Critical care

Theatre and recovery 

These placements normally allow you to experience both environments emphasis will be focused on surgical interventions and post-surgery protocols. There should be ample opportunity to observe surgery, with local, spinal and general anaesthesia. Pain and nausea control are priorities in the recovery setting and of course patients come for surgery with varying levels of fitness, so existing conditions need consideration making assessment the major skill in this setting. 


Skills that can developed in this placement setting include:

  • Knowledge of the anatomy
  • Use of anaesthesia and pain control
  • Vital sign assessment
  • Use of various monitoring tools such as ABCDE
  • Post-operative recovery assessment and monitoring
  • Interprofessional communication


Emergency care 

Such as emergency department paediatric specific and combined adult and paediatric departments.

A placement in an emergency area, other areas involves priority treatment for possible life threatening illness / injury, although you will observe the staff dealing with emergencies daily, this setting is also where you can enhance observation and assessment skills. Using the tools available to assess a patient’s status and then the handing over of that information in an appropriate manner to other health care professionals.

All emergency departments in the south west peninsula have paediatric specialist nurses working within them, you should be assigned a paediatric nurse for the duration of your placement. Please expect to have exposure to children, young people and adults. 

Skills that can developed in this placement setting include:

  • Triage and assessment
  • ABCDE assessment tools 
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • History taking
  • Vital signs, pain assessment and monitoring of patients conditions
  • Communication 
  • SBAR systematic handover
  • Wound closure, sling application, dressings and splints
  • ECG recording
  • Basic and advanced life support processes

Conditions you are likely to experience include:
  • Head injury, 
  • Trauma and paediatric emergencies
  • Minor injuries including wounds and orthopaedic injuries
  • Child protection and domestic violence
  • Drug and substance misuse
  • Mental ill-health


Critical care placement

Placement opportunities including: Children’s High Dependency (HDU), Emergency Department, Children’s Theatres, Neonatal-Intensive Care (NICU).

Critical and emergency care placements include the assessment and management of the critically ill neonate or child requiring acute or emergency care. Patients within these environments will require more comprehensive care and constant monitoring than would be available on a ward. Assessment skills are paramount in this setting and learning will be enhanced of all assessment tools and frameworks to augment clinical decision-making.

Skills that can developed in this placement setting include:

  • Vital signs
  • ABCDE assessment
  • Recognition of the seriously ill child
  • Care of the neonate
  • Understanding of Advanced Paediatric Life Support relevant pathways
  • Documentation of relevant pathways (i.e. sepsis / pain / fluid balance)
  • MDT communication and interprofessional working 
  • SBAR / handover to other staff