15 tips to enhance healthcare students’ clinical placement experience

clinical placement

Do clinical placements resonate with you? If you are a medical student, yes it will. Taking baby steps from the pre-clinical to the clinical field can be both challenging and overwhelming. The range of decisions involved in clinical placements can present considerable challenges for nursing students, which can even lead them to question their skills and knowledge. 

As healthcare students, we know your anxiety about how to get the best from your placement, how to prepare for it, etc. This blog post aims to provide tips for healthcare students in order to maximize their placement opportunities. 

What are clinical placements?

Clinical placements are an essential part of healthcare professional education, giving nursing students the opportunity to a range of experiential learning activities. It allows them to “self-reflect” while they face challenging situations and try to prepare and improve them for the future. This is why NMC currently requires 2,300 hours spent in clinical placement, and has made it mandatory for pre-registration nursing training. 

The importance of effective clinical placements

If you were to ask what effective clinical placement does, here are they;

✦ It helps meet the statutory and regulatory requirements.

✦ To attain the intended learning outcomes and competencies, as aligned by the regulatory body’s requirements.

✦ Helps nursing students realize the diversity of learning opportunities available within health care.

✦ Helps provide a holistic range of patient-centered care and offers better patient care outcomes.

✦ Gives students a sense of being valued and safe within a growing culture. 

✦ Gives an opportunity to work with experienced mentors and expand partnerships with them.

✦ Initiates to apply knowledge learned from experiences

Tips to improve clinical placement experience of healthcare students

With the rising challenges looming for students in health care today, it is necessary that they start preparing for their learning experiences before they take up placement. The tips presented here directly or indirectly supports student learning in clinical placements and may be suitable for universities, health care services, and professional teams. They help students stay focused on their preparedness for the forthcoming placement session more confidently.


  1. Right from the beginning of your placement, continue planning with your mentor. Be in regular touch with your mentor and keep them informed of any concerns or problems you may have that impact your experiences, both within the placement or personal.  This facilitates the development of clinical skills and integrates theory with practice.
  1. Reflect with your personal tutor upon the practice experience and take action together where needed.
  1. Truly successful clinical placements rely on effective communication. Consistent open communication nurtures engagement and self-direction in students, leading to quality learning. Therefore as a student clarify the expectations of your institution and industry partners. Get on with career hub learning to gain appropriate patient-centered care. Understand the learning objectives of the placement, tasks for assessment, schedule, roles, procedures, and support structures before the placement experience.
  2. Focus on sharpening both technical and non-technical knowledge and skills. This is undoubtedly important in every student’s placement. The current conception of clinical work-readiness calls for social intelligence, organizational acumen. Therefore ensure to possess cognitive and procedural skills to undertake placements successfully.
  3. The clinical placement curriculum is demanding, which can trigger anxiety and stress in students, which could inhibit you from reaching your full potential and may even lead to dropping out. Therefore as students, you need to prepare well for the clinical placements ahead of time.
  4. It is vital that healthcare students receive clinical experience in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Considering the ever-changing medical education in the UK, clinical experiences can assist students to adapt to the changes when they graduate. Therefore make sure the institution you adopt to has clinical placements as part of your undergraduate curriculum.
  5. Carefully read the clinical placement requirements – right from everything related to clinical placement, its goals, rights, and responsibilities, patient safety, giving and receiving feedback, etc.
  6. Make the most out of your placement by developing an Individual Learning Plan. It is always better to draft a learning plan with your supervisor. This will help you reflect on your learning goals and learning styles, the learning objectives for the unit, and negotiate strategies to meet your learning goals with their supervisor, overseen by their clinical placement coordinator. 
  7. Create strong portfolios that relate to your curriculum development and learning outcomes.
  8. Study clinical scenarios through text, podcasts, videos, apart from real-life learning. 
  1. Display a sense of willingness to work as part of the team that is best in the delivery of safe patient care.
  2. Learn to vocalize your needs and adopt probing and a reflective approach to your learning within the multidisciplinary team.
  3. Ensure you acquire clinical skills at each stage of your course is attempted under the supervision of a skilled practitioner, with continuous and constructive feedback. 
  4. Self-reflect on your progress and self-evaluate your achievements. This will help you meet the placements more confidently.
  5. Make sure you meet the deadline to submit all practice placement documentation and assessments of practice to the HEI well ahead of the due date.

Time to move up

Students should be adequately prepared for all clinical placements. They should be aware of the learning objectives for each placement and have had the educational preparation necessary to meet these objectives. 

Following the above tips will help you face placement cell bravely and get placed in a fulfilling nursing career that you have always dreamt of. 

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