Things you should expect from your first clinical placement

The day has come. After countless hours of studying and scanning those hardbound books, you now have an opportunity to put theory into practice.

While it may seem daunting, a clinical placement gives you a chance to build critical hands-on skills which can be helpful in your nursing career. You might wonder what to expect from your initial clinical placement. The reality is everything varies depending on your chosen healthcare institution.

Regardless, here are some things you should expect from your first clinical placement to ensure you will feel comfortable and prepared.

You will start slowly

If you are taking nursing at a prestigious academic institution such as the University of Indianapolis, there is a good chance you want to change the world. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sparking change. However, it would help if you manage your expectations in the early days of your initial clinical placement.

Depending on your chosen healthcare institution, you will start with performing more straightforward tasks such as taking patients’ vitals and helping them with their daily activities. As you enter your sophomore and junior years, you will initiate higher-level activities such as administering medications or even delivering babies while under supervision.

You will work in various healthcare settings

It is not uncommon for someone to believe that student nurses are limited to working within the four walls of a hospital, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nursing placements rotate students in various healthcare departments and locations regardless of their chosen academic institution.

You will often be placed in private and public hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior homes, and clinics. You might also be assigned to international countries, regional areas, or locations with healthcare and nursing personnel shortages.

There will be shift work

As the nursing shortage continues and life expectancy increases, the need for competent healthcare professionals to provide excellent care becomes more critical. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 275,000 nursing positions will be available between 2020 and 2030.

With so many openings and the lack of nurses to fill those, you will likely work on a shifting schedule or on weekends during your placement. More often than not, nursing hours are anywhere between nine to 12 hours. In short, you must learn to adapt to long hours to ensure you can be competent enough to fulfill your duties.

You will learn how to use groundbreaking technologies

The nursing industry is never stale. As the world enters the digital revolution, healthcare organizations continuously adapt to these changes to find innovative ways of treating diseases and achieving better patient outcomes.

That said, you must keep an open mind during your placement. You will be exposed to innovative technologies and processes that may or may not have been discussed while working toward your degree. By learning how to navigate these things, you can prepare yourself to tackle contemporary issues and make a significant change in the world.

You will meet people from different walks of life

As mentioned above, nurses work in multiple settings, so they usually meet people – young and old – from different backgrounds. While in your first clinical placement, you will open a window to a broader population sampling. Clinical placements offer you something of a survey of the human race.

You can discover their life stories, what moves them, what scares them, and what makes them human. By meeting people from different walks of life, you can learn how to deal with them accordingly and reflect on how to make your own life worth living.

You will work under the supervision of your mentor

Regardless of where you choose to do your clinical internship, you will be under a mentor’s supervision for the first few weeks. The nursing mentor will help you acclimate to organizational processes and ensure you won’t feel lost during placement.

One helpful guideline is always to ask questions and only do something you have done yourself or that your mentor has demonstrated before. By working under a mentor’s supervision, you will learn the industry’s social and professional inner workings. In addition, your mentor can be a valuable professional connection once you enter the field.

Starting a meaningful career as a nurse

Becoming a nurse who can change the world begins with enrolling in a degree program. Sign up and register today so you can start your first clinical placement and become the change you aspire to be.

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