The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


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February 23, 2024

Classes you dread but shouldn’t: Nursing Clinicals

Gannon University nursing majors often wrestle with a love-hate relationship with their clinical courses.

The nursing program at Gannon gives students their first taste of “on-the-job” experiences with clinical courses during sophomore year.

Mary Beth Moreland, nursing instructor, explains that the purpose of clinicals is to push students to apply theory to practice.

“[Students] learn to interact with patients, the ability to function with other medical professionals and families, and to be quick in administering shots and medication,” Moreland said.

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Moreland said that the level of intensity is disproportionate between clinicals and lecture classes. “The intensity of clinicals adds pressure to students, and they also have written work to do along with the physical work,” Moreland said.

Beginning Nov. 1, sophomores will work with patients to experience taking blood pressure, pulse and temperature. They also will begin to interview about medical history.

Sophomore nursing major Alexis Macklin admits that she has heard from many upperclassmen that clinicals are difficult. With that being said, Macklin is excited to test her skills.

Another nursing student, sophomore Kelsey Martin, shares Macklin’s enthusiasm. “In all of our health assessment classes so far this semester, we have been learning basic vital signs and how to interact with patients so I’m really excited to get out there, work one-on-one, and practice what I’ve been taught,” said Martin.

Junior nursing major Clarissa Garay agrees that clinicals are tough; however, she sheds light on the valuable side of the courses.

“The experience you get with clinicals is largely dependent upon the faculty, staff and instructor,” said Garay. “Each clinical is different based on those factors, and it really helps to have an approachable, constructively critical instructor.”

Junior nursing major Antonette Claar praises the experience gained from clinical. “They are stressful and a lot of work before, during and after, but they are definitely well worth the time in gaining hands-on experience that you cannot get from a classroom,” said Claar.

Clinicals carry a heavy workload. Shiella Dyke, junior nursing major, said that clinicals are definitely not easy.

“You have to take everything you’ve learned and apply it to clinical,” said Dyke. “It’s also scary knowing that you have an individual’s life in your hands and a little mistake can have huge consequences.”

Steph Clark, junior nursing major, admits that she dreads clinicals, knowing that she will never be fully prepared. “But they are so helpful in applying the knowledge we learn in the classroom to the real world,” said Clark. “We are able to watch real nurses work in their profession, and they sometimes offer us guidance for our future.”

Garay offers advice to nursing majors who haven’t yet conquered clinicals. “Clinicals can be an intimidating experience, especially at first when you are first getting oriented with a new facility and instructor. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you’re still learning and this experience is to help with your practice and show you what to work on—not to discourage you.”

Moreland said that some students will experience embarrassment more than once during their clinicals. “The goal is to use their learned skills and implement them in front of people,” said Moreland. “In the classroom, they are not actually performing on a patient.”

Essentially, Moreland said, above all, students must have a well-established knowledge of the procedures and medications in order to communicate them to the patient. The purpose of clinicals is not to frighten or discourage nursing students—it is to put theory into practice.


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