Whether in the process of obtaining a nursing diploma, Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner degree, students will participate in clinicals. Students new to the healthcare field, despite excitement for their future career, may feel intimidated by the idea of clinicals. Participating in clinicals means applying the knowledge that’s learned in your courses to your own practice as a student nurse or student nurse practitioner. Clinicals are a big deal, and are highly beneficial to you as a student. Here’s what to expect during your time participating in clinicals.
Preparing for Clinicals
As a family nurse practitioner student, clinical experience involves a diverse array of responsibilities and tasks. At Walsh University, students begin their clinicals with standardized patients in a simulation lab. You’ll begin by introducing yourself to the patient, and then performing a head-to-toe history and physical. Experienced physician graders will be present to provide feedback on your assessment and interaction with the patient. The standardized patients will also provide valuable feedback to help you make your patients feel more comfortable and prepare you to one day practice independently as a nurse practitioner.
After participating in the patient simulation, you will begin clinical orientation. You’ll discuss clinical expectations with your preceptor, a nurse practitioner who supervises and guides your clinicals, and your faculty members.
Once you’ve participated in clinical orientation, you’re prepared to begin clinicals with your preceptor. You’ll see patients with the guidance of your preceptor, performing history and physicals, and learning about diagnosing, treating and educating patients. You’ll have a certain number of hours of clinical you’ll need to complete each semester with your preceptor, and will be responsible for maintaining clinical logs and keeping track of your time in clinicals.
The Benefits of Clinicals
Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap
Clinicals serve several purposes. Students gain hands-on experience assessing patients in an environment where they are guided and supported by their preceptor. Gradually, students will begin to feel more comfortable in their new role as future nurse practitioners. The experience and knowledge students gain from participating in clinicals helps enhance their professional and clinical decisions. Clinicals help students navigate the theory-practice gap and apply their knowledge to their practice.
Clinicals Ease Role Adjustment
Students also benefit from clinicals by seeing firsthand how nurse practitioners function as part of the interdisciplinary team. Becoming a nurse practitioner is quite the change from being a registered nurse, and it can be a tricky adjustment learning how to function in your new role. It’s important for students to understand how to collaborate with other members of the care team, which may include physicians, nurses, pharmacists and therapists of various types.
Gain Experience with Different Patient Populations
Another benefit of clinicals is that students obtain experience with different patient populations. Nurse practitioner students do clinicals with preceptors in different specialties, including pediatrics and adult care. It’s important to feel comfortable with patients of all ages, especially as a family nurse practitioner.
Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner
Becoming a nurse practitioner is a career goal of many registered nurses. With Walsh University’s online MSN-FNP program, it’s an even more attainable goal. WU’s flexible, affordable program allows students to take courses at their own pace. Students can graduate with their Master of Science in Nursing in as little as 2.5 years while continuing to work full-time, and our dedicated one-on-one student support team will be there to guide you each step of the way.