It has long been believed that the best and fastest way to learn a skill and achieve proficiency in that skill is by doing rather than watching. There is a limit to how much information can be learned from a textbook or video; the student must actively participate in the hands-on experience.It is the purpose of a clinical placement in nursing.
What is a clinical placement?
A clinical placement in nursing is where the individual can work in the field at a hospital or clinic. It provides them with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the theory portion of their studies to a real-world situation. Placements also provide hands-on practice with real patients and the ability to shadow a senior nurse. These placements are essential in training well-rounded and conscientious nurses who focus on patient-centric care. There is only so much a nursing student can learn in a classroom, and placements are ideal environments for learning how to talk to and treat different patients as well as educate and provide support to their families. These placements are also meant to generate interest in different areas available for nurses, such as mental health, geriatrics, or obstetrics, to name a few.
Clinical placements are not just essential for new nurses but also provide an opportunity for seasoned nurses and nurse educators to learn new skills and get experience in a new area of medicine. When a nurse educator is looking to expand their knowledge base and offer support to their students, having recent experience in the same kind of placement is invaluable. These placements allow the educator to experience the field firsthand and brush up on the new technology available in nursing.
Nurse educators usually look to senior staff members to guide them on their journey in a placement rather than a less seasoned nurse group leader or manager. These placements give the educator a way to communicate with their students and build mutual trust and respect when the student knows the educator has experienced the same thing.
Nurse educators: Who are they, and what do they do?
A nurse educator, however, is a seasoned nurse and needs to be treated as a senior member of any staff they are placed with. These professionals will not find the experience meaningful if they are paired with someone with fewer years of nursing experience and no leadership experience.Nurse educators can look to other educators, directors, and other higher-level staff members to guide them in their placement and to have a full picture of all aspects.
These placements can make nurse educators more empathetic and understanding of a new nurse’s role in the department, so they are better able to provide relevant advice. Placements such as these also provide nurse educators with a refresher on new policies, protocols, technology, and whatever else might have changed in the field since they were in placement as a student.
The medical health industry, like every other industry, has been forever changed by technological advances, and new innovations are being introduced every day. A nurse educator is responsible for providing the most up-to-date and relevant information to their students so they can succeed in this hectic and challenging field. By getting firsthand experience with what their students will experience, they can work with new technology, employ new patient strategies with actual patients, and learn modern record-keeping and communication methods.
What is needed to become a nurse educator?
Nurse educators are seasoned nurses with field experience working directly with patients and generally have extensive experience in a leadership role in nursing. These professionals must all have a registered nursing degree, the bare minimum required in most states to become nurses. Nursing educators are responsible for shaping the future of nursing by teaching their students the fundamentals of their profession. They can’t do this effectively if they have outdated information and skills. An effective nurse educator understands that upgrading skills and knowledge is an ongoing process. Especially with the technology changing so rapidly in medicine, they need to convey to their students that once they graduate, they are still required to update their skills constantly.
Nurse educators must also learn how to be good leaders, and this is usually done through mentorship programs within their organizations. It is also another reason why placements are so popular with educators. A mentor can provide better advice and a more sympathetic ear to their mentees when they have experienced the job themselves. When a mentee on placement is having a challenging day, they should trust that the person on the other end of the line doesn’t just empathize but knows exactly what they are talking about because they went through it.
Learn to become a nurse educator
Most nurse educator programs require a master’s or other advanced degree, depending on the state. This advanced degree usually has a placement component, so the nurse educator can get an idea of different areas of medicine or other leadership positions. It means they can acquire a special certification in nursing education. In this placement, a nurse educator would work with someone in a leadership position who would act as a mentor for the educator and help them navigate the intricacies of nurse education.
Most experienced nurses will already have a secure position within their organizations and need to apply to get a master’s in nursing education online with an accredited school such as the University of Indianapolis. With a flexible schedule and challenging curriculum, individuals wishing to pursue a career as a nurse educator can learn at a flexible pace that fits their work schedule and home life. This advanced degree also offers clinical hours to help the nurse educator become a well-rounded and knowledgeable nurse leader.
Real healthcare settings
Clinical placements are important for nurse educators because they provide nursing students with hands-on experience in healthcare settings. This practical experience allows them to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life situations and develop essential clinical skills. Placements also offer opportunities for nursing students to develop and refine their technical skills, such as administering medications, performing assessments, and implementing care plans. These skills cannot be fully developed in a simulated environment alone.
Placements expose nursing students to various healthcare professionals, helping them understand the dynamics of interdisciplinary teamwork. It also provides opportunities to observe and learn from experienced nurses, fostering professionalism and ethical behavior. They also expose nursing students to diverse patient populations, including different age groups, cultural backgrounds, and health conditions. It allows them to develop cultural competence and adapt their care to the unique needs of individuals and communities.
Clinical placements challenge nursing students to think critically, solve problems, and make decisions in realtime while considering patient safety and best practices. Such experiences help develop their clinical judgment and decision-making skills. They also serve as a transition from being a student to becoming a competent, confident, and compassionate nurse. It provides a realistic preview of the challenges and demands of nursing practice, enabling students to become better prepared for their future roles.
Who do seasoned nurses turn to for mentorship?
Seasoned nurses who go back to school to get an advanced degree often turn to other experienced nurses or nurse educators for mentorship. These mentors can provide guidance, support, and professional advice based on their own years of experience in the nursing field. They may be nurses who have worked in a variety of healthcare settings, have specialized knowledge in certain areas of nursing, or have demonstrated leadership skills. The mentor-mentee relationship allows seasoned nurses to further develop their expertise, enhance their clinical skills, and navigate the complexities of their nursing careers. Additionally, seasoned nurses may also seek support from nurse managers, clinical instructors, or professional organizations offering mentorship programs and networking opportunities. Ultimately, mentorship fosters ongoing professional growth and the sharing of wisdom and experience among nurses.
A nurse educator with a strong mentor can pass that experience on to their own mentees and students. This type of experience can help shape a positive and fruitful work environment for all individuals in a department and make the nurse educator a well-respected and trusted source of information and advice.
Along with a strong sense of leadership, nurse educators must also look towards their nursing associations, publications, and medical journals to stay current on what is going on in their field. Passing this knowledge on to their mentees ensures a strong foundation is created for the future of nursing. Nurse educators can also engage in workshops and courses in addition to their placements to build stronger skills and teach their students to do the same.
Having a mentor in a higher position is also beneficial for nurse educators looking to advance in their careers. A mentor established in a higher position can open doors, introduce their mentee to other leaders, and take them to networking events. The relationships that the mentee develops are invaluable in helping them further their careers, but they also give them valuable knowledge to pass on to their students.
When it comes time for the nurse educator to take a mentee under their wing, they will have all the necessary experience, contacts, and experience to make it a meaningful relationship. This relationship can also help the nurse educator develop the soft skills necessary for becoming an effective leader and mentor.
Essential skills for good nurse educators
Soft skills such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving are crucial when teaching a class of future nurses or leading a department in a hospital or clinic. These skills help educators lead by example when guiding their students toward becoming productive and effective nurses.
Other skills such as critical thinking, organization, and flexibility are all crucial traits that can be taught in a management or leadership course dedicated to the medical field. Outside courses such as these are important for nurse educators to engage in, along with clinical placements, workshops, and courses, because they promote a well-rounded leader.
Taking these courses also helps the educator know what to advise their students to take if they want to start working on leadership skills right away. When nurse educators teach and promote skills from a personal perspective, their students are more likely to follow their advice because they have personal experience. It helps students have a strong belief in their educator and promotes confidence and respect that they will carry with them into their careers.
Clinical placements are a crucial part of nursing education at any stage of an individual’s career. When a student is just starting out, the clinical placement portion of their course allows them to put the theory they have learned into action and get invaluable experience working with live patients and their families. As the nurse gains more experience and decides to further their career with an advanced degree, the placements take on a different focus. Placements for nurse educators and other leaders in the field will involve learning from other leaders like managers, directors, and administrators. The nurse educator will gain the necessary experience to understand their students’ points of view through the lens of a leadership position.