What Makes a Great Clinical?

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The clinical typically is the most important aspect of any education/training program in health care. It's the portion of a curriculum where the student takes what he or she has learned in the classroom or lab and puts that knowledge and those skills to practical use in a real-world setting.

It's what gives the future health care professional the final preparations they need before setting forth in a real job.

"It is nothing like the experience of therapeutically communicating with a patient and/or providing those life-saving skills to a person versus a mannequin," said Latoya Lawhorne, Director of Nursing at Concorde Career Institute's Miramar, Fla. campus. "Students get empowered and motivated when they experience real-life situations and the joyous feeling of that warm smile and thank you from a patient."

Different strokes

Of course, the aspects of a great clinical experience are much different for each field of health care. A Concorde health care clinical in Surgical Technology is much different than one in Nursing, or Medical Assistant, or any other that we offer. But, the basic premise is the same for all - gaining practical experience to help patients in any real-world situation that might occur.

"Our ST students work in the operating room where it is life and death," said Edward Kreiner, Campus President at Concorde Career College - San Antonio. "They have to have thick skin and thrive in a fast-paced and rigorous environment where patients are at the mercy of the operating team. This gives the students a sense of overwhelming pride in truly saving a patient."

Clinical rotations for Concorde's Surgical Technology program typically are 18 weeks in length and afford students ample opportunity to meet the programmatic requirements of the curriculum, according to Karyn Songer, CST, FAST, Surgical Technology Program Director at Concorde - Aurora.

In Aurora (Denver area), clinical rotations are Monday-Friday, primarily in the day but occasionally in the evening as required by clinical partners. The rotation requires a minimum of 120 cases with experience gained in general surgery and a minimum of four specialty areas.

"The hours and increased clinical time provide students with an extraordinary amount of surgical cases, making them much more marketable in this competitive Denver market," Songer said.

Creating beautiful smiles

Concorde's Dental Hygiene students start in their fourth term seeing patients from the community. According to Kreiner, some patients leave clinics with tears in their eyes when they come to their last appointments because the students have truly made differences in their lives.

"We have patients constantly saying on our surveys that they have never been given so much personal attention as they have been given here at the Dental Hygiene Clinic at Concorde," Kreiner said.

Helping with debilitating physical ailments

Students in our Physical Therapist Assistant program perform clinicals at physical therapy clinics where people are recovering from surgery and trying to cope with debilitating physical ailments. These students see patients at their most vulnerable and serve as a second set of legs or arms to give them the confidence and ability to overcome obstacles and live life the best they can.

Surgical Tech students work in the operating room where it is life and death. This combination of stress and exhilaration in working with and saving patients leads to a great sense of pride for most in the field.

Respiratory Therapy students are the breath of life for their patients, providing support in hospital and nursing home settings.

Feeling part of a team

"Our students get to put their learned lab skills into action at various local hospitals, surgery centers, assisted living and rehabilitation centers," said Erin Henry, Market President of Concorde - Dallas-Grand Prairie. "We also have specialized rotations to offer students. One of our PTA specialty rotations offers students the ability to work with patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries."

Students also work with children on early intervention programs and the acquisition of developmental skills. Nursing students get to participate in therapeutic techniques for mental health patients. Our ST students get to experience the world of robotics in surgery, and one student even got to assist in a total hip replacement.

"The clinical experience leaves the student feeling valued and respected as an integral part of a health care team."

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“I am eternally grateful to Dr. Lu-Ping Gamble at the Garden Grove campus. They not only lit a spark, they lit a torch in my heart that shall burn forever! My education changed my life and has had a huge positive impact on the person I am today.”

Jamie Troccoli
Vocational Nursing graduate

“Without the support of certain instructors … I would not have pushed myself to grasp the concepts and pass my boards on the first attempt. Once I passed my boards, it was less than one month after that I landed my first Respiratory Therapist job where I am currently working with so much joy every day.”

Marcus Streator
Respiratory Therapy graduate