Career Corner: Clinical rotations and resumes

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One problem that many healthcare students run into upon graduation is communicating the value of their clinical rotations to potential employers.

Sometimes, students don’t even include their clinical rotations on their resumes, which is often their only direct experience within the field. As a career coach, students have often told me, “Well, everyone in my program does the same thing; it is a given to the employer.”

While it’s true that everyone going into a nursing program would have similar rotations, what you gained from these experiences could vary drastically. Perhaps you picked up on the concepts learned in these rotations quicker than other students and were granted more responsibilities and trusted with more independence.

Also, you may have had different interactions with individual patients and the way you perceived an experience may have been extremely different from a fellow classmate. Additionally, when you talk or write about these clinical rotations, besides focusing on the procedures and medications, it is important to also focus on the skills that make up a good professional.

An aspiring health professional should always try to think of at least six skills that your potential employers may value, besides basic knowledge in the field. You’ll notice a lot of skills pop up, including communication, assessment, team building and, perhaps, building meaningful relationships with others. Then, ask yourself “Where am I showcasing such skills on my professional documents?”

This will help you conceptualize the value of your clinical rotations, as the way you communicate with individuals in an emergency setting is much different than in a pediatric unit where you deal with children and parents. You can highlight the same skill sets but articulate the information just a bit differently. For example, using the word “communicated” to start one bullet point and for another, use the action verb “educated.”

Your goal is to showcase and be able to articulate the value you can contribute to an organization and the knowledge you have mastered in the field thus far.

Everyone should include their clinical rotations on their professional documents and brainstorm all aspects of the experience including clients, cases and procedures. Just keep in mind that when in doubt on what to write about these experiences, just go back to the five to six skills needed in the field.

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