My name is Liew Jie Nee, a nursing student from cohort NU120 and I recently completed a two-month clinical placement at Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar Seremban in Negeri Sembilan (HTJS). I was assigned to medical wards so that we could meet our clinical learning outcomes, and I got the chance to observe numerous cases there. We had to undergo three semesters of our clinical practice continuously due to Covid-19. As a result, the duration of our clinical posting was extended to a six-month posting instead of the usual two months.
This clinical exposure had given me the opportunity to learn and develop skills that will be useful to me as a nurse in the future. As nurses, we should place a greater focus on treating patients and their families to assist in their recovery from illness and maintain their best health and quality of life of the patients.
My first clinical posting started with mixed feelings of both excitement and anxiety as this is the first time that I had the chance to interact with a variety of cases that I had previously either heard about or seen in the news, lectures, or textbooks. Most importantly, this will be my first clinical experience about the career that I have chosen for my future!
During the first week, I gained experience performing a variety of fundamental nursing tasks, including bed making, positioning of patients, taking vital signs, providing perineal care, administration of medications and other nursing skills. My friends and I arrived early at the ward to get to know our patients and prepare to listen to the nurse’s handover report before starting work. Hearing the nurses’ report is necessary because it will help me focus on the tasks to be carried out for the new shift. I also believe that it allows me to plan and ensure that everything is in order when providing patient care.
Additionally, with the supervision of my clinical instructor and a few staff nurses, I was able to perform nasogastric tube insertion for patients who were slightly delirious as well as urinary catheter insertion in other patients. Although the experience was difficult, it helped me understand how crucial patience is in that circumstance. Many of the tasks I performed in the ward, such as dressings, suture removal, surgical drain removal, and other tasks, made me realise and understand what my lecturers and clinical instructors meant regarding the importance of practising to be competent in my skills.
In addition, I have seen a few intubation procedures during my clinical practice. The incident I remember most was when the blood pressure of a patient that I was caring for started to fluctuate and her level of consciousness started to wane which resulted in her being intubated. For the nurses to be effective during an emergency, they are required to acquire the ability to handle both physical and mental pressure. I observed how quickly the doctors and nurses set up every piece of equipment that day and calmly perform the intubation for the patient. I realised the importance on how to set priorities, make correct decisions and being competent when caring for patients as their lives depend on us.
I am aware that this being the first time that I am experiencing clinical posting, I lack confidence in having many patients under my care. However, I believe that I can improve my confidence over time by working closely with my clinical instructor, senior colleagues as well as with the nurses in the ward. In addition to that, establishing effective communication with my clinical instructor, especially when seeking assistance or clarification, is advisable rather than pretending to understand what you have been asked to do.
I want to contribute effectively towards the care of my patients and thus motivate me to strive to perform better. It further strengthens my belief that self-development is of high priority because there is always room for progress throughout my training. I know I can grow both professionally and personally if I continue to self-reflect as it helps me to recognise areas for me to improve other than the ability to relate theory to practice.
Overall, I realised that clinical learning has made me more aware of my strengths and limitations. As a result, it significantly aids in the development and evolution of my confidence and nursing competencies. My communication skills have significantly improved as a result of the many opportunities to engage with patients, families, and healthcare professionals during my clinical exposure in the hospital.
It was truly an enriching yet enjoyable clinical practice experience. Other than my lecturers and clinical instructors, I am grateful to the nurses and doctors including the sister in charge who was very supportive and created opportunities for us to learn throughout the clinical posting. It was a memorable and enjoyable clinical experience that helped us become better nurses in the future. With that said, I look forward to my next clinical posting attachment scheduled in December 2023!
Written By Liew Jie Nee (IMU Bachelor of Nursing (Hons), Year 2 Semester 4)
Reviewed by Azaria & Dr Lim Swee Geok