Clinical Placements Guide by Senior Nursing Lecturer Dr Joy Penman

Dr Joy Penman holds a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Nursing and Pharmacy. She completed her doctoral studies in Nursing. Joy is a senior lecturer and teaches at Monash Nursing and Midwifery. She has over thirty years teaching experience locally and abroad and many years nursing experience in various health care facilities.

clinical placements

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After many years of teaching, supervising directly or indirectly students during placement, and listening closely to them, I have formulated my strategies for successful clinical placements. I refer to them as ‘golden nuggets’ because they encapsulate the lessons learned through the reflections and experiences of my students, which I interpreted and synthesised. When reading the tips, please bear in mind that nursing is relational, more than performance-based. Hard-work is good but it not enough, relationships are crucial.

Here it goes:

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1) Be prepared

Come with clear objectives for the day and work towards completing them.

2) Be knowledgeable

Revise on conditions, medications, care plans etc. Look up new information and answers to questions.

3) Be involved and focused

Apply yourself and find every opportunity to learn and expand your understanding. (Don’t just stand around.)

4) Be helpful

Find opportunities to help patients and co-nurses.  Ask others how you could help. Be a team player.

5) Be teachable and humble

Welcome instructions, corrections and criticisms. There is much to learn and consider all these as opportunities to grow as a nurse.

6) Be positive and cheerful

Everybody likes to work with positive and cheerful individuals. Also, count the good stuff that happens during the shift.

7) Be communicative

Tell others you wish to learn, communicate your willingness to assist, ask questions, and contribute and practise your skills.

8) Be reflective

Reflect on your strengths and limitations. Enhance your positive personal traits and work on areas of weakness.

9) Be flexible and adaptable

Remember that change is part of living, and so the key to being a resilient nurse is being able to adapt to change.

10) Be sociable

Keep family close, make friends, and maintain social networks. Greet people at work, and eat with your workmates. Attend those socials.

11) Be healthy

Your health is a protective factor at work. It is essential that you have good physical and mental health.

12) Be polished and well-groomed

Looking and smelling the part will boost confidence and self-esteem.

13) Be able to self-manage

You need to develop and expand your own coping skills and strategies. When not working, engage in things that make you happy!

14) Be resilient

Foster resilience by understanding yourself, setting goals, moving towards the goals, taking-action, building relationships, making connections, being positive and reflective, forgiving, having faith, and willing to bounce back after a set-back.

As nurses, we can positively impact the lives of people. What an awesome job we have!

Wishing you an enjoyable and informative clinical placement!

Dr Joy Penman

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