Over the last few weeks, I’ve been at my Clinical Placement, gaining critical hands-on nursing experience. Like the start of anything new or unknown, there was a lot of nervousness and anxiety.
It was almost hard to believe that we would be allowed to have our own patients to care for, and I think many of us even thought, “are we even ready?!” However, once my group and I met with our clinical instructor, I felt more at ease.
I decided to trust the process, myself, and my knowledge. I began to get excited to get out there and start gaining new skills and experiences!
We learnt so much from the other staff at the facility, including the Health Care Assistants (HCAs,) Registered Nurses (RNs,) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs.) I was really thankful for the support of staff. It could have easily gone the other way but they were so encouraging and positive and I felt very welcomed throughout my stay. As well, each staff member had their own way of caring for patients and it was interesting to see the different perspectives and approaches they had, while still maintaining safety and facility protocol. We also had some one-on-one time with the Coordinator of Care which was great, because we were able to see what an upper manager was responsible for.
It was also nice to be there with a regular schedule, for several weeks in a row because I was able to get used to the unit, staff, and patients. I loved seeing the clients everyday. I also felt that the consistent and extended period of time of us being on their unit allowed the patients to get used to seeing us. This seemed important to developing relationships. I like to think that us Student Nurses had a positive impact on the patients there because we had more time to connect and spend time with them. I think they really enjoyed our company!
I anticipate that this will be my favourite part of my career in nursing: connecting, getting to know the patients, and creating therapeutic relationships.
Another great part of this clinical experience is the wealth of knowledge that my instructor provided! She made sure that we all got to practice new skills and focused a lot on honing our documentation skills, as this is such an important (and often over-looked!) part of nursing. As she is still a practicing nurse, working across various health authorities and facilities, she had a lot of experience and input into current important skills. We all had lots of questions for her and she was happy to answer them. She shared a lot of insight with us and her passion for teaching was apparent. Her goal was to see us confident in our nursing practice and by the end of the placement, we had gotten there!
Finally, I really enjoyed being with a small group of my classmates during clinical. I loved working closely with them and getting to know them all a bit more.
Alana (far left) poses with the members of her practicum group, fellow students in the PN-1015 cohort.
Not only that, but by the end of our time on the unit, we barely needed our instructor anymore because we were collaborating with each other and supporting one another. That was amazing to see how our little team grew and became stronger and more confident together!