Education Matters

4 Tips for a Practical Nursing Placement

Don’t forget the basics of bedside nursing, preceptor
Deborah Capra says. 

Registered Nurse and nursing preceptor Deborah Capra has some tips to help you get the most out of a practical placement. While her advice focuses on nursing, these reminders are great for all students on placement for health-care disciplines.

1. Don’t forget the basics: Start in general medicine. A lot of students now see the TV shows and want to go straight for the ER or surgical floors. But, it’s good to get a good basic knowledge of bedside nursing first. These are the fundamentals.

2. Outline your learning goals: “It’s important for you to speak up and inform your preceptor of what your learning goals are: if there’s something you want to see or try, let us know,” Deborah says. “We want to make your experience a positive one. If it’s a new treatment or a procedure that isn’t done often, we can keep an eye out and connect you to these opportunities.”

3. Speak up: Be clear about your objectives. If things aren’t going as you expected, or you aren’t getting what you need out of your placement, speak to your preceptor, or the educator on the unit.

4. Who, what, when, where, why: Ask questions. Lots of them. “Don’t feel dumb or intimidated,” Deborah says. “This is how you will learn. Plus, you are helping us! Sometimes we get into our routine and we forget why we do this.” It benefits the staff when students ask questions and are forced to stop to think. “It reminds us why we have a certain policy or procedure,” Deborah adds.

About the author

Alexis Dobranowski

Alexis Dobranowski is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.