What Are Clinicals in Nursing?

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN program overview page or contact us at 866-890-9467.

Are you interested in nursing school, but are wondering: what are clinicals in nursing? Read on to learn what to expect during Xavier ABSN clinicals, how to best prepare, and how they will help you prepare for your future in the nursing field.

Xavier nursing student working with sim manikin

If you are looking to enter an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) and are researching the different components of the program, you may wonder “what are clinicals in nursing?” In this post, we will help you gain a better understanding of nursing clinical rotations.

For many nursing students, gaining hands-on experience through clinical rotations can feel intimidating at first. You are entering into a healthcare setting for the first time and figuring out how to apply everything you have learned in your courses and nursing labs. However, it can also be the most exciting and useful time of your nursing school experience as you prepare to step out into your career.

Building the Foundation

When starting your clinical rotations, you are doing so with prior knowledge and experience already under your belt. Your online classes and in-person simulation labs help establish a knowledge base to help you feel more confident entering a healthcare setting with real patients.

While your online coursework gives you the material you need to know in the workplace, your nursing simulation labs, which take place at our ABSN Learning Center, provide a safe contextual learning environment for you to take your clinical competency to the next level.

Xavier ABSN students working with sim manikin

If you would like to learn more about how simulation labs build the foundation for clinical rotations, read about the role of sim labs in your nursing education.

Clinicals in the Xavier ABSN Program

As a Xavier ABSN student, your clinical rotations will begin during the first semester. These supervised real-world experiences are the core of your nursing education, exposing you to different patient populations in diverse practice settings.

This early start with clinicals is unique to the ABSN program as most traditional BSN students don’t start clinicals until later in the program. This way, you can apply the material you learn from the classroom and simulation labs directly to your clinicals.

Xavier absn student smiling with patient in lab setting

You will complete clinicals with an array of focuses throughout your time in Xavier University’s nursing program. These focuses include:

  • Holistic mental health nursing care
  • Medical surgical
  • Health in the community
  • Population

Clinicals are active learning environments where you and other students in your cohort perform tasks a nurse would typically do in a situation. Our clinical placement sites include:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient clinics

Working in an array of clinical settings will help you become a more well-rounded nurse. You will experience what it is like to treat patients of all backgrounds and walks of life as you diversify your knowledge base through clinical experiences.

This will also greatly help you in the decision of where to work after you graduate. You will have options both inside and outside the hospital setting. For some, the fast-paced environment of the emergency room is ideal while others prefer working in labor and delivery with mothers and newborn children. For others, working in an independent family practice is the best choice. You experience in clinicals will help you discover what path you would like to take after graduating before committing to a full-time job.

Role Transition

During your final semester, you’ll participate in a role transition experience. This is where you gain concentrated clinical experience under the guidance of a preceptor (a trained registered nurse). You’ll work the same shifts as your preceptor, and as you refine your skills and build rapport with patients, you’ll take an active, if not primary, role in their care. This will help you gain confidence as you prepare to gain licensure and enter the workplace after graduating.

How to Prepare for Clinical Rotations

Your nursing clinical skills experience will give you realistic experience as a nursing professional, and as such, you will need to prepare accordingly.

xavier absn student listening in stethoscope

Make sure you have the proper scrubs/lab coat for clinicals according to Xavier’s uniform guidelines. It is important to wear your uniform with pride and professionalism to present yourself and the University in a positive light. Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes as well since you will be spending a great deal of time on your feet.

With all the time you will be spending in the healthcare facility during your nursing clinicals, you will also want to bring some additional supplies to help you succeed:

  • Note-taking supplies will help you with jotting any details or instructions down and will be a huge help for later when you want to look back at what you learned during your clinicals.
  • A binder for clinical paperwork will come in handy for any loose paperwork given to you to keep track of during rounds or for future reference.
  • A wristwatch can help when taking vitals and keeping track of the busy schedule of the facility.
  • A stethoscope will also help with taking vitals and becoming familiar with medical tools.
  • Healthy snacks are a must for long days at a medical facility. It is important that you have plenty of energy when on the job.
  • A water bottle can help you stay hydrated and alert, especially in fast-paced environments.
  • Any other supplies your instructor tells you to bring.

Carry all these items in a durable clinicals bag labeled with your name to help keep you organized.

Start Your Nursing Journey

As an accelerated nursing student, you’ll clock many hours of hands-on practice in your clinical rotations that will help you to emerge from nursing school as a fully equipped, confident nurse. Now that you have answered the question “what are clinicals in nursing?” it’s time to see if the ABSN program at Xavier University is the right fit for you.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to start developing your nursing skills, contact our admission team today! Be sure to ask about our ABSN program locations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio.