Day 13 of the #NurseBlogger challenge!
What was/is your favorite placement?
As a nursing student you get the opportunity to go onto each unit to see how its ran, what the nurses roles are, and also what the patients are like! It’s actually pretty interesting and can be quite enjoyable if you take advantage of the opportunity and try to enjoy yourself (because honestly clinicals can be incredibly boringggg). My first semester clinical experience honestly sucked. Being a new nursing student and all, I was honestly pretty stupid. Not to mention my clinical instructor wasn’t that great either. We did our clinicals on a Medical-Surgical Unit and since then it has made me realize how much I would dis-like working on such a unit. As a nursing student (and even as a tech) on a Med-Surg Unit, you basically get vital signs all day, help feed patients, and perform bed baths. It’s not fun, unless you like that sort of thing (no judgement)! There are positives of working on a Med-Surg Unit, like the fact that most of the patients are on that unit for days, weeks and even months, so you learn to develop personal relationships with these patients and get to know them on a deeper level outside of just patient care (within boundaries, of course).
My third semester of nursing school was when I had my absolute best clinical rotation so far. I still have one more semester of clinical experience left, which I’m sure I will love and it might trump my third semester experience because it is my critical care semester. I will be going into the Emergency Department of one of the largest and best ER’s in the country! I will also be shadowing nurses in each of the ICU’s to see how each of those units are ran. I’m incredibly excited for that experience and I’m excited to share it with all of you!
But, so far, my third semester of clinicals was the best! My third semester was the mother, baby, and pediatric semester! It was divided into 4 sections. The first 3 weeks I spent in the NICU which was the experience I was most excited for because I thought I wanted to be a NICU nurse! The NICU is the Neonatal ICU, so basically it has premature babies and other babies in critical condition needing more serious supervision. I got the opportunity to hold babies the size of my hands, help feed them, and assess their condition. I saw babies that were born addicted to drugs, babies that were premature, and babies that had body abnormalities. It was a sad, but heartwarming experience. As a student you basically spend all day loving on and cuddling babies that don’t have family at bedside all the time.
After the first three weeks I went into the Mother-Baby unit, which is like a Med-Surg Unit for postpartum moms and babies. Usually the families are all together so basically the nurse has 2x as many patients because they have the mom and baby! It’s like the best of both worlds. In this unit they perform assessments, pass medications, and I mastered the skill of giving newborn babies their first bath (which is sad because they usually cry a lot but it’s SO precious)! This unit is generally pretty relaxed and I was happy to work on because most of the families are happy, but tired, because they labored all day/night, but their reward was their beautiful new baby. It was very precious! It was also on this unit I got to play with a moms real, live placenta! Who can say they have actually held a placenta in their hands?! THIS GIRL! (yeah it’s pretty gross, but still pretty cool from a student perspective)
After the Mother-Baby Unit, I got the opportunity to go and shadow nurses on the Labor and Delivery Unit. Let me tell you, I almost changed my specialty right then and there because I loved it so dang much! I wasn’t really that interested in watching a C-section, so I skipped out on that experience, because I was so excited to watch a vaginal birth, instead. I was assigned to one patient that I got the opportunity to stay at bedside and help her through her labor all afternoon. I got to hold one leg, while the nurse held the other as she pushed. Unfortunately I had to leave before her new baby got delivered. I did get the chance to watch another mom push out her new baby, which was the most beautiful and emotional experience I have ever had in clinicals! Seeing the baby take her first breath, and hearing the baby’s first cries were something I will never forget. I remember being told in that moment: “you need to be a labor and delivery nurse!” It was the best experience I have ever been a part of. It made me so sure about my nursing career.
After I got the opportunity to play with vaginas for 2 weeks, we got to spend 3 weeks on the pediatric unit! If anyone knows me, you know that I absolutely love kids, so this rotation I was also very excited for. It was a fun rotation and the pediatric floor was set up very cute and kid-friendly, just like I imagined it to be. Being on a pediatric floor is like being on an adult medical-surgical floor, but much better because they are kids and not adults! Basically we spent the entire 3 weeks playing with kids, coloring, watching movies, with the occasional assessment and medication administration. Working on a pediatric unit is not something I could see myself doing, despite everyone telling me it’s where I belong! What I loved most of all about pediatrics, though, was the pediatric emergency room! It is like a typical ER, but solely for pediatrics. I really enjoyed that because it does get busy, they did see critical patients, and it was always something different from any age between newborns-18 years old! That opportunity was cool and definitely somewhere I would consider working as a nurse.
Overall my third semester clinical experience was my favorite so far. I have so much respect for these nurses. Even though it’s not somewhere I imagine myself working for the rest of my career as a nurse, I still loved the experience and caring for babies/kiddos will always have a special place in my heart. It’s not very often that people get to experience/see a lot throughout their clinical experience. I also believe it’s really hard to pick a specialty in nursing school because of how little time you actually get to spend in the hospital to understand what each unit is like. But, this last semester I literally woke up at 4:30 every Friday morning excited for my clincal experience. It truly was amazing and I have both my amazing nursing classmates and my amazing clinical instructor to thank for it because she made it fun and let us experience everything. There are things I would have left nursing school never have learnt how to do if it wasn’t for my clinical instructor! I encourage everyone to take full advantage of their clinicals and try to enjoy it/learn a lot even though it can be very boring.
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