Quote from lovingmytwins
Im starting my last block in nursing next week. I'm nervous about my preceptorship experience, and of course I want to get as much out of it that I can, especially since i've heard how hard it is to get hired as a new grad. I would LOVE to get into the OR area or PostPartum - which is probably a S-T-R-E-T-C-H. I guess my question is, what can I do to make my experience count? And is there material I should be an expert on - I'll be going to a MedSurg floor.
First of all, congrats on making it this far!
Exciting, isn't it? I will be finishing up my preceptorship next week, which took place on the medical/surgical telemetry unit, so I thought I could offer you some pointers.
1. Before you start, make specific goals that you want to accomplish during your preceptorship and list steps of how you plan to achieve those goals. (This may be required by your nursing school already - it was for ours - but it's really helpful to make a plan ahead of time.)
2. Communicate with your preceptor: let her know if you have any particular fears, concerns, or weaknesses, and let her know what your specific goals are so she can help you achieve them. Be honest with her and let her know how you are feeling, because she won't be able to read your mind.
3. Be EAGER to learn and practice your nursing skills - especially skills you haven't had an opportunity to perform yet. Communicate this eagerness to your preceptor, the charge nurse on the unit, and the other RNs on the unit. I had nurses who weren't my preceptor coming to find me to see if I wanted to start IVs, insert a NG tube, etc. because they knew I was a student and that I wanted the practice.
4. MAKE FRIENDS with the other RNs and with the PCTs/CNAs if you have them on your unit. (And by make friends, I don't mean gossip with them in the break room, but help them out if you have time, be friendly, and bring snacks.
) The PCTs will really help you out with your patients and the RNs may give you some really neat opportunities to practice your skills. Plus, if you end up wanting to apply for a job at that particular hospital, it's always nice to have other employees who will put in a good word for you.
5. ASK QUESTIONS! This is your time to learn. Yes, it is preceptorship and you are expected to come with a fairly adequate knowledge base, but you are still a STUDENT, and you are expected to have questions and not know everything. This also shows your preceptor that you truly want to learn.
6. Arrive on the unit EARLY, especially on the day of your first shift, so that you can orient yourself to the unit and start looking up information on the patients you will be caring for that day. This will not only allow you to be prepared on time (or early), but it will also show your dedication to your preceptor and the other RNs.
7. Find a good balance between exercising your independence and having your preceptor check up on you. Since this is your preceptorship, you are expected to act a bit more independently than in your previous clinical rotations, but you are still a student, and it is your preceptor's nursing license on the line if anything happens, so make sure you are still checking medications and anything else you have questions about with your preceptor. *Patient safety always comes first!*
8. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. Hopefully you won't make any, but you ARE a student, and luckily, as long as no one is hurt and you didn't make the mistake on purpose, you probably won't get in trouble. If you make any medication errors that only you are aware of, make sure you report them! Remember, patient safety is key! And your honesty will be appreciated and probably admired.
9. Don't let the bad days get you down. I definitely experienced some crazy-hectic-super stressful shifts with some not-so-pleasant patients, but it's important to have these experiences as a student so you can learn how to handle them when you become a professional nurse. And I've always been lucky enough to be able to counterbalance the not-so-pleasant patients with some really amazing, sweet patients. Try to think happy thoughts! :spin:
10. I recommend buying your preceptor a little gift at the end of your preceptorship. At least in my state, preceptors volunteer to teach students and are not always paid extra to do so. Especially if your preceptor was great at teaching you and you had a good experience with her, it doesn't hurt to show her a little appreciation.
Also, before you start, I would recommend reviewing pharmacology and medications, nursing skill procedures (foley catheter insertion, NG tube insertion, IV insertion, priming IV tubing, NG/G-tube feedings, wound dressing changes, etc.), maybe disorders you see commonly on M/S units (COPD, CHF, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, etc.), and your nursing diagnosis textbook.
This is just some of what I have learned throughout my preceptorship. I wish you the best of luck! Learn as much as you can! And just think - you're almost done!!!