Choosing a capstone clinical placement

  1. Hello. At my college during your second semester of your senior year, the last half of the semester is dedicated to completing hours under the guide of a preceptor in one specialty area, known as a capstone. For my purposes, I am a nursing student with interests in psychiatric nursing in the pediatric and adolescent population. However, I have heard time and time again that going into psych right off the bat can pigeonhole you into that area. Therefore my loose short-term career goal is to go into pediatrics and work for two years in a medical-surgical capacity. Having spent time at the site where I would be placed if choosing a psych specialty for my capstone experience, I can attest that there would not be many direct care opportunities or experience gained in performing physical interventions and skills.

    I decided that choosing a pediatric site would be the best bang for my buck during the capstone. I still would see plenty of mental health and social work issues, partner with families for care, and work with my preferred patient population. However, I would also be afforded more opportunities for things such as starting IVs, placing catheters, performing physical assessments, IV/SQ/IM medication administration...you get the point. I'm down to choosing between the various pediatric sites. There is the option of being placed in the pediatric ICU, a pediatric hematology/oncology wing, and a general pediatrics wing. I am struggling to decide which experience would be best for my career goals.

    Thoughts? Would love to hear from people who have been through something similar, but would love to hear thoughts period. It's hard for me to make a decision on this, and I have to do so by Monday! Please give me perspective!
  2. Visit decembergrad2011 profile page

    About decembergrad2011, BSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 479; Likes: 771
    Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Oncology

    2 Comments

  3. by   usfsn2012
    Hi, I'm in the middle of filling out my capstone application (its due tomorrow!) and it looks like I want to go into the same area as you - Adolescent health (I'd like to get my Nurse Practitioners license) with a certification in mental health as well. I pretty much came to the same conclusion as you did about choosing pediatric med/surg for my capstone. I've also gotten suggestions of requesting an ER placement because I'd get experience with children and adolescents and mental health and also good experience with rapid assessment skills.
    Basically, I wanted to know what you ended up requesting, where you were placed, and how did it work out for you?
  4. by   LadyinScrubs
    I suggest a pediatric oncology unit. Oncology is a specialized field and only nurses who are certified as oncology nurses can work with these patients. When I did my capstone, it was on the acute care oncology dept of a 900 bed well-known acute care hospital. The dept did not do outpt chemo. The oncology nurse did it all from acutely ill and/or ICU pts (remember only an oncology nurse can work with an oncology pt--ICU nurses are not oncology nurses.) Oncology nursing will test your skills, knowledge of labs and tests as well as when to know/what to do if the patient deteriorates. Even if you decide not to go into that field, you will have had good training.

close