Clinical placements are necessary for a student’s degree pathway. They are also a great opportunity for students to gain practical medical experience, which can be difficult in other industries. However, if you’re thinking about doing a clinical placement, you may be wondering what you need to do to make it a success. This guide will give you tips on preparing for a clinical placement and explain why they are important to your education experience.
What is a clinical placement?
Clinical placement is a short-term opportunity for students to gain practical medical experience in a healthcare setting. This can be anything from working in a hospital to shadowing a doctor or nurse. Clinical placements are usually unpaid, but they offer invaluable experience for those hoping to pursue a career in healthcare.
Types of clinical placements
There are many different clinical placements, so it’s important to research and find one that’s right for you. Below are some of the most common placements and an overview of what they entail.
Hospital placements are opportunities for medical students to gain first-hand experience in a hospital setting. The placements can last for a few weeks or up to a year, and they provide students with the chance to shadow doctors, observe surgeries, and learn about different medical specialties. Hospital placements are essential to a medical student’s education, as they help students develop important clinical skills. Placements also allow students to see how different hospitals operate and learn about patient populations. Medical students typically need to apply through their school’s office to secure a placement. Placement offices typically have relationships with hospitals in the area, and they match students with the right placement based on their interests and needs.
Nursing home placements
Nursing home placements are opportunities for nursing students to experience caring for elderly patients. These placements typically last four to 12 weeks and take place in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Nursing students on placement will have the opportunity to shadow nurses, assist with patient care, and learn about the day-to-day operations of a nursing home. Nursing home placements are a great way for nursing students to get hands-on experience caring for patients. To secure a placement, nursing students typically need to apply through their school’s placement office.
Shadowing placements are opportunities for students to observe and learn from established healthcare professionals. These placements typically last one to two weeks and take place in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. Shadowing placements are a great way for students to learn about the day-to-day operations of different healthcare settings. To secure a placement, students usually apply through their school’s placement office.
How to prepare for a clinical placement
Here are some tips to help you prepare for a clinical placement.
Doing research is important when preparing for a clinical placement because it gives you a better understanding of what to expect. It also allows you to be more mentally and emotionally prepared for the challenges you may face during your placement. Furthermore, research can help to identify potential areas of conflict or misunderstanding so that you can address them before they become an issue. Finally, research shows that clinicians who are better prepared for their placements tend to have a more positive experience overall. Therefore, taking the time to do research before starting a clinical placement is an investment that’s likely to pay off in the long run.
Set realistic expectations
When preparing for a clinical placement, it is important to set realistic expectations for yourself. This means understanding that there will be days when you feel challenged and that you may not always understand everything that is going on around you. It is also important to remember that your placement is meant to be a learning experience, so don’t expect it to be perfect. Setting realistic expectations can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or discouraged during your placement.
Getting organized before starting your clinical placement is crucial because it will make the transition smoother and less stressful. Furthermore, being organized will help you stay on top of your work so that you can focus on learning as much as possible during your placement. There are a few different ways to get organized before starting your clinical placement, such as creating a schedule or packing a ‘placement survival kit’.
Build a support network
A strong support network is important for all students, but it can be especially beneficial during a clinical placement. This is because a support network can provide you with emotional and practical support when you need it. To build a supportive network, you can reach out to family and friends, connect with other students in your program, or join a professional organization related to your field of study.
Understand the expectations
When beginning a clinical placement, you must take the time to understand the organization’s and your supervisor’s expectations. This includes understanding what is expected of you regarding work hours, dress code, and conduct. Additionally, you should also ask about the organization’s policies on things such as patient confidentiality and documentation. Understanding the expectations from the start will help you to avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings during your placement.
When you are on clinical placement, it is important to remember that you represent yourself and your school and program. Therefore, it is crucial that you act in a professional manner at all times. This includes being punctual, following the dress code, and maintaining a positive attitude. Additionally, it is important to be respectful of patients, families, and staff members. Showing that you are a professional will reflect positively on you and your program.
Effective communication is essential in all aspects of life, but it is especially important during a clinical placement. This is because you will be working with patients, families and staff members daily, and clear communication will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, effective communication can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflict. Therefore, it is important to practice your communication skills before starting a clinical placement.
Be open to feedback
Receiving feedback can be difficult, but it is an important part of the learning process. Therefore, it is important to be open to feedback from your supervisor and other clinicians. This feedback can help you to improve your clinical skills and better understand the expectations of your role. Feedback can also help you identify areas where you need to continue to grow and develop.
Take advantage of resources
Several resources are available to students during their clinical placement, so it is important to take advantage of them. These resources can include books, online articles, and materials from professional organizations such as Rockhurst University. The Rockhurst ABSN is a Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program that supports clinical placements in various healthcare settings. Utilizing these resources can help you to make the most of your clinical placement and become a better nurse.
Be prepared for challenges
Clinical placements can be challenging, so you must be prepared for the challenges you may face. These challenges can include long hours, difficult patients, and stressful situations. However, these challenges can also be opportunities to learn and grow as a nurse. Therefore, it is important to approach each challenge with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
Reflect on your experience
Once you have completed your clinical placement, it is important to take the time to reflect on your experience. This reflection can help you identify what you did well and what you could improve upon. Additionally, reflecting on your experience can help you to better understand your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse. Overall, reflecting on your clinical placement will help you grow as a nurse and prepare for your future career.
Benefits of a clinical placement
Clinical placements offer many benefits to students, including the following.
Gain real-world experience in a healthcare setting
Clinical placements are an integral part of healthcare education, providing students with an opportunity to gain real-world experience in a clinical setting. While the classroom can provide students with the theoretical knowledge necessary to be successful in a healthcare career, clinical placements offer a chance to put that knowledge into practice. Through working closely with experienced healthcare professionals, students can learn essential skills such as patient communication and bedside manner. In addition, clinical placements provide students with a chance to witness first-hand the day-to-day realities of working in a healthcare setting. From the challenges of managing a busy workload to the satisfaction of helping patients recover from illness, clinical placements offer students a unique insight into the world of healthcare. As a result, they play an essential role in preparing students for a successful healthcare career.
Build your professional network
Clinical placement is an excellent opportunity to build your professional network. By working closely with experienced healthcare professionals, you will have the chance to make valuable connections that can help you in your future career. Additionally, many healthcare organizations host networking events specifically for students on clinical placements. These events allow students to meet with representatives from various healthcare organizations and learn about job opportunities.
Develop essential skills
Clinical placements give students the opportunity to develop essential skills, such as patient communication, bedside manner, and critical thinking. These skills are essential for success in any healthcare role. In addition, clinical placements allow students to learn how to work effectively as part of a healthcare team. Working closely with experienced healthcare professionals, students can learn how to collaborate effectively and efficiently to provide optimal patient care.
Build relationships with patients, families and staff members
Clinical placements allow students to build relationships with patients, families, and staff. These relationships are essential for providing quality patient care. By building strong relationships with patients and their families, students can learn more about their unique needs and how to best meet them. Additionally, these relationships can provide valuable insights into the patient experience. Similarly, developing positive relationships with staff members is essential for success in any healthcare role. Through working closely with other healthcare professionals, students can learn how to communicate effectively and collaborate to provide optimal patient care.
Learn how to handle difficult situations
Clinical placements also allow students to learn how to handle difficult situations. From managing a busy workload to dealing with challenging patients, clinical placements offer students the chance to learn how to effectively handle difficult situations. In addition, clinical placements provide students with a chance to learn how to cope with stress. By working in a healthcare setting, students can learn how to manage their time effectively and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. Additionally, they can learn how to deal with the emotional challenges of working in healthcare.
Gain a better understanding of the healthcare system
Clinical placements offer students the chance to better understand the healthcare system. From working with patients to observing staff members, students can learn how different aspects of the healthcare system work together to provide care. In addition, clinical placements allow students to learn about the various policies and procedures to ensure quality patient care. By better understanding the healthcare system, students can be better prepared to navigate it successfully in their future careers.
Prepare for your future career
Clinical placements are essential in preparing students for a successful healthcare career. Through working closely with experienced healthcare professionals, students can learn essential skills such as patient communication, bedside manner, and critical thinking. Additionally, clinical placements offer students the chance to build relationships with patients, families and staff members. These relationships are essential for providing quality patient care. By completing a clinical placement, students will be ready to enter the healthcare workforce and pursue a successful career in the sector.
What to expect on your first day of clinical placement
When starting your first clinical placement, it’s important to be prepared for what to expect. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
One of the most important things to remember when starting a clinical placement is to be on time. Arrive early and review the schedule so that you know what’s happening each day. This will help to ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your placement.
Be prepared to work hard
Clinical placements can be demanding, so be prepared to work hard. You’ll likely have a lot of responsibilities and be expected to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. However, it’s important to remember to take breaks and eat lunch so that you don’t get too overwhelmed.
Be respectful of your patients and colleagues
Respect is key when working in a healthcare setting. Be respectful of your patients, their families, and your colleagues. This will help to create a positive and productive work environment.
Ask questions if you don’t understand something
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It’s important that you fully understand what’s happening during your placement so that you can provide the best care possible for your patients.
Clinical placements can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible. Things may not always go as planned, but that’s okay. Be prepared to adjust your plans as needed and go with the flow.
Factors to keep in mind when choosing a hospital for your clinical placement
When choosing a hospital for your clinical placement, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
The size of the hospital can impact your clinical placement experience. If you’re placed in a large hospital, you’ll likely have more responsibilities and be expected to work faster. However, if you’re placed in a smaller hospital, you may have more one-on-one time with patients and staff. It’s important to consider the size of the hospital when choosing a placement to find an environment that’s right for you.
The location of the hospital
The location of the hospital can also impact your experience. If the hospital is located in a rural area, you may have to travel a long distance to get there. Additionally, you may have to deal with more traffic and noise if the hospital is located in a large city. Consider the location of the hospital when making your decision.
When choosing a hospital for your clinical placement, you should consider the hospital’s specialties. If you’re interested in a specific area of healthcare, you may want to choose a hospital that specializes in that area. This will allow you to get more experience in the field you’re interested in.
Clinical placements are an essential part of becoming a healthcare professional. By completing a clinical placement, students can learn crucial skills, build relationships, and learn about various policies and procedures. When choosing a hospital for your clinical placement, be sure to consider the size of the hospital and its location. With these factors in mind, you can find a placement that’s right for you.