There’s a lot to stress about when you’re a nursing major.
You not only have to pass all your classes and think about licensure when you graduate, but you also have to consider the practical experience you’ll be getting in your program through clinical placements.
Clinical placements are critical for gaining real-world experience as a nurse. It’s understandable that many nursing majors stress out about where they will be working in their placements.
But how much does your clinical placement matter in the long term? Is it something you should stress out about?
Why Clinical Placements are So Important
When you’re training to become a nurse, you’re absorbing tons of new information.
You’ll learn a lot of theory, including how to deal with different types of challenging patient situations. However, learning theory will only get you so far as a nurse.
Getting a chance to put your theory into practice during a clinical placement is essential. You will find out that while your theory is helpful, the only way to become a competent nurse is to practice under close supervision.
Clinical placements allow nurses to learn and ask questions while ensuring that patients still receive excellent care.
Does Your Specific Placement Matter?
If you want to work in a specific type of setting, then you might be stressing out about where you will be placed.
If you want to work in pediatrics, for instance, you might worry about getting sent to a geriatric ward for your placement.
While it would be ideal to get some direct experience in your area of interest, don’t worry too much if you get a different placement.
Getting a broader sense of nursing work can help you decide what you want to do and give you valuable practice that will serve you in any future nursing situation.
Staying in close contact with an advisor should help ease your mind about your clinical placement. What really matters is that you are placed in a setting where you can gain the skills needed to become a competent nurse.
Some placements will have more learning opportunities than others, even if they’re not in your direct area of interest.
Simulations can only take you so far—you need to work with actual patients to become proficient.
Do You Need to Find Your Own Placement?
Generally, nursing students who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees don’t have to worry about their placements.
They will either be assigned placements or they will be given enough guidance to ensure that they receive a suitable clinical experience.
Master’s degree candidates may be responsible for finding their own placements. This can definitely add stress and make the clinical placement process more challenging.
However, most graduate students are given at least some guidance in searching and applying for placements.
Typically, if you are expected to find your own placement, you should start looking as soon as possible. While any practical setting will give you valuable experience, it’s always best to get a choice.
If you can speak to any former students and find out what their experiences were at different placements, all the better.
Online Clinical Placements
Online FNP programs and undergraduate nursing programs are becoming very popular, due to their convenience. Although most of the work can be done online, in-person clinical placements are still vitally important.
It can be overwhelming to find placement on your own, especially if you are attending online classes.
It’s very important to choose a program that offers free assistance in finding clinical placements so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your practicum.
Make the Best of Your Education
Nursing school is meant to be challenging. Nurses face daily challenges and school will help prepare you for the rigors of the field.
Whether you’re pursuing an RN with a Bachelor’s or Associate’s, or an advanced degree like a Master’s, it’s important to make the most of your placement and classes.
Clinical placements, whether you are happy with your placement or not, are an opportunity. Go into them with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
You want to make a good impression and get all the experience you can, so don’t stress too much about where you’re placed—save your focus on doing the work and doing it well!