What do you do with a student nurse?

I have been a student for many years. First in grade school, then high school, the GED program, trade school and then college. I will always be a student; I will never stop learning. But as a student, sometimes I need help.

As a nursing student, there are practicums and clinicals that take place on campus and in other locales. There are on-site proctors, clinical instructors and a myriad of site-specific persons that are dedicated to helping the student nurse learn.

Master of Nursing students have practicums. Depending on the discipline, there could be simulations, clinicals, and residencies. Clinical instructors, proctors and lead staff involved in the clinical or practicum are standard fare as well. Most of the people involved with students are high caliber who bring a personal touch, personal experience and professional passion to enhance the experience for the student.

I have seen nursing students disappointed to tears or angry that they did not get the clinical or practicum setting they wanted. I have yet to meet a student who had not been turned around by the clinical or practicum staff, returning at the end of the rotation praising what they learned and how the experience enhanced something they needed to know.

At one of my clinical sites there were multiple instructors that I would follow on any given day, depending on who I was assigned to, what it was we were going to be doing and who was working that day. There was only one that just was not up to par.

So I designed my own clinical for that week. I took charge of my clinical. It helped me to define environs I was comfortable practicing in and allowed me to increase my knowledge of not only a population environment and community, but also made me realize that I was always in charge of my clinical and what I was getting out of them.

So, what do you do with a student nurse? The clinical instructors, the advisors, the proctors, the school curricula are nothing without the input, desire and readiness of the student nurse. As student nurses it is up to us to make the best of a clinical experience. Being prepared to start the day, being open to what is happening, what can happen, asking questions and taking a moment to decide at the beginning of the clinical and each day just what you want to learn from the experience.

We are a large factor in the equation as to what makes a good or bad clinical. We are the best help that we need.