Clinical placements involve student nurses working with patients in medical facilities and observing nurses, doctors or other healthcare professionals performing their tasks and responsibilities. Through this process, they develop the skills needed to practice as a professional nurse.
The clinical placement provides you with hands-on experience and the opportunity to develop new skills outside the scope of your theoretical studies to enhance your career prospects upon graduation.
Clinical placement strengthens a student nurse’s development and helps instill professional values to help students make better decisions about how best to care for patients.
What is a clinical placement in nursing?
Clinical experience refers to the supervised practice in patient care that a nursing student receives in a healthcare facility. It is an essential component of every nursing program, providing opportunities for student nurses to develop the knowledge and clinical skills they need to be competent, confident professionals upon graduation.
In addition to nursing students gaining clinical experience, students should also consider enrolling in a DNP FNP course to support the advancement of their nursing careers. This online nursing course instills diverse knowledge on caring for patients and prepares you to be an innovative family nurse practitioner in the health sector.
Why is clinical experience important in nursing?
Clinical experience provides direct, hands-on experience in patient care. It enables nurses to apply their knowledge and develop skills in a realistic environment. This experience is a critical transition between information learned in the classroom and the complex nature of working as a nurse.
Clinical experience gives nurses exposure to common health-related problems. It provides them with exposure to the possible causes, benefits, risks and side effects of drugs they may have learned about during their studies. Let’s look at the importance of clinical experience in nursing.
Honing hands-on nursing skills
Employment as a nurse is physically and emotionally demanding. Clinical experience helps students develop the personal skills and emotional resilience needed to conquer these challenges.
In clinical practice, nurses encounter different situations that enable them to learn how to take on new responsibilities and develop their professional skills. The experience allows nursing students to become familiar with a variety of healthcare software. It teaches multiple procedures, including how to care for patients and how to communicate effectively.
Clinical experience allows students to observe and learn from their peers, professors and experienced nurses.
Exposure to a variety of practice areas
Clinical experience helps students get a sense of where their interests lie. They can observe different practice areas and work with those who share similar goals, ultimately choosing which role best suits them.
These many opportunities give nurses more choices about where they work and provide them with a broader range of experiences that can benefit their careers in the long term. It also allows nurses to explore different healthcare settings and step into the shoes of other nurses within each environment.
Clinical experience also helps students prepare for specific roles in health care. Clinical placements allow student nurses to learn techniques from skilled professionals who support them in identifying potential career specialization paths.
Developing soft skills
Soft skills are personal attributes that improve the quality of communication and interpersonal relationships among staff. Soft skills enable nurses to work well with colleagues and manage their own emotions.
They include being a good communicator, maintaining confidentiality, relating effectively to patients and their families and identifying ethical issues in practice.
Clinical experience provides opportunities for students to learn how to deal with stressful situations professionally. It also provides these skills so students can confidently transition into the workplace. These skills help nurses to manage stress, encourage teamwork and communicate effectively with patients from different cultures.
Clinical experience develops these soft skills through role-play, group discussions, skill-building, observation experiences and clinical interactions. Students learn to understand the needs of their clients and how to respond appropriately.
For example, nurses encounter patients who are dissatisfied with the services they receive. Nurses need to empathize with these patients’ frustrations and address their concerns in a way that helps them feel better about their procedures.
Networking for the future
Clinical experience creates and promotes professional networking opportunities, which help students develop a network that can support their growth and advancement in the field. Many professional organizations hold events for nurses to meet one another, share ideas and build professional relationships that can help them advance in their careers.
Professional associations also provide a wealth of information on nursing programs and clinical settings that can be valuable resources for students preparing to transition into a new specialty. These associations provide an excellent opportunity to network with people who can help you secure employment after graduation.
It also provides opportunities for students to develop networking and collaboration skills that help them work effectively with colleagues. They provide the opportunity to build skills needed for a competitive nursing marketplace, such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills, good communication skills and decision-making.
Getting to meet fascinating patients
Knowing your patients and hearing their tales is a privilege for a student nurse. Nursing clinics will provide you with the opportunity to interact closely with patients and spend time getting to know them.
Nurses learn from patients who are willing to share their life experiences. From these conversations, nurses gain valuable insights into the human experience. Nursing students have opportunities to observe different life experiences and their effects on the health of individuals.
Students learn to recognize personal values and beliefs held by patients, which can help them understand how individual factors impact healthcare outcomes. Learning about patients’ family histories helps nurses understand how genetic traits interact and may provide clues as to why certain diseases occur in some families.
Clinical experience proves to be a valuable asset for nursing students. The skills and self-confidence a nurse gains in clinical practice are essential to success in the career. Clinical experience can help students build crucial attributes important for a nursing career. It allows them to better their communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.