Despite all the best planning and intentions, sometimes things can go wrong. You may not get along with your supervisor, your accommodation might not be what you expected, you may not be achieving what you wanted from your placement, you might be feeling lonely or missing home, friends and family. The good news is that these issues can usually be sorted out and a successful placement can still be achieved. The first thing to do is establish what is not going right and the reasons why.
Always try to talk out any problem with the local health team and supervisor. They may be able to rectify the situation or have ideas to overcome the issue. It may be a miscommunication, misunderstanding or different interpretation of an event that can be resolved by open and honest discussion. This is good practice for the real world when you graduate.
It is also good to speak with your university placement coordinator as they will know what options are available to you and will have suggestions for how to resolve the issue. They are also outside of the situation, so will be able to give you an external point of view.
Other students who are on placement with you, or who have had similar experiences in the past may also be able to offer advice. If you are unwell or unable to attend a day or more of your placement, it is important to inform your supervisor as soon as you can. It may also be necessary to inform your university too.
If you are feeling lonely or things are not going well personally, then contacting family or friends might help. Other support services include your university support/counselling service or national support lines where people are there to listen and help you work through solutions.
Contact numbers and websites for useful placement help and support services are listed in this guide. You can also find very useful contacts and information in the NRHSN’s mental health guide ‘When the Cowpat Hits the Windmill’ which you can find at www.nrhsn.org.au.