The beginning of the academic year can mean, for many allied health students – including those in a medical assisting, clinical laboratory science, or other health science program – trading the classroom for a clinical setting. Even the most confident students start to get nervous or begin to question whether they have the skills to perform in the clinical setting.
Here are a few tips that can help any student get through the initial days of their internship, externship, and/or practicum.
Relax! It is okay to be nervous. Most likely you have already met with your site supervisor and have toured the office or hospital you plan to intern. Many students doing an internship have a journal or record they have to keep to detail their daily experiences while at their clinical site.
One tip I give my clinical students is to write an entry the day or evening before they begin their internship, just to get their anxious thoughts out of their head and put onto paper. I love to read (as do students) their first post, filled with nervous feelings, and then read each day how they gain more confidence, tackle more responsibilities, and start to enjoy their experience.
Even if a journal is not required as part of the externship class, it may still be helpful for students to keep one for themselves.
During your internship, especially the first few days, so much is new to you and you are given so many instructions that it may be difficult to remember everything if you do not write it down. Also, one of the most frequent criticisms I used to get from site supervisors was that students needed to be told more than once how to perform a task or remember a certain instruction.
This is where the F.A. Davis Notes series comes in handy! I require my medical assisting students to purchase MA Notes. It fits in a scrub coat pocket, and they can use it to write down important information or refer to it when they need to remember the steps of a skill. Having a tool they can reference when needed adds to overall confidence throughout the day.
The first few days of a clinical experience can be very frightening for students, but remember these few tips for a little confidence boost, or pass them on to your own students, and you’re in for a successful experience!
Guest blogger Cheri Goretti, MA, MT(ASCP), CMA(AAMA) is the program coordinator and professor of medical assisting at Quinebaug Valley Community College, in CT. She is the co-author of MA Notes: Medical Assistant’s Pocket Guide and The Professional Medical Assistant.