chose this trust as it is a Mental Health Trust, which was something I was super interested in! So I was excited to get started.
Where was I based?
A few months after receiving our Trust allocations, we were contacted by our placement supervisors to let us know where we would be based. I was allocated Roseberry Park in Middlesbrough (which is a forensic unit) and community eating disorders (so I was based in different areas around Teeside).
How did I feel about my allocations?
At first, when I realised that I was going to a forensic unit where people had committed crimes, I was nervous but also excited. I had no idea what a forensic Dietitian did or what the job would entail. I decided that it would probably be best for me to move to Middlesbrough so that I didn’t have to travel everyday. In hindsight I probably should have visited Middlesbrough before choosing my accommodation, however at least I can pass on this wisdom to the later years! So just to reiterate – please check out the accommodation that you are going to book in person before you book it!!
My experience in the Forensic Unit (Secure Inpatient Services)
As previously mentioned, I was so nervous to go but also so excited to see what it would be like. From the first day that I arrived, the staff were so friendly and made me feel at home within an hour. This was a really promising start and made me so relieved. I was nervous to meet the patients as I had never had any experience with people in prisons or secure units, however to my surprise everyone was so nice to me! We even had a Medieval fun day, which included games, a banquet and craft stalls. It was super fun and I would go back in a heartbeat! So the main takeaway from this experience is to never judge something before you try it – I could definitely imagine myself working in this sector in the future.
My experience in eating disorders
This was completely different to my previous placement in secure inpatient services (SIS). In SIS, the majority of the patients were overweight, some of who had BMIs over 40. Going from that to seeing patients with a BMI of 13 was a very dramatic change and took some getting used to. Again as this was predominantly community, it was very different again as I was hardly seeing the same patients twice. This made it slightly harder to build up the same kind of relationships with patients, but I think this will be the case no matter which sector you are in. All patients are different and that is all part of the learning experience! I think this is another benefit of having 2 different 6 week placements instead of one 12 week placement in one area.
What are my top tips for students starting placement?
I could go on and on about different tips I would give to students starting placement, so I will try and keep it quick. First, as previously mentioned I would definitely say don’t judge a sector before you try it. I had no idea what to expect from forensics and now I love it. Also, and I will say it again, check out the area that you are moving to before you move there! Placement can be hard so it is important to make sure you have a nice supportive environment for when you get home. Finally, make sure you get enough sleep because I won’t sugar coat it, placement is exhausting! You are constantly learning and meeting new people so making sure you prepare the best you can for the day will make all the difference.
So good luck with placements, and remember to not be so hard on yourself. The whole point of placement is to learn so don’t worry if you make mistakes. That is the reason you are there! Most importantly enjoy it and take on every opportunity you can.
If you are interested in studying Dietetics at Newcastle University make sure to check out this page: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/degrees/b401/