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10 Unspoken Rules for your First Day of the Hospital Work Experience

Written by Czech Hospital Placements on Sunday, May 8, 2016

Hospital Work Experience Placement Preparation

Are you going to observe or follow the professionals in a clinical area for the first time? That´s awesome! As the hospital is actually a very demanding environment where everyone needs to follow specific rules – both formal and informal, you should be thoroughly prepared for it. Let´s go through the 10 tips to help you find your bearings easily on your first placement or day working in the hospital. Then, you can present yourself in the best of light straight from the start of your amazing hospital experience.

 1. Patient‘s and staff’s safety are the priorities

Since the healthcare purpose is to protect and save the patient´s health and life, you should acknowledge that the doctor you shadow or follow directly is primarily focused on the patient. The doctors and nurses have a high responsibility for their patients and it is necessary to let them smoothly do their job. Of course, your education or career start is very important, but the patient comes first. When the hospital staff members concentrate on the case only, don´t take it personally – it´s nothing against you.  

2. Follow what the hospital staff tells you

Always ask the doctor for permission before entering the room. Don’t just assume you are allowed to come into the patient’s ward or the operating room. The same rule is applied when you want to talk to patient - always check with the doctor or nurse if it is ok ahead. If you are asked to leave the room, do so quietly without taking offense. You may be explained later that patient did not feel comfortable with the presence of so many people for instance.

3. Control the way you communicate

Be sensitive and thoughtful to patients. Avoid chatting about not case-related topics with other students in front of them. Take it from the other side and imagine yourself as the patient treated by the mentoring doctor. He or she describes to the student your case and the student suddenly looks at you shocked or surprised. Very unethical. The patients must always feel confident that they are getting the proper quality care by the team of focused, attentive, and serious professionals. Certainly, quiet speaking voices are a must for the whole time while in the hospital.

4. Study first, then take the most from shadowing 

Know perfectly your department specialty ahead of time. It is priceless for your education to understand what the professionals are talking about. That is why we provide you with exclusive study materials giving you an important specialty overview. When you shadow at hematology and ask the doctor “how many blood types do we have,” it is probably not the best way to succeed.

5. Give a good start to your relationships

Being late is an easy way to make a bad impression. Get up early in the morning to be at your placement according to the schedule. Learn as much as you can about the hospital and your mentoring team. You are then able to ask more personal questions – and you will be surprised by the hospital members´ reaction. People always look at you differently when you show an honest interest in what they do. 

6. Clothes make the man

Did you know it takes only seven seconds for someone to form a first impression? And the main part is how you look and how you act. Believe it or not, people do care whether you wear clean and unwrinkled clothes. Guys should have their beard groomed and girls should wear minimal makeup, no jewelry or nail-polish. We recommend to take with deodorant to refresh yourself during the day. Less is more, spicy perfume makes you certainly charming, but the patients may not appreciate it.

7. There is no I in team

Can you imagine the busy surgeon mopping the floor after the surgery, repairing the X-ray machine before diagnosing the patient’s broken rib or washing and ironing his lab coat after the shift? Some professions such as technicians or cleaning ladies tend to be forgotten by the public. Truth is that without them the hospital could hardly function.  Everyone in the hospital is an irreplaceable member of the large team effort. And you will be nicely surprised at how people will treat you when you are polite and give a smile and hello to them.

8. Start your day with a good breakfast

However weird it may sound like, one of the most important things to do before you go to the operating room is to have a big breakfast. One apple is really not enough. Have some toast with cheese, sausages, and a glass of fruit juice to give your body energy for the whole morning. You might be standing in the operating room for hours in the stale air. Combined with your empty stomach, it is a pretty good chance for fainting. That might endanger you, the staff, and most importantly the patient. So fill yourself up in the morning.

9. Feeling sick – stay home unconditionally

If you are not feeling well in the morning, you are not allowed to come to the hospital, even if you are just coughing. Respect that there are patients in such conditions that your common flu might endanger their life. In case you get sick during your placement, notify the doctor right away.

10. Have a good night’s sleep

Many students underrate this point, but actually it is very important to sleep at least 8 hours at night. Standing in the operating room for a long time is demanding and extremely tiring. You want to show that you take the job seriously - so to avoid yawning while with the doctor every other minute, go to bed early the night before. Honestly, you will enjoy the next day much more.

Ready to start your experience in the live clinical environment right now? We offer a limited number of placements in the top healthcare facility in Prague. Prepare to observe surgeries and clinical procedures under the mentorship of the best. The Czech Hospital Placements Program provides our students with an exclusive guide describing all what´s necessary for a hospital newbie. If you are going to follow the professionals in your country, prepare in the way we recommend to stand out among others. We wish you good luck and strong motivation to reach your dream to become a healthcare professional. APPLY NOW


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