We just received our practicum placements for our final semester in school, and I'm a bit worried about mine. We had little control over our placements, but we could request specialties. I requested pediatrics, thinking that I would be placed in a peds acute care setting, and if not, at least in some other acute care setting. Instead, I was placed at a middle school and will be working with a school nurse.
I'm concerned. I won't be developing acute care skills in this setting, like managing a patient case load, improving family centered care techniques, or using equipment that is commonly found at a hospital. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of changing my placement. I also did not do a nurse externship. I truly want to work in pediatric acute care after I graduate this May, but I'm scared this practicum is going to put me at a disadvantage.
Any ideas how I might work this to my advantage? I could definitely use suggestions for how I could translate this experience to acute care.
Mar 5, '12
trust me, you'll learn a lot about pediatrics. don't stress over what you think are "acute care skills," because if you get a job in acute care you'll learn them there. you'll see lots of family issues, you'll have all sorts of patient care loads. you may see kids with insulin pumps, feeding tubes, trachs, picc lines, seizures, and more drugs than you can count. do not make the mistake of underrating school nursing-- it's not just bandaids and tummy aches and midol for girls with cramps.
Mar 7, '12
Speak up with your mentor school nurse--tell her you want to be involved with the most complicated students--don't just observe, but ask if you can DO. If there aren't kids on vents in this district--maybe the nurse knows someone nearby who would let you shadow in another district for a day.
Mar 8, '12
It won't matter one bit that you were not placed in acute care because, again, you will learn these skills on the job, not as a student nurse. I am a retired PICU nurse now working as a substitute assistant school nurse taking care of special needs students. I've taken care of kids on vents, with GTs, who need cathed, even kiddos on TPN. We have many sick diabetics and asthmatics. If you are in the high school there is also plenty of psych and OB that my years of critical care nursing did nothing to prepared me for. You will learn that the school nurses' role is much like a primary care role in many places and she/he may be the only health care provider these kids see on a regular basis. Its a much bigger responsibility than I ever imagined in all of my years in acute care.
Best to you,
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