Friends, I am so sorry that I have been slacking with these blog posts as of lately. I have also been pretty bad at responding to your emails in a timely manner, and for that, I sincerely apologize! I guess things have been pretty day by day and nothing SUPER exciting. But let me tell you all a little bit about how this second semester has been going (now that there's only a few weeks of it left!)
During my first DNP semester (Fall), I was placed in the nursing home for my clinical rotation. I went there once a week with a rather large group of my peers. We were all assigned one nursing home resident. We started off with practicing taking very thorough health histories. And week by week, we would focus on a particular system (ex. gastrointestinal... we would ask our ROS questions, do the focused physical exam). We did about 60 hours of clinical during our first Fall semester.
And now, during this second DNP semester (Spring), we are technically supposed to be in our Pediatrics rotation. Four other students and I were actually placed in a primary care clinic that serves a LOT of HIV positive, Hepatitis, chronic issues (hypertension, diabetes) type patients who are often uninsured, homeless, or in some substance abuse program. FNP students work together with a FNP at the clinic who also got her DNP degree. This population is definitely very unique to work with. Although we have only seen a few actual pediatric patients so far, it's been a pretty great learning opportunity. We have made our way to seeing patients on our own to review lab results for their last blood draw. So this would encompass being able to read and interpret lab results, knowing how to educate patients what the results mean and how they can improve to get back in range. For example, one of the hugest things Easter Coasters are lacking now that we are slowly getting out of Winter is Vitamin D. Almost every patient is Vitamin D deficient or insufficient. We usually counsel them on increasing dietary intake of Vitamin D and eventually depending on how low they are, we would prescribe Vit-D2 50,000U PO once a week for 4 weeks and then Colace 100mg PO qd PRN since the main side effect of Vit-D is constipation. This is just an example of what a patient impression and plan would be like. We do more than that, of course. The students are usually the ones who perform all the physical exams, we do a LOT of focused diabetic exams and HIV positive exams. A few exciting things either I or my peers have seen: large nasal polyp, penile lesion, exudate on tonsils, foot ulcers, thickened fingernails, fixed pinpoint pupils, necrotizing bacteria on the face, etc. The clinic has also recently adopted the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program which is federally funded and we are able to administer vaccines to the pediatric population at no cost. And it also means hopefully we will see more kids! We were expected to complete 120 hours of clinical this Spring semester.
Some students are looking to rotate out of their clinical site and into other settings. As for me (and most of my peers at my site), we are planning on at least sticking it out for the end of Summer semester because we have just started to become more independent with patients, and hopefully this will continue as we get more comfortable with talking points, understanding lab results, and doing exams. Two FNP students who did their clinical rotation at my site last year are actually recently hired by my clinical site to practice as board certified FNPs. How neat is that!
Anyway, if you have any questions about clinical rotations as a FNP student, feel free to comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Sorry again for the lack of posts lately! I also need to do a post soon about my part time RN gig at a Women's Health clinic!