Preparation for a healthcare career is a long and exhausting journey. Medical professionals have to equip themselves with diverse soft and hard skills to assume the daunting responsibilities of the battlefield. Medical education and practice do not merely prepare students for jobs. Instead, medical universities ensure medical students go through holistic skills development training. Students must know the standards and protocols of medical practice before interacting with patients. That’s why clinical sessions and internship experience are inevitable to their training.
Clinical sessions instill various skills in medical students, such as laboratory testing, examining patients, interpreting diagnostic reports, monitoring vitals, and administering medicines. They also acquire and polish professionalism, teamwork, communication, organization, and confidence. Though students do not have first-hand involvement in clinical procedures, they observe and learn techniques and approaches. Learning sessions help them comprehend how theoretical knowledge applies to practical cases and on-ground situations. In essence, prior know-how, training, and experience simplify their journey to get started with their professional responsibilities.
The following sections explore how clinical learning contributes to the professional journey of medical students.
1. Learn and utilize soft skills
The medical curriculum has more focus on technical skills than soft skills. The training builds excellent healthcare providers, but they lack interpersonal skills. Hence, they appear aloof and grounded in their conduct. Sometimes, their conduct, behavior, and personality make it hard for patients to interact and share their healthcare problems. Therefore, the know-how and experience of soft skills are essential for all healthcare workers, even if they do not supervise such duties.
Some circumstances may require you to assume responsibilities outside your job scope. And the diversity of skills is necessary when you serve at the forefront of the healthcare system. For instance, public health careers require leadership, administrative, and teamwork skills. Public health workers are chief facilitators and mediators between healthcare experts and communities. They assist experts, deliver information, supervise campaigns, and train tertiary care workers. In such cases, interpersonal skills help you create a conducive environment as an assistant, delegator, supervisor, and facilitator.
In short, learning varied soft skills enhances your outlook, interaction, teamwork, and practice. You can better understand patient demands and the business goals of the healthcare facility and provide better healthcare service. So, focus on improving your soft skills alongside technical know-how.
2. Observe existing and new trends in medical practice
Practice, knowledge, and treatment approaches in the medical field continue to evolve. What you read in books and classroom lectures today may already be an outdated version for clinical workers. The gap between expectations versus reality applies to the medical field as well. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean professionals do not follow the standard practice or universities rely on outdated curricula. Since practical situations can be unpredictable, on-ground health workers endeavor to respond to emerging scenarios with the most effective approaches. And those approaches may contradict theoretical knowledge.
In addition, classroom lectures and presentations cannot simulate the real-life circumstances of a healthcare facility. Universities cannot afford to equip their laboratories with the same diagnostic and examination equipment as hospitals. More importantly, they cannot present real-life patients in labs or classrooms to brief you. Many universities integrate hospital environments within their vicinity so that students can access clinics and learn from experts. Thus, clinical learning helps you observe how medical practice is evolving and improving.
3. Better diagnosis and analysis skills
Forming a diagnosis report is easy when you work in the comfort of a classroom or your personal study space. You have all the material to cross-refer if you are in the right direction. But real-life situations can be nerve-wracking and stressful, preventing you from maintaining self-composure. And so, clinical learning sessions expose medical students to on-ground situations in a healthcare facility. Clinical sessions facilitate students with patient interaction and improve their learning and practical skills. They also polish their observation when they enquire about patients’ medical history, conduct examinations, construct and evaluatea diagnosis report, and present their analysis.
Feedback from mentors and experts further helps them cross-check their analysis accuracy. They can rectify their mistakes and build upon their knowledge and experience right away. And their analysis and comprehension improve as much as they attend to different cases and situations. In the end, they can look after patient needs more accurately, attentively, and confidently.
4. Expedite integration into the workplace
Clinical learning provides hands-on experience to medical students, and it’s a must-have requirement for almost all healthcare jobs. Healthcare employers scrutinize your candidature and potential based on your work experience. Many hospitals bypass candidates even for entry-level positions if they do not have prior clinical experience. Thus, clinical experience is an inevitable requirement, even for newbies. Though you cannot accumulate experience if you have not started your career journey yet, the clinical experience can back up your profile.
Clinical engagement and experience act as a bridge to simplify and smoothen your transition from academic life to the professional workplace. So, do not skip your clinical rounds and ensure active engagement with patients, staff members, and mentors. Interaction during the training phase minimizes ambiguity and hesitation and improves your confidence. You can highlight and utilize your skills when you finally enter the job market. Hence, do not hesitate to assume responsibilities, even to assist the nursing staff. Accept initiatives, utilize your knowledge and soft and hard skills, and offer diagnosis suggestions while going through examination rounds with your teachers.
5. Improve healthcare service and patient safety
Interaction with patients is essential to delivering quality healthcare services. And the ultimate goal of medical education is to train students for first-hand interaction with patients and real-life circumstances. But interaction and engagement without sufficient training can endanger vulnerable and feeble patients. And that’s why students go through training under the supervision of experts in clinical learning sessions. They observe how experts interact with patients and learn from their approaches. They are not just passive observers and learners during training. Skills and traits of seniors also polish students’ knowledge and expertise regarding a therapeutic procedure.
Mentors also encourage students to present their observations, evaluate laboratory reports, and spot flaws in diagnosis. They can also rehearse their skills with minor procedures under the experts’ supervision. Likewise, they enjoy the freedom to comment or raise their concerns if on-ground practices contradict or violate standard guidelines and protocols.
Unarguably, you have to satisfy several prerequisites before embarking on a professional journey in the healthcare field. And clinical learning is one of the essential requirements of your professional training and healthcare jobs. Clinical learning sessions improve your skills, practice, expertise, and confidence. The process ensures your interaction with patients is as safe and efficient as possible. So, stay focused while visiting clinics and outpatient sessions.