4 Ways Diverse Nursing School Clinicals Prepare You for Your Nursing Career

Clinicals are the cornerstone of your learning experience as a nursing school student. They build upon your coursework and simulation lab experience while allowing you to develop your nursing skills in a variety of patient care scenarios.

And if there’s one thing we know about nursing it’s this: you have to be ready for just about anything. That’s why we at Utica College take the extra effort to make sure our ABSN students experience as many types of situations during their nursing school clinicals as possible.

Whether it’s exposure to diverse demographic settings or wide-ranging specialty areas, learn how varied clinical rotations through Utica College’s ABSN program help set you up for success for your nursing career.

Locations

As an ABSN student in Syracuse, you will complete 588 hours of clinical practice at various first-rate healthcare facilities across Central New York. Our St. Petersburg ABSN students will complete the same number of hours of clinical rotations in top healthcare faciliites in the Tampa Bay area.

No matter where your nursing school clinicals take place, they will begin your first semester as early as six weeks into the program. This early exposure to experiential learning opportunities and throughout nursing school sets you up for a successful nursing career down the line.

“Students are exposed to a wide variety of clinical sites and experiences. We’re not limiting our students to one hospital or one healthcare facility. They’re getting to see a little bit of everything which increases their marketability in the workforce,” says Kimarie Jeffereys, Utica College director of nursing academic services.

Get more insight into the advantages of the diverse clinical experiences Utica College’s ABSN program offers in this video:

How that helps you

Imagine having the ability to test out different work environments before applying for a job at any of them. As a Utica College ABSN student, you’ll have unprecedented real-world learning experiences in top-notch facilities of all sizes and demographic areas. One clinical rotation you could be in a slower-paced, suburban nursing home, the next you could be on the medical-surgical floor of a busy metropolitan hospital.

“We’re working with one of the best providers out there. We’ve got so many different location opportunities. They seem to work with us and give us good availability for clinicals,” ABSN student Jill says.

Specialty Areas

The sites where our ABSN students complete their clinicals have solid reputations in their respective communities and boast staffs with expert medical knowledge in an array of patient care specialties.

As a Utica College ABSN student, you could be learning to practice safe, ethical and competent patient care with supervision from a licensed clinical instructor in any of the following areas during clinicals:

  • Acute Care
  • Adult Health
  • Intensive Care
  • Long-Term Care
  • Mental Health
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Public and Community Health

How that helps you

By completing nursing school clinicals in a variety of specialty areas, you get to “try on” different career paths in nursing to find the right fit for you. And who knows? You might end up surprising yourself. Maybe you start your nursing education wanting to work in the emergency room but end up loving pediatrics.

Take ABSN student Lester as an example:

“I went into peds not wanting to do it, but peds was the most emotional roller coaster for me and I LOVED it. … I now really want to do it. The kids showed me a lot of love. They gravitated toward me. That’s one thing that shocked me.”

Patient Care Scenarios

Since clinicals start the first semester, you have many chances to practice a variety of the nursing skills you learn in skills labs. Don’t worry, though; we won’t throw you into the deep end on the first day.

You’ll likely start your rotations observing nurses, doing basic tasks like how to make a bed, chart, and talk to patients. You could transition into more advanced tasks like arterial line maintenance and ventilator management as your training progresses.

How that helps you

Reading about how the circulatory system works or practicing how to dress a wound on a manikin is one thing; having the chance to apply your skills and knowledge in caring for a real, live patient is a whole other ball game.

That’s what makes clinical rotations so valuable. Putting your training into practice in various healthcare settings helps you gain confidence collaborating with others in interdisciplinary patient care situations and understanding WHY you do things a certain way.

You could learn how to say things back, maybe how it looks, but can you imagine having the knowledge but not being able to perform?” says Katherine Davis, clinical coordinator and lab faculty instructor.

Instructor Styles and Relationships

During your clinical rotations, you’ll spend several hours with clinical instructors, staff nurses and fellow nursing students. While most clinicals have an 8:1 student-to-instructor ratio, sometimes facilities limit the ratio to 4:1 or 6:1 for specialties, ensuring you receive personalized training in a real-world healthcare setting.

Before each clinical shift, you’ll meet with your instructor — a different one each semester — and fellow members of your cohort to set goals for the day, then reconvene at the end of the day to debrief.

In the fourth semester, you can expect to shadow and assist a staff nurse for your transitional, or capstone, experience. This gives you in-depth exposure to the day-to-day intricacies involved in today’s complex healthcare environment.

How that helps you

Exposure to different clinical instructors each semester is just another way our diverse nursing school clinicals ready you for the real world. During your clinical rotations, you’ll learn how to work well with co-workers and supervisors of all personality types.

But no matter who you work with during your rotations, you can expect your clinical instructor to be 100 percent committed to your success.

Recent ABSN graduate Lee C. says his relationship with one of his instructors was invaluable, describing him as patient with sharing his expertise with all students until they felt comfortable. That self-confidence stayed with Lee, who is now working as a nurse.

“Without him being part of that process, I don’t know how quickly I would have caught on to things or how successful I’d have been at those clinicals. With that connection, I have a friend for life – now a co-worker,” Lee says. “I value that partnership and that relationship. I’m happy I chose Utica for that reason.”

Your Future Starts Now

With our 16-month program starting three times per year, you have your choice of when to begin your accelerated nursing school journey. It could begin sooner than you might think.

Start by contacting one of our admission representatives, who can share more information about when you can start as well as what to expect from nursing school clinicals and how they tie into the rest of our program.

Don't Wait on Your Nursing Future

Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.

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