Eight benefits of clinical placements for nursing students

Clinical placements bridge the gap between knowledge and real-world application for nursing students. These placements offer students hands-on experience that hones their skills and prepares them for the multifaceted challenges in healthcare. From interacting with professionals to handling real-life situations, clinical placements encompass several aspects of learning designed to fuel professional growth.

Marymount University provides an MSN FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) program that combines flexible online learning with on-site clinical placements for nursing students aspiring to broaden their career prospects and enhance their expertise. This way, students can receive comprehensive theory and practical application education.

This FNP online program with clinical placement offered by Marymount University is specifically designed for BSN-prepared nurses, allowing them to balance their studies alongside their commitments. This article will discuss eight other benefits of clinical placements and the hands-on experience it offers to nursing students.

Eight benefits of clinical placements for nursing students

Every nursing student will pass through some form of clinical placement on their journey to be certified nurses, and you’ll reach that stage sooner or later. However, clinical placements aren’t just a phase; they have numerous benefits for nurses, including those listed below.

Real-world experience

Clinical placements help you transform your theoretical knowledge into practical skills. You’ve learned most of what you know from textbooks, lectures, and school practice. Placements turn your knowledge into a real-world form and help you develop essential competencies to serve you throughout your nursing career.

One of the most significant aspects of clinical placements is your ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life scenarios. During your training, you’ll understand how abstract concepts translate into concrete actions in patient care. You’ll also connect the dots between what you learned in the classroom and what happens in the healthcare environment by observing and participating in diagnoses, treatment, and care processes.

Besides being able to administer medication and perform medical assessments, you’ll also learn how to exercise professional judgment. What does this mean? Clinical placements train nurses on how to make decisions based on evidence-based practices— you’ll decide on a care process because there’s evidence of its success backing up your decision. It’ll also teach you to consider the unique needs and preferences of each patient you care for.

Nurses will also experience collaboration in healthcare, as they’ll work with various professionals in real healthcare settings. Ultimately, you’ll become familiar with the profession’s workload, stressors, and joys. This way, you can gain insights into responsibility, accountability, and the ethical standards that guide nursing practice. Knowing and understanding all this prepares you to enter your nursing career as an efficient and knowledgeable professional.

Professional networking

Nurses undergoing clinical placements are usually given the opportunity to work with experienced healthcare professionals. Interacting with experienced professionals in the field doesn’t just teach you the technical aspects of the job. It also helps you form relationships that can guide you throughout your career. Here’s what this means.

Imagine working with skilled nurses and doctors, watching them in action, and having the chance to ask them questions. These professionals were once in your shoes, and they understand the challenges you face. As seniors, they’ll offer their insights and guidance, which may not stop even after you leave your placements. You could ask them questions after you complete your placement, and their guidance can be invaluable throughout your education and early career.

Engaging with different team members in a healthcare organization also gives you a clearer understanding of team dynamics. You’ll learn how various roles contribute to patient care and how seamless collaboration is vital to successful patient care. You can implement these lessons in your professional life, helping you become a more effective and empathetic nurse.

However, professional networking doesn’t just happen. How do you take advantage of this opportunity? Be proactive. Don’t be shy. Ask questions and engage in conversations with those around you. Express genuine interest in their work, and don’t hesitate to ask for advice. This way, they know you’re focused and may be more willing to guide you.

You should also follow up. Follow up if a senior nurse or doctor offers you their contact information or a chance to meet again professionally. Building a working relationship with experienced healthcare providers takes effort, but it’s worth it.

Another way to achieve this is by reflecting and applying. Reflect on what you’ve learned after the completion of your placement. Then, decide how to use these lessons for your studies and future career. Once you do this, plan to integrate this new knowledge into your practice.

Remember, professional networking isn’t just about making connections for immediate gain. It’s about building lasting relationships that can support your growth as a professional nurse.

Understanding patient care

Empathy development is another profound lesson you’ll gain during clinical placements. Working directly with patients allows you to understand and share their feelings. You’ll learn to connect with patients on a human level by seeing beyond their symptoms and recognizing their unique needs and concerns.

Empathy isn’t just a mundane skill every nurse should have; it’s a quality that sets the tone for compassionate care in nursing. It’s a skill that can help you build trust with your patients, especially when they feel that you understand and care about them.

You’ll also learn to communicate with patients. Nurses interact with patients every day, whether they’re explaining a medical procedure to a 70-year-old patient or reassuring a teenager that their surgery won’t hurt. Hence, you must learn the art of active listening. Don’t just speak; understand what your patients feel and need. These communication skills can aid your nursing career, helping you understand and satisfy patients better.

Clinical placements teach you parts that textbooks don’t. You’ll witness firsthand patients’ fears, hopes, and struggles. You’ll also learn how to provide emotional support and encouragement, which helps you recognize that healthcare is about treating the whole person and not only the ailment. Understanding this will enrich your ability to offer care that resonates with your patients’ human experience, even long after you kickstart your nursing career.

Time management and multitasking skills

Nurses juggle many activities simultaneously, and you’ll most likely experience this during clinical placements. You’ll need to manage multiple patients, work on various tasks simultaneously, and possibly work under pressure. These activities are the daily realities in healthcare settings. Your time in clinical placements will help you build and refine the necessary skills needed to navigate this complex environment.

Consider what it takes to care for several patients, each with unique needs and treatment plans. Sound challenging? Clinical placements ease you into it. You’ll learn to prioritize tasks, balance demands, and make quick decisions during this period. In healthcare, time-sensitive decisions are the norm, and you’ll learn how to think on your feet. It’s not only about speed; it’s about making the right choices at the right time. Ultimately, time management is about knowing what needs to be done and finding the most effective way to do it.

Besides learning to manage your time, you’ll also learn to handle various responsibilities together, from monitoring patient vitals to coordinating care with other professionals. However, multitasking doesn’t mean doing everything at once – that can result in clumsiness and not getting any job done. It’s being able to manage multiple tasks within a time frame effectively and efficiently.

Your clinical placements are the perfect opportunity to build these essential skills. The hands-on experience and guidance from seasoned professionals will prepare you for the fast-paced and dynamic world of healthcare.

Adherence to regulations and protocols

Clinical placements allow nursing students to understand regulations that govern the medical field. In the healthcare industry, protocols guide everything from the simplest to the most complex procedures. Most of these procedures and regulations are applied in practice to protect patients. A practical example is the HIPAA of 1996. Your lessons in the clinical settings will accustom you to these protocols and guidelines. That way, you can be consistent and also become used to them.

Your placements will also immerse you in real-world ethical situations, offering insights into how seasoned professionals handle delicate scenarios. The ultimate goal of adhering to regulations and protocols is to ensure you give optimal quality of care to patients. It’s a healthcare culture that prioritizes patient well-being.

Adaptation to technology

Technology plays a crucial role in today’s healthcare. Healthcare organizations now use technical equipment, such as diagnostic tools and patient record systems, to treat patients. This means nurses must have technological competence to remain relevant in the industry. However, many nursing students may not have in-depth knowledge about these tools. This is where your clinical placement comes in.

It familiarizes you with various specialized equipment and technologies that’ll be part of your everyday working life. Your placement will also expose you to the application of these technologies. You’ll learn how electronic health record systems streamline patient care, how advanced imaging tools aid in diagnosis, and how technology supports treatment plans.

It will also teach you technological integration. Technology in healthcare integrates several tools to achieve a broader system of care. During your placement, you’ll learn how different technologies work together to enhance efficiency and patient outcomes. This automatically helps you leverage technology more effectively in your practice.

Knowing and being comfortable with these tools builds your confidence. This confidence means you won’t be intimidated by the machines and systems when you start your career because you’ll be ready to use them to their full potential.

Exposure to the latest tools and techniques helps you adapt to the ever-changing healthcare technology. All these will make you a versatile and valuable healthcare provider in your field.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Nursing students gain firsthand experience working with a diverse team of professionals during their clinical placements. An individual patient may have multiple needs that one professional won’t be able to solve alone. The patient may need a physiotherapist, pharmacist, social worker, and other specialists to utilize their expertise in the patient’s care plan. Now, as a nurse, you’ll need to work together with these professionals to make an integrated approach to the patient’s care.

Your time in your clinical placement will show you how this collaboration unfolds in real time. You’ll be included in meetings, discussions, and joint care efforts. You’ll also learn to appreciate the unique contributions of each team member and how to leverage their expertise to benefit your patients.

Understanding interdisciplinary relationships goes beyond knowing which professional performs what role. It’s about recognizing the value of different perspectives everyone brings to the table and finding ways to integrate them into patient care. This approach fosters a more comprehensive response to patient needs, which enhances patient outcomes.

How to hone specific teamwork skills

  • You should be open to feedback. You’ll be corrected often during your placement as you’ll work around experienced professionals. Appreciate these corrections and implement them to improve your skills.
  • Be willing to share your thoughts. Teamwork is a two-way street. Give ideas, ask questions, and pitch in whenever you can. You may be wrong, but the worst that could happen is getting corrected and learning something new.
  • Be active. You won’t learn anything from standing aside and doing nothing. Participate in team meetings and collaborative efforts. Your voice and viewpoints are valuable, so don’t hesitate to share them. These experiences will shape how you approach your professional relationships, equipping you with the understanding and skills to work effectively with others.

Exposure to specialized areas

Another vital benefit of going for a clinical placement is that you can learn from several specialized areas, whether the delicate care required in pediatrics, the complex challenges of oncology, or the profound connections made in mental health.

Consider your clinical placements a journey through the diverse healthcare landscape. You can experience numerous professionals performing their skills. The advantage of this is that you can learn from these professionals and can use that knowledge to improve your practice. It can also help you find a specialization that resonates with you, and you may create a career path successfully.

A ticket to quality patient care

Clinical nurse placements are an essential foundation for nursing students. It shapes them into competent and compassionate healthcare professionals and helps them to recognize shortcomings in the healthcare industry and, in turn, how to solve the obstacles they may face. Placements prepare nursing students for a successful career by providing real-world experiences and helping them hone their practical skills. For people considering a nursing career, researching university courses with clinical placements is an excellent place to start.

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