What is a clinical?

Hands-on experience in both the Chamberlain SIMCare CenterTM and the on-site clinical setting allow nursing students to work side by side with faculty, mentors, peers, and experienced professional nurses as they refine their direct patient-care nursing skills. These skills include technical proficiency, as well as those determined by the National Student Nurses’ Association as necessary for practicing professional nursing. These skills require an eagerness to learn, determination, confidence, acceptance, caring and “unbiased compassion for all.” (NSNA, 2008)


How do you prepare for clinical experiences?

Students who actively assume responsibility for their own clinical learning get much more out of clinical rotations than those who just passively observe. Accepting accountability for their academic and practical responsibilities, good mental and physical health, stamina and endurance, and the development of a sense of humor are keys to success throughout your clinical rotations. In a clinical setting, patient census and care needs constantly change. Students must maintain a flexible attitude as clinical assignments change in order to maximize their learning experience. This is good practice for the role of a professional nurse.


What are the requirements to start clinical experiences?

General expected clinical behaviors and outcomes are detailed in the Undergraduate Student Handbook and course syllabi and include required competencies and functional abilities. The Student Handbook also addresses dress code, attendance and punctuality. Nursing students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior, including good communications and effective interpersonal relationship skills, honesty, trust, integrity, and compliance with rules and regulations in a clinical setting.

Chamberlain is concerned with both the health and safety of its students and the patients they treat. Students are expected to be aware of their personal health, including their immunity to certain diseases. They also must be willing to submit to drug testing, possess current CPR certification, and be well versed in patient confidentiality and workplace safety issues.

Students work closely with their campus Clinical Coordinator and Corporate Clinical Compliance to become and remain compliant with all requirements throughout their enrollment at Chamberlain.


When do I participate in clinicals?

Regardless of whether a student is enrolled in the associate or bachelor-level nursing program, all students begin their hands-on learning in high-tech SIMCare CentersTM located on each campus. Once fundamental skills have been mastered and validated, students begin on-site, direct patient-care learning opportunities, or “clinicals”.

Generally, clinicals last for the duration of the clinical course. Clinical shifts average 6 to 8 hours, one to two days per week. Most clinicals are scheduled during the week. However, second shift and weekends may be possible. The associate degree program has a total of eight clinical courses. The bachelor degree program has a total of nine.

Initial clinical courses provide students their first opportunities to interact directly with professional nurses, their patients and patient families, providing immediate reinforcement of assessment and other skills learned in the lab.

From there, nursing students in both degree programs will develop a mastery of medical/surgical nursing concepts and skills and experience two levels of adult health, with focuses on health promotion and the management of conditions that require acute and chronic care. All students experience both observational and hands-on learning in mental health, maternal-child also called “obstetrics,” and pediatric nursing.

The final associate degree program clinical rotations relate to multi-system alterations in adult patients, including complex interactions among various body systems and their implications for nursing care. There also is an advanced medical/surgical opportunity that explores acute and chronic complications, as well as patient and family discharge education. These experiences could occur in intensive-care units, acute-care units, and/or emergency departments/rooms.

Bachelor degree students experience two unique clinical-based courses: community health and collaborative health care, sometimes referred to as management or leadership. Community health clinical experiences occur within a community, where students assigned to a mentor or preceptor experience one-to-one or very small group settings in which health promotion or community-based health care is delivered. The collaborative health care clinical experience promotes critical thinking, patient care planning, delegation, relationships building, and confidence. This clinical usually takes place in an acute-care setting with an assigned mentor or preceptor.


Where will I complete clinical experiences?

Professional and proficient nursing doesn’t just occur in hospitals and neither should a nursing student’s clinical experiences. Chamberlain College of Nursing students may have opportunities to experience practice settings that include large and small hospitals, long-term care facilities, community and public-health agencies, faith-based service organizations, independent practices, ambulatory care centers, public health agencies, military services (Army, Navy and Air Force), Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers, schools, home health environments… anywhere health care is delivered. Students also may participate in service-based learning in other countries via international mission work opportunities. Chamberlain pre-licensure students work with a clinical coordinator on each campus for specific clinical placements.

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Classes begin every 8 weeks.

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