What to Expect in Nursing Clinicals

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Nursing clinicals are your time to gain real-world nursing experience under the guidance of an instructor. You’ll interact with real patients and complete tasks such as: taking a patient’s medical and surgical history, performing a head-to-toe assessment, inserting IVs and catheters, completing administrative tasks, and more.

nursing student holding lab equipment

The College of Mount Saint Vincent three-part Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program empowers you to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 16 months. As an ABSN student, you’ll learn key nursing theory concepts through accelerated nursing coursework and develop your nursing skills at on-site labs at our NYC ABSN program site locations in Riverdale and Long Island City.

You’ll then put that knowledge and skill into practice during clinical rotations at top healthcare facilities starting your first semester.

In this blog, we’ll cover nursing clinicals, what to expect during your rotations, and the skills you’ll learn while working alongside seasoned healthcare professionals.

What Are Nursing Clinicals?

Clinical placements allow students to get an idea of what a typical day as a nurse is really like. This is the time you’ll get to dip you toe into different specialty areas and practice the skills you’ve gained from coursework and labs.

Nursing students having a conversation in a clinical setting

Clinical rotations allow you to gain nursing experience while learning more about providing care in a variety of fields, including:

  • Adult health
  • Obstetrics and pediatrics
  • Acute and long-term care
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Intensive care
  • Maternity care
  • Pediatrics

You’ll also become familiar with how the healthcare facility you’re placed at runs its daily operations. Clinical placements are your time to learn about a wide variety of patient scenarios and find out what areas you may be most interested in.

Over the span of the 16 months spent in the program, you will complete a state board-required number clinical practice hours with respected clinical partners in the area, including:

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • NYU Langone Health
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Under the guidance of experienced instructors, you’ll learn how to interact with patients from all walks of life. You’ll become familiar with the medical equipment needed to provide the best care to patients, and you’ll learn best practices for treatment.

smiling nurse holding a clipboard

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You'll get the chance to network with a number of prominent healthcare experts in the New York metropolitan area as you continue to increase your understanding and confidence while working with patients.

The professional connections you develop during clinical assignments and within your cohort may help you with future career options when it comes time to start looking for jobs. Plus, the skills you learn and the experience you gain will provide a great place to draw from when it comes time to interview for your first job as a working nurse.

What Are Nursing Clinicals Like?

Your clinical placements typically start with a tour of the building and the wing/area that you’ll be working in for the semester. You’ll meet the facility’s staff members and learn to identify points of contact for anything you might need. Don’t feel pressure to learn everyone’s names right away. You’ll be taking in a lot of information in a short amount of time. Just be sure to be courteous, helpful and professional, and you’re sure to make a great impression.

Nursing student in lab setting with purple gloves

It’s a great idea to be able to identify emergency exits, lounges, kitchens, fire extinguishers, supply and storage closets, bathrooms, procedure rooms, and of course, patient rooms on your first day.

Just as a nursing job may vary for licensed registered nurses based on location and staff, your clinical rotation experience may also be different depending on where you are and who you’re working with.

two ABSN students working in sim lab

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For instance, some clinical teachers might immediately assign you several patients while others will introduce you to them gradually. Your clinical instructor may assign you to a nurse caring for a specific number of patients, have you work with just one patient, or pair you with another student or cohort companion.

Generally speaking, clinicals are a learning environment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sense of urgency. You’ll be involved in taking vitals, reading charts, and other routine tasks, but you may also encounter emergency situations that require you to think on your feet and act quickly.

Some other common tasks you may experience include:

  • Maintaining sanitation standards
  • Inserting/removing IVs and catheters
  • Completing administrative tasks
  • Recording patient’s medical and surgical history
  • Taking vitals
  • Performing head-to-toe assessment
  • Assisting in patient hygiene

It’s important to remember that all of your duties will be assigned based on your standing in the CMSV ABSN program.

Start Today

If you’re ready to embark on your nursing education and feel excited about experiencing your clinical rotations with our healthcare partners, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about our program.

Nursing students practicing on a manikin

If you like what you’ve read so far, and want to learn about leveraging your previous education to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months, contact our admissions team at the College of Mount Saint Vincent ABSN program today.