Precepting Clinicals Nurse’s skills are aimed to be developed by using an adequate amount of technical training. The last semester of nursing school will prepare a student for technical and psychological situations. A preceptor is a nurse that teaches in an ambulatory care setting skills in nursing, assessments, facilitate learning, mentoring and giving positive feedback. Most nurses who precept nursing students have a Bachelor Science in Nursing (BSN), and have taken a course or read about how to precept and orientate students and new nurses. The last semester of nursing school usually entails attending clinicals at least 2-3 times a week for 12 hours at a time. By this time students are in their last semester of nursing school. Precepting clinicals help prepare nursing students for real world situations. Depending on what type of degree and school one attends, depends on the amount of hours that are required. One particular BSN program in Florida requires 90 hours of clinicals and a weekly journal about that particular clinical day. There may be a few papers or projects that have to be done. It would be good if you can finish all of your clinical days with in a month or two. This way you have time to complete other assignments and just to have some free time to yourself. You will be given the nurses name that you are to contact in order to their schedule. In order to complete the required hours and maintain a passing grade in your last semester classes, you must figure out how to schedule your clinical days. Clinical instructors have already contacted hospitals and compiled a list of nurses that are willing to take a student. These nurses work day and night shift, so don’t be surprised if you have to complete clinicals on weekends from 7:00 pm-7:00 am. Some schools will schedule the days for you or have you contact the nurse whom you are assigned to and find out what days they will work. After getting your preceptors schedule, look at what days you have class. You automatically know those days you cannot do clinicals. Usually doing clinicals on the weekends will work at this point. After you have contacted the nurse to tell them what days you will be performing your clinicals. Below are some good ideas on how to have a stress free last clinical rotation:
Be prepared- Always bring ink pens, stethoscope, pen light and scissors
Come early- Nurses don’t start work exactly at 7:00 am. The shifts usually start 15 minutes earlier at 6:45 am or pm depending if you are going for days or nights. Either way, be there 15 minutes early. You don not want to miss shift report.
Always follow your nurse in every room if possible- You want to get exposed to as many clinical situations as possible. Follow your nurse everywhere but to the restroom.
Be confident- Patients can pick up on nervousness and they may not want you near them if they think you are a nervous nelly.
Volunteer- It may come to a point where all of your patients are settles and things slow down. Take this opportunity to ask other nurses if they need an IV or Foley insertion done or if there are any special procedures that will be done like PICC line insertion or bronchoscopy’s that you can come and observe.
Ask questions- At this point, you will still have a lot of unanswered questions and feel like it is a lot of information to learn. If you are on a unit that has electronic charting, take this time to research your patient’s diagnosis and history’s.
Eat- Being on your feet all day and talking will take a toll on your energy. Make sure you bring healthy snacks that will keep you energized during the day or bring your coffee creamer for night shift.
Thank you- Give your preceptor a thank you card or email thanking them for contributing to future nurses. Preceptors do like to feel appreciated since this is only a volunteer basis and it requires time and patience to teach someone in a clinical setting.