Today I had a short encounter at the unit clerk’s desk with one of my managers. “We might be getting another Capstone student,” she said. I tried to play it cool and say something to the effect of, “neat, I’m interested.” It definitely didn’t come off that calm and collected.
The Capstone Practicum is a course nursing students take in their final semester of school. Each school’s course content may vary, but each student participating in the program will be paired up with a preceptor in their clinical setting. Last school year I had the privilege of being preceptor to two Capstone students. The student gets X amount of clinical hours (100+) with their preceptor over several weeks. I act as a role model and show them what the nursing game is all about. My teaching style can best be described as, “uncensored.”
I still giggle a bit when I think of myself as a role model. I did not have this opportunity as a nursing student. In fact, the majority of nurses I came in contact with during my clinical rotations wanted nothing to do with my classmates or I. We would spend the majority of our time pouring through charts and looking up test results. Luckily, our clinical instructors were fantastic and found opportunities for us to learn each week.
Ever since that experience, I have felt an incredibly strong duty to ensure every nursing student I come in contact with learns something, even if it’s a joke. The Capstone students are great because we spend over 100 hours with them. It is more than a shadowing experience. Under the direct supervision of their preceptor, students can pull meds, check placement of naso-gastric (NG) tubes, change wound dressings, manage IV pumps, etc. etc.
In edition to all the technical stuff, I also cover nursing philosophy, time management, interdisciplinary collaboration, admitting/discharging patients, patient/family interaction, how to pass the NCLEX; this list goes on. Students often ask me if nurses eat their young, to which I reply, “crappy nurses do.” I understand I may end up working with some of these students. It is in my best interest to make sure they are comfortable in their practice and great at their jobs. It benefits everyone.
Needless to say, I would love the opportunity to work with another Capstone student. It has been a long Summer and, Winter is coming…
(I am always interested in hearing about your learning experiences. Feel free to drop me any questions, comments or cheesy nursing jokes in the comment section below.)