It is critical that nurse practitioner curricula provide students with all the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the world of medicine. This is doubly important given the current shortage of medical workers due to high demand and retention issues in the field.
Now is a great time for experienced nurses to take the next step in their careers and earn advanced degrees and skills. As more advanced care nurses leave the profession, demand is set to skyrocket, meaning there will be a lot of positions with great pay and benefits.
The benefits of clinical placement
Just learning via books and online instruction goes a long way toward preparing nurse practitioners for their new position, but there is nothing like real-world experience. Clinical placements allow future nurse practitioners to gain more skills and confidence working with patients with a mentor to help guide them.
In addition, clinical placements are assigned based on the specialization and interests of the student. So, if a nurse practitioner plans to focus on elder care or pediatrics, a placement is found that will help them develop their skills in that setting.
While it is entirely possible for aspiring nurse practitioners to find their own clinical placement, it is not without its challenges. To make the process easier, aspiring nurses can choose a degree program that includes clinical placement. If your degree program includes clinical placement services, it is easier to you’re a placement that suits your exact interests, and it saves you the money that a placement service may charge.
Clinical placements give nurses a variety of experiences
It is very important that nurses learn as much as they can about working with people from different backgrounds and age groups. While some nurse practitioners may choose to specialize in caring for adults, children, etc., it is far more likely that they will have patients in all age groups.
With medical facilities seeing a more diverse population of patients, it is also essential for all medical professionals to gain experience treating people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Clinical placements provide mentors for nurse practitioners
When starting any new position, it is essential to have a good introduction and orientation in the workplace. Even experienced nurses completing advanced degrees to become nurse practitioners can benefit from a great mentor who can support and answer any questions they might have.
Mentorships also help provide networking and sometimes even employment opportunities after a nurse earns their degree and completes their clinicals and any testing requirements.
Good nursing teaches students how to effectively multi-task and stay organized
While regular RNs must stay organized, a nurse practitioner has even more responsibilities requiring superb organizational skills. The ability to multi-task and keep things compartmentalized is critical to excelling as a nurse practitioner. In addition, you will need to learn how to manage other nurses and staff, especially if you work at your own private practice.
By staying organized you can treat more patients and provide a higher level of care. Good organization prevents mistakes that can cost time and money, or cause harm to a patient or loved one.
Clinical placement allows nurses to get vital experience
The large population of aging adults in the United States is demanding more and more from healthcare services as time goes by. This means that nurses need to learn how to treat the maximum number of patients while maintaining high standards for patient care. While lectures can help prepare someone for this, there is nothing like real-world experience in a supervised setting.
In addition to a high population of aging adults, there are more people of all ages living with chronic conditions requiring regular visits and treatment.
Nurses learn preventative care during clinical placements
With more people having great access to health insurance benefits, there are fewer obstacles to practicing good preventative care. Nurse practitioners need to encourage patients to set up routine appointments and health screenings well in advance. Educating patients on the benefits of preventative medicine is important and helps ensure they do not cancel visits when it gets close to their appointment date. Helping patients understand the resources available to help them get to appointments if transportation or childcare is an issue can help provide a higher level of care.
Many patients do not realize that preventative visits are completely covered by their insurance in many cases. Over the years, insurance companies have discovered that preventative care benefits them as well as the patient. because the cost of prevention is far less than the cost of treatment. The sooner conditions are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat.
Clinical rotations increase comfort and confidence
Even very experienced nurses may have some confidence or comfort issues when embarking on a new position with more responsibilities. Gaining experience during clinical placement increases confidence levels and sets a standard for comfort for nurses at work. When you are confident and comfortable, it reflects on your patients’ care, as well as how they perceive you and the practice you are working for.
Clinical rotations help prepare practitioners for difficult or stubborn patients
As a nurse practitioner student, you will be seeing patients with a mentor or “preceptor”. This person will be a licensed nurse practitioner or medical doctor. You will be assisting in the treatment of patients, but there will be times when a patient is asked if it is ok for you to participate or observe and they say no. This may happen for many reasons.
A patient may not be comfortable with other doctors or they may think that you being there will increase the length of their appointment and treatment. While this may be inconvenient for your learning experience, it is important to learn from this. There will be patients that refuse some services and treatments when you are a fully licensed practicing nurse practitioner, and experiences with such patients while on placement can be beneficial to your future work.
Good nursing provides students with the skills to work in many different clinical settings
A nurse practitioner may find employment in hospitals, schools, elderly care or assisted living centers, prisons, social service or national health service settings, or private practices. While the skills needed are similar in all settings, obviously the ages of patients will be more concentrated in certain ranges in some settings. Being adaptable to working at many different types of facilities is helpful and ensures better job security throughout your career.
Getting the most out of your clinical rotations
It is critical that nurses take their clinical rotations very seriously and strive to do as good a job as possible. This means going the extra mile whenever they can to excel in their roles.
Learn and remember the names of staff and fellow medical workers
Taking the time to know everyone you are working with shows that you are personable and helps you connect with them, making it easier to work together and provide a high level of care to patients. This means learning the names and the roles and duties of each person in your department or clinic. This makes it easier to consult with them when needed and direct people in the right direction so more patients can be treated.
Get to know your patient base
If you are working in an area that you are not very familiar with, then you should take the time to make yourself familiar with a variety of demographic factors that can help you do your job. This means getting to know the backgrounds of patients and any special challenges their community is facing. If you know more about your patient’s background, you can use that to connect with them at appointments and thus provide a more comfortable experience for them.
Practice your communication skills
It is very important to have exceptional communication skills both with other staff members and patients. Now is the time to consider how you approach communication and work on developing your skills as much as possible.
Stating the right information quickly and accurately without a lot of unnecessary or irrelevant information is something you will get better at as you gain experience seeing and diagnosing patients.
Learn how to handle being wrong or making mistakes
While you need to do everything you possibly can to not make a mistake, the truth is that everyone makes them, especially when learning how to do things in a new environment. It is always best to acknowledge your mistakes and take the initiative to correct them whenever possible. When you admit to an error, you are able to say what you are going to do to fix it and then make sure it is ok to take that action before you do. Your preceptor will be impressed with your efforts towards accuracy and know that you do not try to hide mistakes that could cause trouble for others.
Clinical rotation allows nurses real-world experience
The increase in the cost of healthcare is a major challenge for doctors and patients alike. While access to insurance is better than it used to be, that does not mean that there are no expenses that are higher than a patient may be able to afford if they are battling a severe illness or chronic condition.
During clinicals, you will gain experience helping patients overcome these challenges. A good knowledge of available financial help and what is covered by the most common insurance can help a lot.
The cost of operating a healthcare facility is another challenge. Nurses are expected to provide a high level of care without wasting resources. Real-world experience will help students understand how to reduce costs and waste when assigning duties to other healthcare workers or performing their own duties as a nurse practitioner.
Clinical rotation offers the opportunity to practice connecting with patients
Urgent care centers have seen a distinct increase in the number of patients they are seeing, especially from diverse backgrounds. The reasons for this include how difficult it is to find a primary care provider that offers fast appointments, and a general lack of trust in the regular medical system.
Imagine how someone that does not speak English fluently feels when seeking treatment. It is hard for them to communicate what is wrong with them and they cannot understand what is being said to them. It takes a lot of trust and openness for them to seek treatment. In many cases, these people do not seek care until a disease or illness has progressed to the point where it is absolutely necessary. This makes it harder and more expensive to treat them. On top of that, an illness that is allowed to progress can result in lost income that they cannot afford.
During clinical rotations, you have the opportunity to take a long look at the challenges faced by disadvantaged people in the community and practice ways to establish trust so that they are comfortable seeking care as soon as they notice a problem.
Why become a nurse practitioner?
There is a major shortage of primary care doctors and medical facilities in the United States and other developed countries. Experienced nurses that want to take the next step in their careers can help mitigate this shortage and bring better medical care to disadvantaged communities.
Nurse practitioners fill in gaps in medical care
The pressure on the healthcare system means that getting treatment can be difficult. Even getting an initial appointment might mean several months of waiting for patients. However, many of the medical treatments and appointments that people need do not require an MD, so nurse practitioners can take care of a lot of the patients that need basic care and preventative health screenings and take the burden away from physicians.
You can take all your nurse practitioner classes online while maintaining your current RN position
Taking your career to the next level is a lot easier than it used to be. While there is no doubt that classes will challenge you, it is a healthy challenge. It’s also nice that you can take all of your classes online while keeping your RN job. Texas Woman’s University, for example, offers an online degree program that includes a Nurse Practitioner clinical placement. Nurses who embark on this reputable course can combine online education with clinical placement, allowing them to qualify as a Nurse Practitioner as quickly as possible.
Nurse practitioners may be able to open their own private practice
Depending on the state you wish to practice in, nurse practitioners may be able to establish their own private practice, if that is something they desire to do. This is a great opportunity for nurses that have dreamed of establishing a clinic in an area that is severely lacking in medical care. Remote rural areas are a good example of places that often lack care facilities.
Clinical placements help future nurse practitioners gain the valuable hands-on experience they need to provide a high level of care, no matter where they find work after graduation and licensing. By offering clinical placements as part of a well-structured curriculum, universities and colleges can ensure that their programs offer students the greatest chance of success and job satisfaction.
Nurses that are considering advancing their education and career should look carefully at the entire curriculum offered by an institution before enrolling. While there are plenty of great degree programs out there, some are better suited than others to providing a curriculum that aligns with specific career goals.
Online education makes it easier for working professionals to gain advanced degrees without a loss of income. In addition, there are many financial aid options combined with more affordable tuition than traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms.
Institutions of higher learning regularly review curricula and update them to ensure that programs are offering students the modern medical knowledge they need to offer a high level of care during challenging times. Clinical rotations are a major part of this learning process because they put students in a real-world situation rather than just a classroom simulation. When there are real patients with real emotions involved, a student is better prepared to embark on their career as a certified nurse practitioner.