Clinical placement can be described as an experiential education opportunity which has to be undertaken as part of a health professional’s course of study. There are various programs where clinical placements are undertaken which include Nursing, EMT, Physical Therapy Assistant, Child Life, Medical Laboratory Science, Medical Imaging Technology, Speech Language Pathology, Pharmacy, Psychology and much more. Clinical placements are designed to enhance the skills and experience of students in a wide range of settings. Nursing and allied health professions are practical in every sense. As such, clinical placement is an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum. Nursing education can be regarded as beneficial to students depending on the quality of the clinical experience. Rotation Manager offers the most reliable software that helps make simple the process of clinical placement. With effective clinical placements, medical students put the theoretical parts of the learning process to practice. These experiences are very important and are considered a must for every nursing student looking to enter the workforce as a reliable, professional practitioner. This is usually considered a head start for every student who wants to start a successful career.
Why are clinical placements important?
One of the major reasons why clinical placements are an integral part for nursing and allied health students is that it helps them observe highly experienced professionals while at the same time developing their skills and problem solving abilities. With the experience garnered, they can easily adapt to clinical environment and handle all kinds of responsibilities without much ado. Clinical placement offer these students the chance to integrate the theoretical teaching provided by educational institutions. Some of the reasons why clinical placements are important include:
- Clinical placements can help fulfill the experience, skills and quality of students learning outcomes
- They can help students make the right career decisions. Clinical placements helps student learn more and gain experience on a field that particularly interest them.
- Offers students the chance to learn different kinds of skills that will be help build their career path in nursing. Placements require students to undergo physical examinations, take patient vitals and improve on nursing-patient communication.
- They can help students become more professional
- Students also have the chance to participate in clinical audits and instil knowledge about healthcare practices on junior students based on what they’ve learned.
- Clinical placement also offers student the opportunity to meet with senior colleagues, consultants and other medical staff and ask questions you’ve been finding reliable answers to. This gives you more insight about their roles and functions while getting you fully prepared for the future.
Factors that may influence clinical placement quality
One of the factors that may influence the quality of a clinical placement is the relationship between medical staff and nursing students. Professional nurses attending to students should be welcoming, friendly and ready to lend a helping hand anytime, any day. A good relationship between the staff and students will go a long way in creating a positive and conducive learning environment. In order to achieve the best learning outcome, it is of great importance that the staff’s attitude towards nursing students has to be friendly and stay positive for most times. Most nursing students see medical staffs as professional role models. The attitude and behavior of nursing staff towards students on clinical placements can influence their work culture negatively or positively.
The professional orientation delivered by the staff tends to greatly influence the learning process. When nursing students are given less attention and not treated with utmost respect, the ability to assimilate and further practice the theoretical aspects of their teachings from their various educational institution will be diminished. Some of the end results of poor treatment of nursing students include staff retrenchment, lack of teaching skills, increased workload and staff feeling threatened by nursing students.
Clinical placement is one of the great ways through which an educational institution ensures students participate in essential activities to further enhance their learning process. Nursing staff plays a significant role at ensuring the learning needs of the students are adequately met. Some of the characteristics of a good clinical teacher include encouraging, friendly, resourceful, supportive, understanding, positive, confident and much more.
Nursing students will, at a point in time, undertake a range of clinical placements under the supervision of an approved health institution including private hospitals and clinics’ teaching hospitals, health center, rehab centers, and many more. There are several ways through which nursing students can gain more experience and become more skilful about a particular field in their profession. These include
- Consultant ward rounds- are where students observe consultant-patients relationship and learn from their communication skills as well as their examination techniques.
- By attending ward rounds with medical staff, nursing staff will be well acquainted with the daily activities of working in a health institution.
- Attend operating theatres to know how surgical and general anesthetic procedures are done.
- Visit outpatients clinics with medical staff
How to get the most from clinical placements
If you are planning to take part in clinical rotations, here are some helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of them:
- After completing each rotation, you should be able to differentiating between those topics which you find interesting and those that weren’t. For instance, meeting with people from various disciplines, work environments, work pace, work life balance and so much more.
- Most of these places such as the operating room, and ward rounds may seem new to you and sometimes intimidating and disgusting. It is however normal to feel a bit anxious about some clinical placements.
- Write down all of your experiences including the pleasant and unpleasant ones. By so doing you can refer back especially when indecisive about the career path to follow. Some online software such as Rotation Manager, offers clinical journal features allowing you to share these experiences with your instructors and clinical coordinators.
- It is also very pertinent to be proactive during clinical placement. Make sure you ask questions and meet with other students to know if they’ve discovered something more useful and interesting.