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3 Tips to Better Manage Clinical Placement As a Student Nurse

>> May 31, 2019

Making the most out of clinical placement is extremely important for student nurses. It is the first step toward being a part of the cycle of care provision, where they get the chance to experience medicine from ground zero. 

Placements are typically designed not only to give the student the chance to apply the theoretical knowledge gained so far, but also to better understand what it takes to run a ward and how to succeed at the non-medical side of nursing as well. It is truly a unique opportunity to hone and develop skills and make an important decision for the future.

Nonetheless, clinical placements come with its own unique challenges and there are a number of things every nursing student should know and apply to ensure they make the most out of it. The work can be exhausting and even distressing some times, but there are few occupations that are as crucial and rewarding as being a nurse.
To begin with, every student must put in place a placement management plan of their own. This will entail everything from schedules and rotations to managing patients and their case. As many students have revealed, it’s not at all easy to stay on top of things. Imagine that many of these future nurses have never interacted with a real life patient with a real life problem. Having another human being ask you ‘Am I dying?’ or witnessing a patient pass away or being in pain can threaten emotional and psychological health if one is not fully prepared. On top of things, having to fill out, submit and update what seems like endless amounts of documentation on a regular basis can leave many overwhelmed and unable to do their job.

There are a couple of tricks and tips that every nursing student can benefit from, namely:

·         Become a master of time management
Nursing courses paired with practice and outside of work responsibilities already sounds like a recipe for disaster. Former students and specialists emphasize on the importance of managing time effectively and planning ahead.  Keeping a journal and a constantly updated agenda can make a huge difference, while leveraging the potential of technology can smooth things even further. Apps such as Rotation Manager have been developed exactly with this objective in mind – to make nurse students’ lives easier.

·         Be constantly curious and never afraid to ask questions
Stress and frustration can often build up as a result of insecurity and fear of asking for clarifications and explanations. It’s important to keep in mind that in such settings, the student is accountable for their own learning. Exploiting the knowledge and experience of mentors and long-standing staff and having a natural curiosity for procedures and processes will not only make the placement more enjoyable, but it will ensure a robust learning experience.

·         Understand that it will be a lifelong learning journey
Nursing school and clinical placement are just the tip of the learning iceberg. There isn’t really a point throughout where learning will cease. As times are changing and there is constantly something to discover and master, it is important to not establish a finishing line. Health care is going through immense and exciting developments and fostering a growth mindset, always thirsty for more knowledge is the way forward.

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