Every rookie nurse practitioner goes through a period of clinical placements on the way to completing the training. Those placements, also known as clinical rotations, provide an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom in a real-world setting. Rotations can be as terrifying as they are helpful for the NP lacking self-confidence.
Be that as it may, clinical placements are a critical part of the training process that nurse practitioners go through. They can be misery and drudgery at every turn, or the nurse practitioner can use them to his or her advantage. We prefer the latter. In fact, we know it’s possible to use one’s clinical placements to enhance future job searches.
Get to Know Your Preceptors
The NP student will work with a preceptor during every clinical placement. That individual could be a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant in nearly any kind of clinical setting. What students need to realize is that preceptors are not doing what they do because their employers are forcing them. They have actually volunteered, or at least willingly agreed, to help mentor students. So students should get to know them.
One of the most profitable things a nurse practitioner student can do during clinical rotations is get to know preceptors. Get to know how they view medicine; carefully observe their demeanor with every patient interaction; get a good idea of how they manage simple things such as ending a chatty discussion without offending the patient.
Getting to know preceptors makes it possible to build professional relationships with them. Those professional relationships will prove invaluable when it’s time to start looking for a job.
Model Preceptors When Practical
Another thing to consider with clinical placements is the idea of modeling preceptors when practical. In other words, let’s say an NP student is paired with an established and licensed nurse practitioner who has been working at a public clinic for the better part of 10 years. Provided that preceptor offers the type of care (and get the kinds of results) the student is after then it makes sense to model that person.
Professionals who have already practiced for years have developed good ways of doing things. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel if it already exists by way of examples NP students can model. And even if a student does not choose just one preceptor to model, combining the best of each of the student’s preceptor’s examples is equally valuable.
Make It a Learning Opportunity
Going into clinical placements with the mindset that these are just opportunities to practice is fairly common. But the nurse practitioner looking to enhance future job prospects will go beyond mere practice. He/she will look at every clinical placement as a learning opportunity. As such, there will be plenty of notes taken, questions answered, and independent research conducted. There will be plenty of interaction with preceptors who are viewed as teachers and mentors rather than just supervisors.
Clinical placements are a part of nurse practitioner training that every student must go through in order to become a licensed professional. They can be treated no differently from the classroom, or they can be viewed as an opportunity to learn, grow, develop, and enhance future job prospects. It’s entirely up to the nurse practitioner student.
Are you an NP student right now? Are you hoping to start looking for work at the close of the academic year? If so, we encourage you to use your clinical placements wisely so as to enhance your job search efforts down the road.