As my career through nursing school has progressed over the last two and a half years I have been blessed with the opportunity to participate in a multitude of clinical experiences. These clinical experiences have given me invaluable hands-on knowledge to facilitate with my coursework in the classroom. I believe that experiential learning is one of the main aspects of nursing school which distinguishes it from other majors. Through my clinical rotations I was able to acquire hundreds of hours in the clinical setting, allowing me to become better prepared for life after graduation. During my time in the classroom I learned valuable skills needed to excel in the nursing profession, but without my experiential learning I would not have had the opportunity to perfect these skills.
Spending several hundred hours in the clinical setting gave me time to practice and master these skills to a level appropriate for a graduate nurse. As future advance practice nurse I am now, more than ever before, aware of how much I still have to learn. I believe that learning is not just the momentary acquisition of knowledge or skills but only successfully occurs when knowledge and skills become honed and manifest itself in every aspect of practice. Looking at my future as advance practice nurse, I hope that I will always have a critical awareness of all the different role functions in a variety of circumstances. I’ve learned that different people are good at different things so as I prepare for my own advanced career, I try to find for each different advance practice role, a fellow professional whom I may consider the epitome of that specific role.
From one NP, I may learn how to be an expert clinician who seamlessly integrates knowledge into practice and from the next, more about how to be an advocate for a certain population. From the passionate, energetic physician’s assistant, I may learn how to present a practice issue in such a way as to effect clinical practice changes for the improvement of patient care. From the eloquent collaborating physician I may learn that being an expert does not mean that I know all the answers and that the best patient care actually flows from a team which works together for the benefit of their patients.