Becoming a mental health nurse can feel more like a calling than a career choice. It requires a great deal of empathy and commitment and can be one of the most rewarding challenges that any healthcare professional can face.
Clinical placements for mental health nurses are an important tool in understanding the nature of the position and getting a first-hand look at how your care can deeply impact your patients. Studies have shown that both the students studying this important area of healthcare and the patients receiving the care benefit deeply from the personal contact that only one-on-one training can provide. Clinical placements can also help students feel more comfortable and confident in a clinical setting.
The importance of clinical placements
If you choose to follow this career path, you will want to pursue an education that offers diverse clinical placements so that you can get a full understanding of mental health and addiction care. Online schools such as Wilkes University offer online associate nursing degrees to Master of Science Nursing degrees with clinical placements in the area you are interested in.
Once you have attained your master’s degree, you can then move forward with becoming a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. Clinical placements are invaluable in this career path because they give you a chance to combine the theory you have learned with the practical applications, and they really give you a taste of what being a nurse in this field is all about. Online learning is convenient and is suited for those who are already in the nursing field and want to explore new options in their careers.
Clinical placements help alleviate stigma and fear towards patients
According to the National Library of Medicine, stigma among healthcare professionals is on par with that of the general population. Clinical placements can help reduce that fear and stigma among nursing students as you will have the opportunity to examine and interact with these patients. Personal experience with real subjects can help students work on compassion and empathy and get an idea of the level of care required. Some of the benefits of students interacting with mental health and addiction patients include:
- A more positive attitude toward patients with mental health issues
- An increase in confidence when caring for those with mental health concerns and illnesses
- A deeper understanding of psychiatric nursing
- The safe administration of medication
The theory in nursing education can give you the necessary knowledge you will need in order to enter your clinical placement with confidence. One is absolutely necessary for success in the other. Clinical placements will allow the student to take that theory and apply it to refining skills in therapeutic relationships and interpersonal relationships that you can’t read in a book. Studies have shown that students who go through a theory portion of learning prior to their clinical placement exhibit greater confidence and satisfaction with the job of mental health nursing.