Clinical instructors are commonly employed in fields held mostly by women, like nursing. Clinical instructors also work in other health fields, including athletic training, physical therapy, dentistry and optometry. The instructor plays an important role in a student’s learning process by connecting classroom learning to real-life situations in a laboratory or on-site location.
While each state has a specific set of guidelines, generally clinical instructors must hold an active license in the state where she practices. For instance, to work as a nursing clinical instructor in Utah, you must have your current registered nursing license and be in good standing with the Utah State Nursing Board. In addition to a registered nursing license, or RN, most states require a bachelor's of science and some states even require you to complete your master's of science in nursing. For other health care clinical instructor positions, you must meet the state board requirements as well.
As an instructor, expect to observe and supervise between 10 to 12 students at a time. Each day you are required to take roll and verify attendance. You must be present at all times during the training. Instruction you provide is course-specific. For instance, nursing students will learn how to insert a catheter, administer medication and start intravenous treatment. Additionally, you must assess and evaluate each student and provide a final grade, generally an “S” for satisfactory or a “U” for unsatisfactory.
According to the Athletic Training Education Journal website, characteristics of a successful athletic clinical instructors include good communication skills, enthusiasm and high energy. Also, teaching effectively in a clinical setting requires teaching students at a level that matches their level of understanding. In other words, you must be able to adjust the training to meet the needs of your students.
Hospitals, medical facilities and education institutions, like universities and community colleges, employ clinical instructors. As an instructor, expect to work during the day for 8 to12 hours, depending on the clinical rotation cycle. However, if the clinical rotation requires nights or weekends, you must be willing to work unconventional hours. A great deal of standing is required during clinicals, since your students are giving patients direct care under your supervision.
- Health Careers Network: Job Description of a Clinical Instructor
- Utah Nursing Assistant Registry: Clinical Instructor
- Western Governors University: Become a Clinical Instructor or Coach
- Athletic Training Education Journal: Clinical Instructor Characteristics, Behaviors and Skills in Allied Health Care Settings
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