Understanding Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations give nursing students real-world experience described in textbooks and discussed in classroom settings. They’re designed to help nursing students transition from learning about nursing to performing nursing. This transition typically occurs after the 2nd year of traditional classroom education.

At the end of the 3rd or 4th year, a nursing student has transformed into a professional health care provider. Learning about nursing is one thing. Actually getting into the action and training yourself is a different, enlightening experience altogether.

What You’ll Learn in Clinical Rotations

Some of the first things you’ll learn as a nursing student attending clinical rotations are proper grooming, appropriate patient-nurse interaction, and attentive staff-nurse interaction. Since working in a clinical rotation is basically working in an internship, you’ll have face-to-face conversations with your patients and their families as well. You will in fact, be part of a health team that’s as real as anything you might have studied in your textbooks or imagined.

Real Situations And Real Responsibilities

Not only will you experience real situations, you’ll additionally encounter real responsibilities and their accompanying conflicts. You may for example, find yourself torn between taking a class or helping a head nurse prep a patient for surgery.

In such a situation, you’re required to do both, but since there’s only one of you, you’ve got to prioritize and decide which event to attend. The general consensus is to take care of the patient first – even if it means missing a test, a class, or a school lab experiment. Fortunately this type of situation is rare, however they can and do happen.

Reading is Required

You won’t have that many patients to care for. Most nursing students are limited to a handful at the most, giving you ample time to perform one of the most important tasks in clinical rotations. And that’s, read! Read about your patients. Learning a patient’s medical history is the first-most important part of facilitating appropriate treatment.

You can learn a lot from reading just one hour a day. You won’t learn everything however, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to demonstrate a flawless performance. There will be times when you simply don’t know what to do. When that happens, ask questions! Clinical rotations are learning environments after all.

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