Senior Nursing Students Completing Preceptorships

As nursing students completing their final semester preceptorships at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Jinny Tran ’20 and Emily Duncan ’20 learned first-hand how vital their profession is and how well Dominican prepared them for any crisis.

For Jinny, the urgency to treat patients was matched by the urgency to graduate this spring in order to provide reinforcements for nurses on the front-line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After seeing the impact of COVID-19, I think it is especially important to complete my nursing education because many nurses are needed to help combat this pandemic,” says Jinny, a Senior 2 nursing student working alongside a Registered Nurse (RN) in the pediatric oncology/hematology unit.

Jinny, who lives in Santa Rosa, is well aware of the impact a disaster can have on emergency services. She witnessed first-hand the medical responses to the Northern California wildfires last year. Combined with her classwork, this experience helped her understand potential natural disaster scenarios.

“During our theory classes, there were several different sections on providing care during an environmental emergency or major disaster,” Jinny explains. “We learned in theory about how to deal with triage and how to manage patients during an emergency.”

At Children’s Hospital Oakland, Jinny quickly learned on the job while drawing on the instruction she received at Dominican in the School of Health and Natural Sciences. She credits her clinical instructors for giving her confidence and providing a solid foundation that has enabled her to grow as a nurse.

 “They provided impactful insight on how to take theory and use it in care,” Jinny says. “Their constant reassurance and guidance through the years have allowed me to feel comfortable and confident throughout my entire experience at Dominican.”

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Emily, who works in the Intensive Care Nursery, says the experiences in April made her proud of the profession. 

“I've never been so proud to – almost – be a part of the nursing profession after seeing how nurses advocate for both their patients and themselves,” she says. “Dominican has given me pride in my career choice and confidence that I can be a great nurse one day, and can face my future obstacles with the same dignity and heart that the nurses fighting COVID directly exhibit.”

Being put to the test during a pandemic can be stressful, but Emily draws confidence and comfort from her training – and practical advice: expect the unexpected, stay level headed, think critically.

Dominican's nursing program has prepared me to be ready to deal with anything,” Emily says. “Even when we had classes held in the simulation lab, our professors would always throw us one final scenario in which something unexpected happened, and we had to think on our toes and figure it out. In a time like this, I am extremely grateful for the lessons Dominican has shared with me.”

Emily was also grateful doing her clinical rotations at Children’s Hospital. Many hospitals and other health-care facilities where students complete their clinical rotations suspended these programs for students as the facilities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To precept in a high-acuity area, such as ER, ICU, OR, etc., she had to complete a separate preceptorship application process, then have her academic performance reviewed along with her personal statement as to why she sought to be placed in a particular unit/specialty. The selection process ended when the hospital indicated it had the availability and the willingness to allow her to precept there.

By the time Emily started her first shift at Children’s Hospital Oakland, she felt she was strong enough to do the job, but smart enough to know she didn’t have all the answers.

“There were many times throughout my four years here that I questioned if I was good enough, smart enough, kind enough to be a nurse. I met so many fantastic nurses during my experience and thought `how am I supposed to step into those shoes?’ And in nursing, you don't step into anyone else's shoes--you make your own.”

“I have had to learn how to focus, learn how I learn best, and learn how to critically think to be where I am at today, because there was a point where I didn't know how to do any of that. Dominican taught me that it's okay not to know, because if I utilized my experience here properly, I would know by the end of my four years.”

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