Advice on selecting a practicum?

  1. I'm a senior BSN student -- nontraditional (age 43), high GPA, self-motivated and all that stuff... but I'm very ADD and am absolutely TERRIFIED of having to juggle more than 2 patients at a time. I know I don't want to do med/surg, that being one of the top reasons.

    I think I eventually want to do either primary care, Peace Corps-type clinic work in other countries, or community health -- situations where I'm more likely to be able to focus (hopefully one patient at a time?) and work with less stress. I know my limits, and I make mistakes when I can't focus.

    My nursing program finishes up with 200 hours of practicum -- usually in either med/surg or ICU -- but sometimes they'll allow good students to work in other units if we can arrange it.

    Three questions (somewhat related):
    1. If I DON'T do either med/surg or ICU and find something else, am I knocking myself out of the running for a lot of jobs?

    2. What other areas should I look at that will allow me to focus on one patient at a time? Will the lack of med/surg experience be tremendously detrimental in those areas?

    3. Are there any other hospital units that are good for practicing skills but have lower acuity/stress/patient loads?

    Thanks for any advice!
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    About bloomicy

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 19


  3. by   love-d-OR
    Is this for a senior preceptorship of just a regular nursing clinical?
  4. by   bloomicy
    We're on a trimester system; our third term in the spring we do an intensive senior practical experience working 200 hours or more alongside an RN who is our preceptor.
  5. by   bloomicy
  6. by   BeachBayNurse
    Speaking from personal experience, if you work with any acute care population in a hospital, you will gain great experience. Personally, I thought a practicum on a med-surg floor was way too much for a student. I did part of my internship in an ICU and that taught me so much about different illnesses and gave me the chance to refine my assessment skills without being pulled in 100 directions on a med-surg floor.
  7. by   bloomicy
    Thanks, BBN... I'm surprised. I guess I thought med/surg would be a bit easier on a student due to lower acuity, but I guess ICU would allow more focus. Isn't ICU more stressful, or is it the other way around?
  8. by   Jolie
    Everyone has different opinions of what is "stressful". I started out as a new grad in an ICU setting because the thing that is most stressful to me is to have 8-10 patients up and down a hall who I can't see or know what is happening with them at any given moment. It is much less stressful for me to have total care responsibility for 1-2 patients who I can "eyeball" and have immediate access to at any given time.

    My advice is to choose an area that truly fascinates you. Nursing is hard work on a good day, and if you are caring for patients whose problems and needs are not incredibly interesting to you, you will have a difficult time. If med/surg is your passion, go for it. If it is not, then select an area that is.
  9. by   BeachBayNurse
    I am very happy that I chose ICU to do my practicum, I got to see what it was like without having to be the nurse ultimately responsible. My first clinical on med-surg was good for getting my feet wet at the hospital, however it seems that alot of precious practicum time would be wasted on trying to just keep your wits together with having five patients pulling you in different directions, as a student there is no way you could learn with all of those obstacles.