The Critical Nature of Hands-On Skills Review For Nursing Students

Nursing is a profession in which hands-on skills are always essential. While many nurses land in administrative roles, the ability to provide hands-on care is critical when the need arises. An important lesson learned during the pandemic was that situations could arise in which all hands were needed to save lives.

Nurses who stay current with hands-on skills ensure enough professionals will be available to provide care when emergencies call for it. Graduate nurses come to the health care setting with some hands-on nursing skills learned as nursing students. However, nurses who work in specialized fields or who’ve been out of direct care roles for several years may need to brush up on direct care competencies.

Nursing is a field in which learning is lifelong. The nursing profession has grappled with the issue of nursing students getting enough exposure to situations that help them develop communication skills, critical thinking skills and nursing interventions that prepare them for the clinical setting.

In years past, many nursing schools were in teaching hospitals, which provided clinical settings with ample nursing practice opportunities. Nursing research suggests that much of the nurse education today occurs in colleges and universities, where baccalaureate nursing students may have fewer opportunities to work with patients. A student who enrolls in a nursing program may expect clinical experiences in various areas but later realize that options aren’t always available. However, nurses need ways to expand their clinical skills. Whether a nurse is a novice in the field or has years of experience, hands-on skills review courses can help them be ready to provide high-quality patient care.

Hands-On Skills Review Increases Self-Confidence

Even after earning a degree or diploma, individuals who are new to nursing often come to the patient care setting with apprehension about their hands-on skills. Nursing students’ expectations of real-world health care settings may be unrealistic because many clinics and hospitals are understaffed. Once students graduate from nursing education programs, where they rely on the support of a clinical learning environment, they must be ready to take charge.

Nursing today differs from decades ago, when nurses carried out doctors’ orders using basic nursing skills. In busy clinical settings, nurses must exercise critical thinking and decision-making throughout the shift. They perform on the front lines of health care and are often the first health care professional a patient sees.

Health care research suggests inadequate clinical education can leave graduates of some nursing programs feeling they have basic clinical skills and practical skills but lack advanced technical skills necessary for caring for critically ill patients. Hands-on skill review can help close the theory-practice gap that nursing education program graduates may feel.

Hands-on skill review can help increase the number of qualified nurses by providing additional training for those who’ve earned a nursing degree. New nurses and nurses resuming clinical practice can improve their soft skills, including effective communication, problem-solving and teamwork. Clinical training that improves hands-on skills includes applying restraints correctly, chest tube care, trach care, injections, donning sterile gloves, emergency care, inserting Foley catheters, life support and central line dressing changes. Nurses can gain additional expertise and skills and increase their confidence in delivering excellent patient care by enrolling in a clinical skills review course.