With any degree in the nursing field, there are clinical placements – but why? What do clinical placements mean for you and your degree? What value do they provide? And how are they done?
Law Insider defines clinical placements as any clinical rotations, internships, residencies, fellowships, and any other clinical training experience that a student undergoes as part of their health profession program. It is a period of practical clinical training with a provider, which satisfies the criteria for the relevant program, as set out in the definitive document.
Clinical placements are meant to help the budding medical professional in gaining real-world experience through hands-on learning. Under the guidance of a physician, an advanced nursing student pursuing a master’s degree in nursing would see and treat patients while being shadowed by a physician. It helps the student learn patient care and make medical decisions with oversight to prevent errors.
Many schools will help you find a local preceptor to do your clinical placement with, and that preceptor will be the one to guide you. The preceptor will also complete the forms for your school and help evaluate your progress and document your hours while supporting you.
For example, the online MSN-FNP program from the University of Indianapolis will help place you with a local preceptor, even though you are attending courses online. This program only requires one clinical placement rotation, which can be great for anyone who is also working full-time.
Clinical placements can begin once any required background checks and physical exams are completed. Once those requirements are met, you must then meet the requirements of the clinical placement.
According to the University of Indianapolis, you should expect to meet your objectives and complete daily written assignments to show that they are met. There will also be evaluation forms to fill out. You will be expected to understand clinical protocols and document all clinical encounters with standards while under the supervision of your preceptor.
While participating in your clinical placement, you should reach out to your preceptor with any questions related to patient care or documentation. You should also expect daily feedback and for your preceptor to review and sign off on all clinical documentation.
Actual experiences will vary on where the clinical placement is and the field chosen, but the above expectations should be standard for any program. Working in the field before achieving your advanced nursing degree and certificate will help you gain the knowledge and skills to care for patients in your new role.
Clinical placements are vital to your role in patient care and should not be overlooked or dismissed. They are there to help you understand how to accurately care for patients and diagnose, treat and document that patient care.