If you’re nearing the end of nursing school, you probably have more than a few practicum hours to complete. Enter: clinical experiences. While ‘clinical experiences’ is a term usually applied to medical school, clinical experience is essential to the development of all training nurses and can often contribute to practicum hours.
Clinical experiences used for practicum hours have many benefits aside from giving you opportunity assist with real medical cases and develop patient interaction skills. In this post we explore five other reasons to rotate, which you may not have considered yet.
Meet a mentor
Most nursing schools offer the opportunity to gain practicum hours either on site or with partnered hospitals. If this applies to you, such an offer may be tempting. While these in-house clinical experiences may have attractive price points and are situated safely in your comfort zone, they offer little opportunity to broaden your perspective on medicine.
Selecting a clinical experience outside of your school network will introduce you to new mentors and even fellow-trainees each of whom can contribute to your industry knowledge. The preceptor and nurses at the hospital or clinic where you rotate have the same goal: they want to help you expand your medical knowledge and care for patients. As such, they’ll be interested in what you hope to get out of the experience and will be eager to help you move forward in any direction you choose. While there will be some overlap between what you learn in school and what these professionals share, there’s bound to be new information as well.
In addition to receiving expert instruction, you may brush shoulders with other rising nurses. While you and those you rotate with have similar career goals and interests, you may be at very different stages of your education. You may rotate with someone closer to graduation who can share their achievements and regrets—both of which can motivate you as you get closer to that point in your own education.
In addition to working alongside highly talented professionals and rising nurses, you’ll probably see new cases and patient populations. This will be true especially if you rotate with AMOpportunities as they offer clinical experiences at 250+ locations across the U.S.
Transition from nursing student to nursing professional
While the activities that take place during clinical experiences are closely monitored by preceptors — the physicians hosting the clinical experience — these experiences provide you the opportunity to assist in case management and patient care to a greater extent than those that occur during nursing school.
You will be expected to take patient histories, make physical exams, provide case management suggestions, and participate in other specialty specific tasks. While your preceptor will provide in-depth instruction and tips on how to go about each of the above, as your clinical experiences comes to a close, you should become more comfortable with them and gain the confidence necessary to carry out each task on your own, as will be required when entering the professional field.
Nursing clinical experiences are where the training wheels come off and you go from nursing student to nearly-nurse!
Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Participating in a nursing clinical experience, like those offered through AMOpportunities, can be a catalyst for an adventurous career complete with fulfilling life-long learning. While some states require nurses to complete continuing education (CE) credits throughout their career, some do not. Nurses working in states that do not require CE may be quick to dispose of their notes, textbooks, and highlighters. If this applies to the state you’re planning to work in, take caution. As medical and technological improvements develop overtime, you’ll need up-to-date-skills and knowledge to continue providing great care that meets patient outcomes.
In addition to impacting patient care, failing to further develop skills, connect with professionals outside of everyday co-workers, and learn about the latest industry-specific developments may make your career stagnant. You may find it hard difficult apply for new roles and may not receive referrals for any. Opening yourself up to outside-of-the-box learning experiences could make you more comfortable with attending conferences, completing courses or pursuing a higher degree in the future. Clinical experiences can help define you as a life-long learner and motivated nurse.
While the predicted nursing shortage may help you get a job after graduation, networking should still be top of mind. Why? First off, before many jobs are posted online, management shares the posting with employees and asks them for referrals. If your preceptor or other staff at your rotation site are impressed by your skills and knowledge this could happen to you in the future.
The second reason why it’s important to network with other nurses and physicians is because many jobs require references. While not every employer who asks for references will contact them, about 80% do. If, during your rotation, you build a strong relationship with your preceptor and site staff, you may feel comfortable asking them to serve as a reference when you apply for your first, second, or any number of jobs in the future. Depending on the job you apply for, the letter of recommendation you earn during your clinical experience could also be an important document to vouch for your character, skills, and knowledge.
Ready to take advantage of the above benefits? Apply for a nursing clinical experience today!