What is Clinical Experience in Nursing?
Being a nurse is no easy job. It’s been said that nursing is a combination of science and an art, as there is plenty of in-depth medical terminology, techniques, and knowledge that must be learned; however, putting that knowledge to the test is where nurses shine through. In fact, according to BBN Times, research has found that hands-on learning opportunities improve both the students’ soft skills and technical skills. Most tasks carried out on a day-to-day basis by nurses are very hands-on, such as washing patients, administering medications, dressing patient wounds, giving injections, and so much more. However, a large part of nursing today is also dealing with patients and their emotions. Although this used to be a task typically carried out by doctors, the complexity of medicine, especially with the rising healthcare demand, has caused doctors to shy away from these previous duties and nurses to take on the majority of these tasks. This is where the art component comes into play.
Why is Clinical Experience Important for Nursing Students?
So how exactly do you learn and, more importantly, perfect the hands-on skills needed to carry out your role as a nurse? Because nursing involves so many hands-on tasks, students must be sure they are choosing a nursing program that provides them with hands-on clinical experience. This can be in terms of both clinical rotations and externships. Many students also suggest volunteering at the hospital, as it provides students the opportunity to be mentored by experienced nurses who were once in their shoes. The good news is nursing jobs aren’t going away. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nurses is projected to grow over 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is significantly faster than the average increase for all occupations.
Classroom education is equally as important and is the foundation for many of the hands-on tasks you will need to carry out. Students will participate in general education requirements and introductory nursing classes prior to moving up in workload complexity. Learning the fundamental information is essential to being successful as a nurse and there is a plethora of information that must be learned in the classroom before gaining hands-on experience. For instance, you will learn about topics such as biology and the human body, as well as chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, psychology, and so much more. The core information learned throughout these courses is what will be used for your hands-on training opportunities.
Teaching the Mind and Hands
The best education comes from nurturing and making use of both the mind and hands. Being taught by a team of faculty who are experts in the field is crucial to the success of your overall education. After being taught through classroom education, it’s essential for nursing students to also be taught with their hands, or in a hands-on scenario. According to Build Your Future, by combining multiple different styles of learning, the brain is able to form a stronger overall connection and retain the relevant information being taught, both in the classroom and hands-on. For example, at Berry College, they have one of the best nursing programs in Georgia whose team of expert faculty exposes students to high fidelity simulated hospital situations as well as provides students the hands-on clinical experience they need. The ultimate goal of any nursing program is to develop a solid educational foundation while also developing your compassion and character in a supportive and caring community of like-minded faculty and students.
Clinical Experience Allows You to Network
Networking is extremely important regardless of the field you are going into. In short, networking is when you have the opportunity to talk and work with individuals in the same field as you with more experience. They can help to answer any questions you may have and provide you guidance throughout the start of your career. Through the hands-on clinical rotations and experience provided during your education, you can gain real-world experience communicating and collaborating alongside nurses, physicians, and staff members who have been in the field for a much longer amount of time.
But what is the best part about the networking aspect of your clinical experience? Although landing a job is never guaranteed, many students are hired directly out of school for the institute they were volunteering or training with. For example, if after nursing school you apply for a job within the same hospital where you did your clinical rotation, the individuals you networked with and the impression you left may play a key role in whether you get the position or whether you get passed over. This is why it is so crucial to put your best foot forward every day and learn as much as you can from everyone that you can. You never know who may be observing and noting your skillset.
If you have a passion for helping others as well as great communication skills, a career in nursing may be a great fit for you. However, even with the best intentions in mind, you won’t be successful in the role without receiving the proper hands-on training throughout your education. In order to be the most successful you can be, consider finding a school with a nursing program that provides both in-the-classroom as well as hands-on learning opportunities.