Your RN training course will be divided into two segments:
- Theory, and
- RN Clinical
Both of these segments are equally necessary to become a qualified RN. However, in some very specific ways, the clinical side of your training is more valuable in terms of your career as a registered nurse.
What Is An RN?
A registered nurse, or RN, is involved in the primary care of patients in a health care setting. To become an RN certain educational requirements must be met, such as a degree in nursing and an RN license. AN RN is eligible to perform the following tasks:
- Administer medications: Unlike other nurses RNs are allowed to administer certain medications to patients.
- Manage intravenous lines
- Observe and monitor patients’ conditions: This is an important aspect of care as a patient’s condition can change suddenly and unexpectedly.
- Maintain records
- Communicate with doctors and other members of the health care team in order to ensure that the patient receives the correct care as well as the best care possible for their condition
- Give direction and supervision to nurse aides and home health aides
- Provide emotional support to patients and patients’ family members.
- Educate patients and the general public on topics including disease management, special diet plans and medical conditions
- Help patients and their families understand how to manage their diseases or health issues
- Provide information on home care after their treatment
- Teach individuals how to self-administer medication or complete other self-care tasks
What Is An RN Clinical?
RN clinicals are the same as internships and residencies for doctors in that they prepare for an actual health care setting. The main purpose of an RN clinical is to ensure that you are ready for the real nursing world. They give you a chance to get an idea of what you will do in a real life nursing setting under supervision. In a real health care facility there will not be instructors to step in and help when you get confused or don’t remember what to do, making clinical training an important preparation tool for your career. In many RN training programs, your clinical is more than just a chance to get real life experience; it is also one of the mediums through which you are assessed in order to qualify as an RN and you will have to prove your ability to perform certain tasks along the way. Because you are rotated through a variety of different departments during your clinical training you can get an idea of the overall health care setting. You will also be given the opportunity to work with real healtt5h care professionals and doctors and therefore get an idea of you what you role as an RN will be.
Reasons For Doing RN Clinicals
Many nurses complain about doing their RN clinical experience section of their training course. They find that it is inconvenient to fit this clinical training into their schedule, especially if they are already employed as an LPN with set hours. However this is not the correct attitude to have towards this portion of your education. This is the most valuable information that you will learn throughout your RN training. In addition it is the most exciting part of your RN training because it allows you to get a sense of what exactly you will be doing once you have qualified. In fact the word “sense” is not very good because this internship will allow you to experience exactly what life as an RN will be like on a daily basis. Although you will be supervised at this point in your training, the tasks that you will perform under supervision are the same as the ones that you will be expected to perform on a daily basis as a nurse in an actual health care setting, but without the responsibility as your actions will be monitored by an expert who is responsible for any mistakes you may make.
Satisfy Program Requirements
Completing practical hands-on training in a health care facility is a course requirement for all RN diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree programs. There are no genuine RN programs available that do not require you to complete an RN clinical course. In order to be nurse you have to prove that you have the practical ability to perform the tasks required as well as the theoretical knowledge required for the job. Clinicals fall into the following two categories:
- Some RN programs allow for students to complete their clinical training in conjunction with their theory training at the same time.
- Most RN programs, however, require nurses to complete first their theory training before they can begin the RN clinical work.
Nurses who look at their RN clinical work experience merely as a necessary requirement to get through their course need to adjust their outlook. The clinical portion of your studies is the most important as it will give the most valuable knowledge to carry forward into your career as an RN. Consequently it must be considered in a positive light.
Experience Different Work Environments
As an RN you will have the opportunity to specialize in a number of different areas, including:
- Critical care nursing
- Cardiac nursing
- Medical/surgical nursing
- Oncology nursing
- Orthopedic nursing
- Primary care nursing
- Psychiatric/mental health nursing
- Rehabilitation nursing
- Addiction nursing
- Perioperative nursing
- Correctional nursing
- Emergency nursing
- Geriatric nursing
- Occupational health nursing
- Hospice nursing
- Nephrology nursing
- Neonatal nursing
- Pediatric nursing
- Respiratory nursing
- School nursing
During your RN clinical training you will have the opportunity to work in many of these different fields. This will give you a fairly good idea of which fields you are most interested in, and which fields you feel that you could make the most difference in. This is another reason why nurses have to do clinical RN training when on their route to becoming a medical professional in the field of registered nursing. If you already have an idea from your time as an LPN as to which specialty you are interested in, you will often be given the chance to do your RN clinical in that area of nursing, thereby improving your chances of getting a job in that domain.
Gain Hands-On Experience
One thing that goes without saying in terms of training to be an RN is that the theory work that you learn in your degree program is insufficient to replace real world experience as a nurse. because a job like this is incredibly practical and hands-on, the main purpose of the RN clinical portion of your training is to adequately prepare you for the real life nursing situations that you will be faced with throughout your career. There is nothing more valuable for a job like this than gaining experience in a practical setting. Through this experience you will start to develop a clearer idea of what is expected of registered nurses in a health care environment as well as how to communicate with patients within the bounds of your job role as an RN. You will also be able to develop a working understanding of how the health care team works, which in turn will allow you to understand the hierarchy of the health care profession and where you, as a registered nurse, will fit into that hierarchy. The work etiquette and dress code is also something that you will develop an understanding of during your RN clinical training, another important preparation aspect.
How Can I Be Prepared For A Clinical Course?
Here are some tips for you to keep in mind for a clinical RN course:
- Always arrive for your course prepared. This means brining your drug book, care plan, stethoscope and a black pen, as well as a note book in which to take notes about what you see.
- It is important to always be on time. This means that you will not miss anything and that you will not feel flustered during the clinical training.
- Follow the dress code as it has been laid out for in every detail in order to avoid drawing negative attention to yourself.
- Do some reading the night before you first RN clinical on the skills that you will be expected to have and see if you can pick up any useful knowledge for your first day in an actual health care setting.
- Do not believe everything that you are told. Make sure that you receive your instructions from a supervisor directly and not passed on from another trainee. There are many things you are not allowed to do as an RN in training, and you can get into bog trouble if you do not follow basic scope of practice guidelines. DO not go beyond your scope of practice for any reason at all.
- Never allow yourself to look unprofessional at any point during your RN clinical training.
Where Can I Get My Clinical Experience?
There are a number of different locations where you will be able to get clinical hands-on training in order to receive your RN qualification.
Hands-On Hospital Nurse Training
Many actual hospitals offer hands-on training programs that result in diploma’s or associate’s degrees in nursing. These are the programs through which you will get the highest density of RN clinical training. An example of such a hospital is:
Ohio Valley General Hospital
School of Nursing
25 Heckel Road
McKees Rocks, PA 15138
Community College Nurse Training
If you attend a community college instead of an actual hospital in order to gain your experience you will need to complete your RN clinical training in a participating facility outside the college. An example of such a community college is:
Queensborogh Community College
The City University of New York
222-05 56th Ave.
Bayside, NY 11364
College And University Nurse Training
These programs are highly theory intensive and long, with RN clinical training being completed in a participating facility outside the university. An example of such a university is:
University of Pittsburgh
School of Nursing
3500 Victoria St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
The Problem With Online Training Schools
There are a number of schools available that offer RN training online. However there is clearly a big problem with schools such as these. This problem is that you will be unable to complete the invaluable and necessary clinical section of your course work if you study only online. If you come across an online RN program claiming to offer your entire qualification only online, treat it with suspicion as this is simply not possible.
However, online options do not need to be ruled out altogether. The theory side of your training can be completed online. The better online schools have affiliations with schools and health care settings where you can complete your clinical training once you have completed the online portion of the work. Other online schools will require you to source your own location for doing your RN clinical training. As long as you do your clinical training in an acceptable setting, there is no reason why you cannot complete your theoretical RN training online.
Instead of looking on the clinical side of your RN training as an annoyance or inconvenience, you can choose to look on it as something that will help you in terms of your future career as an RN. This is an essential aspect of your training. Not only will you find the theory exam easier to write if you have actually done the things you are writing about, but it will also provide you with the valuable experience that you need in order to be a successful registered nurse in an actual health care setting. Your RN clinical does not need to be a trial.