Clinicals form the crux of your nursing program since it allows you to hone and practice healthcare skills while exploring different specialty options.
Besides gaining expertise, clinical support networking, and hands-on experience using state-of-the-art medical facilities.
Typically, clinicals are done within healthcare facilities, allowing you to learn from medical practitioners with vast healthcare knowledge. Guess you have several questions about clinicals.
From what it entails to where Northeastern’s clinicals are held, here’s what you need to know.
How Do Nursing Clinicals Work?
Clinical rotations are a vital learning component of nursing school, equipping students for their future nursing careers. Typically, nursing students work with a preceptor or clinical instructor to administer patient care.
This instructor acts as an intermediary between your school and hospital, asking any question you’ve got and grading you based on your performance and effort.
Depending on the school and program, you must complete several hours across specialty areas like pediatrics, intensive care, maternity care, etc.
At the early stage of your clinicals, you may perform basic tasks like charting, changing bed linens, etc. Over time, you would take up complex clinical roles during the program.
Clinical Placements: Preparing You for Your Nursing Career
Besides honing your nursing skills and gaining real-world patient care experience, clinical rotations prepare you for the nursing profession in the following ways:
Since clinicals are for a specific duration, you can maximize the time to build connections and network with experts during the program.
If you plan to pursue a career in nursing, you should prioritize networking, as this can play a crucial role in job placement in the future. Build good relationships with the nurses, administrative staff, and others.
Apply nursing skills in patient care.
Before clinicals, you’ve learned some nursing techniques from coursework and simulation labs.
To be a registered nurse, you must undergo clinical rotations for well-grounded nursing and patient care knowledge.
Nursing students develop soft skills like communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and compassion in their clinicals.
In addition, the nursing profession entails you communicating with patients and their families daily. Thus, you build communication skills.
Exhibit caring behaviors and ethical approach in patient care
Besides physicians, nurses are the frontline of healthcare. They observe the patient’s health and report to the physician.
During clinicals, nursing students learn ethical perspectives about healthcare and develop confidence while forming connections with healthcare professionals.
What Nursing Students Do in Clinicals
While clinical rotation shifts differ, here’s what it encompasses and what you should expect during the program.
First, you’ll need to meet with your clinical instructor and other team members to set goals for the day.
Based on the learning phase, you may be delegated to insert an IV or catheter in a patient’s arm while under the supervision of a professional nurse.
Furthermore, during the clinicals, you may be asked to take patients’ vitals, observe patients after drug administration, etc. At the end of the shift, you may need to debrief your clinical instructor on patient care and how you handle certain situations.
Though this process may seem strenuous initially, you’ll get acquainted with the program after many repetitions, practice, and guidance.
Expect a lot and see each challenge you face as a learning sphere. While clinicals are real-world experiences, be ready to experience all patient situations.
How to Make the Most of Your Clinical Rotations
Your first clinical rotation can be exciting and stressful. Clinical rotations may seem overwhelming since this is your first time putting what you’ve learned into practice.
Below are tips to help you maximize the program.
Since this is a real-life experience, you must prepare your mind for whatever comes your way. Take notes down as you observe ward rounds.
Gather data and information about the unit you’ll be working in, common illnesses associated with the patients, diagnoses, and medications.
As a student nurse, you’ll work with a unit. Ensure you’re actively involved in the clinical procedures. Ask questions from your instructors. Volunteer more. This helps gain a broad knowledge of healthcare. Attend conferences also. This sharpens clinical expertise and enables you to grow professionally.
Know your strengths and weaknesses.
During your clinical, you get to discover your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll learn skills to build and those to pay more attention to. Set a timeframe to develop these skills.
Also, seek help from your instructors and preceptor when confused.
Be enthusiastic about your rotation.
Being enthusiastic about clinicals boosts learning, interest, and engagement with patients, families, and colleagues. Enthusiasm enables you to devote so much time to your clinicals.
Ensure you develop a keen interest in the program.
Punctuality is key
Take your clinical rotations like your job. Show up early.
This helps you stay organized, giving you ample time to review notes and perform patient charting. As a nursing student, you need to imbibe punctuality.
To excel in clinical settings, you need to be professional. Act like you’re in the workforce. Dress appropriately and show up every day for rounds.
Where Are Northeastern Clinicals Held?
Typically, Northeastern clinicals occur in various healthcare facilities in and around Boston and Charlotte.
Nursing students can undertake clinical rotations in teaching hospitals, community health centers, and outpatient settings.
Will I have patients to tend to?
At the start of your clinicals, no. You may be designated patients at the end of the program. Also, you will be posted to a unit and placed under the supervision of a nurse.
By this period, you may have to spend about 180 hours in the unit handling a small patient load while mentored by a staff nurse.
Now you have a vivid knowledge of clinicals and how they work and prepare you for your nursing career.
In addition, you’ve learned about the roles of nursing students in clinicals, how to maximize clinical rotations, and where Northeastern clinicals are held.