Keeping safe on placement
Looking after yourself on placement also involves attention to personal safety. This applies to clinical and non-clinical situations.
Some tips to consider:
- make an informal risk assessment for yourself considering issues such as transport, accommodation (including the availability of a phone and mobile coverage) and supervision before you go
- avoid walking around the town or community by yourself at night in unlit or isolated areas
- ask a local mentor if there are any places that should be avoided in the community for cultural or safety reasons
- ensure you have the appropriate driving skills if driving over unsealed roads and tell someone if you do not feel confident. Plan your travel to, from and around the community, identify fuel availability, weather and road warnings and always carry maps and water
- tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, even by an SMS to a friend, if leaving the community for sightseeing
- when beginning your placement, ask about safety procedures, personal alarms and local procedures in the case of an aggressive patient
- do not approach or confront an aggressive patient or community member, ensure your safety first and follow the advice of your supervisors
- avoid getting involved in personal disputes between community members
- observe local customs in terms of culturally appropriate dress
- lock your accommodation and car
- keep track of your valuables (i.e. wallet, ID, cash) – either keep them somewhere safe or with you.