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Nursing Practicum

Intro...

Understand The Requirements

As mentioned during the planning stage, it is imperative you understand the requirements the practicum site and preceptor need to meet for each course(s) and that you understand the role they play.

REFRESH YOUR MEMORY - link here to the same info on plan for practicum

Preceptor Role & Responsibilities: 

Preceptors:

  • Are qualified practitioners employed by the practicum site
  • Are responsible for supervising you during your practicum. 
  • Collaborate with faculty during the course to ensure you are meeting the clinical outcomes and performance objectives

Responsibilities of a Preceptor include:

  • Orienting you to the practicum site, personnel, policies, and procedures.
  • Guiding, directing, and supporting you, to facilitate the achievement of practicum learning objectives.
  • Providing opportunities for role analysis, as well as the application of skills and knowledge.
  • Providing feedback and evaluation, and supervising work.
  • Completing evaluations to assess your work during practicum.
  • Meet with your clinical instructor as required.

 

Practicum Site Role

  • A practicum site is a healthcare facility, health care agency, or other appropriate setting at which students have supervised, applied practice experiences that are consistent with their education and meet the requirements of their program. 
  • The practicum site enters into an Affiliation Agreement with Walden University to provide a safe and appropriate supervised learning experience. The practicum site also establishes the policies, procedures, and protocols that students are expected to follow while working at the site.

 

 

Review Section 1 of the Manual for more roles and responsibilities. 

Prepare Professionally to Find a Site & Preceptor

Prepare Professionally to Find a Site & Preceptor

These Professional Preparation resources may assist you in your search for a field site. While they are not a required part of your application, it is recommended you review the resources as they may help you in your future career search as well.

Approach your practicum field site and preceptor search with the same diligence you would when looking for a job.  The search for a field site and preceptor can benefit from the resources provided below.

You should pursue sites and people that meet the requirement of the course(s) you need to take. Link back to requirements on plan for prac page.

Brainstorm Choices

  • Search Meditrek to see a list of sites students have used in the past 
  • Try a general search on LinkedIn for someone who works at a site you are interested in
  • Search the web for possible sites in your local area
  • Reach out to your professional network
  • Try people outside your professional network.
  • Get creative & flexible
  • Watch a Webina

 

Get more information by reviewing Section 4 of your manual. Link to all manuals? Are all sections going to align ? 

 

Search Meditrek for Recently Used Field Sites

You may search active affiliation agreements Walden University has in Meditrek. Some field sites may not be appropriate for you as an MPH student. Even if an active agreement exists, you will need to work with the field site to ensure they can take you during the period that aligns with your course. 

The presence of an active agreement with a field site does not imply automatic approval of your practicum application.  

Walden pursues affiliation agreements with new field sites whenever possible. Walden University has resources and staffing available to negotiate new affiliation agreements. Contact the Office of Field Experience if your field site is not listed.

Communicate with Preceptors & Practicum Sites

  • General Communication (expanding button)
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    • Prepare: 
      • Research
      • Practice
    • Follow-Up: 
      • If the preceptor/practicum site provided you with a timeframe for a response, do not reach out prior.  If the time frame you were given has passed, you can reach out to the preceptor/practicum site.  If an preceptor/practicum site stated a deadline for making a decision, wait to contact the organization until after that deadline.  If the deadline has passed, send an e-mail or place a call restating your interest and politely asking for an update.
  • Phone Calls (expanding button)
    • Phone Inquiry
      • Ideally, your contact will be someone who may be able to serve as a potential preceptor. This person may already a part of your professional network or is someone who has been referred to you by a family member, friend, colleague, or someone in your professional field. Here is sample language you could use in your approach:
      • Hello Ms. Field Site Administrator, my name is ________and I’m a graduate student pursuing a master’s/doctoral degree in Nursing at Walden University. I received your name from ________, who mentioned that you work in _______ at XYZ Health Network. As I prepare for a future career as a Nurse Practitioner, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, learn more about your work, and discuss the possibility of my completing a practicum/applied practice at your site. Would you have 10-15 minutes to meet with me over the phone or in person?
      • ​​​​​​​If the response is a yes, say: Thank you! What time and date are you available to meet? If the response is a no, state: I understand you are very busy and I greatly appreciate your time. I would like to send you my resume and practicum requirements in case any opportunities do open up. If you don’t reach the individual and need to leave a message, conclude by providing your number and stating: I greatly appreciate your time and look forward to connecting with you.
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    • Phone Interviews
      • A phone interview is typically an initial screening to determine if you are a potential fit for the position.  To prepare, research the company and person interviewing you, familiarize yourself with the job description, and review common interview questions.

        Prepare a space that is free from interruptions.  Use a land phone line if possible, or make sure your cell phone has strong service.  Have a pen, paper, and copy of your resume nearby. Once it is time for the interview, sit up tall in your chair, have a smile on your face, and answer questions confidently.

  • Emails (expanding button)
    • Email Inquiry
      • When you reach out via email, you have a chance to showcase your written communication skills. Your inquiry letter should include a greeting, closing, and signature. Emails and letters should also be free from typos and grammatical errors. Here is sample language you could use in your approach:
      • Dear Ms. Lund: I am a graduate student in a CEPH-accredited Master’s in Public Health/Doctor in Public Health program at Walden University. I am inquiring about a potential practicum opportunity at your agency. I received your name from ________, who mentioned that you specialize in infectious diseases. I would be grateful for an opportunity to meet or talk over the phone about how I could contribute to your center as a practicum/applied practice student. I have enclosed my resume, which highlights my experience and qualifications. If you would like to learn more about Field Experience requirements for my program, I invite you to visit the following page: https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/public-health-practicum. I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your department’s needs and further discuss my qualifications and program requirements. I appreciate your time and look forward to connecting with you at your convenience. Sincerely, [Your First and Last Name]
  • Face-to-Face (expanding button)
    • Potential Practicum Site Visit
      • To prepare for a face-to-face site visit, consider the following:
        •  Dress in business attire.
        • Bring a notebook, pen, and copies of your resume.
        • Exhibit a friendly, professional demeanor.
        • Introduce yourself at the front desk.
      • Here is sample language you could use in your approach:
      • Hello, my name is ________and I am a graduate/doctorate student studying to become a public health professional. I am interested in learning more about your center and speaking to someone about practicum/applied practice opportunities. Could you suggest someone who may be able to answer my questions?
    • Interview - For more resources on Interviews visit the Career Services Website or [Link Out?]
  • Follow-Up (expanding button
    • Questions
    • Thank you
      • Send a thank-you letter after an interview, as it shows your gratitude for the interviewer’s time and consideration. This letter should be short and to the point: Reflect on your enthusiasm for the position and briefly highlight some of the major points discussed.  We recommend sending an e-mail, as it will reach the interviewer quickly.
      • EXAMPLE:
    • Preterm Check In

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