Students will meet members of this generational group primarily as the clinical leaders and practitioners in their practicums. Many Boomers grew up in a healthy, flourishing economy where hospitals and schools thrived. Positive social influences on this generation encouraged baby boomers to think as individuals from a young age, to express themselves creatively, and to speak out when not in agreement with others.
Many women in this generation were socialized into the primarily female professions of nursing or teaching, as these educational opportunities were widely available Hill, Women of the Boomer generation were the first to work outside the home. This resulted in appreciably different home lives for the next generations. Boomers are now often sandwiched between caring for their aging parents and their adult children. Given their leadership roles and experience in health care, Baby Boomers may be seen as intimidating by students.
They grew up with computers, video games and microwaves, and are comfortable and skilled using new technologies. They expect instant access to information. In health care environments, Generation Xers entered the workforce during the turbulent s period of downsizing and restructuring.
Many were unable to find full-time or continuing employment Fry, As a result, they do not view employment as security Hill, Opportunities for promotion may seem eclipsed by the Baby Boomers who remain in the workforce.
Students will encounter Generation Xers among their peers, teachers and clinical agency staff. Until relationships are forged, students may find that Generation Xers seem impatient and somewhat unwilling to offer in-depth explanations. Millennials , who are in their teens through to early 30s, were raised by Boomers who were actively involved in their learning. They are fully comfortable with technology and with living in a diverse world.
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This group of learners has a strong capacity to multitask, but their multitasking has the potential to erode their capacity to sustain focus and attention Sherman, Millennials will be present in student, teaching and staff groups. Students may find that individuals from this group are fun-loving, friendly and approachable, particularly if students are Millennials themselves. Some members of this generational cohort may have had limited exposure to failure or even to negative feedback.
Generation Zers are people born after , who comprise one-quarter of the North American population Kingston, Clinical teachers can use information about generational diversity as an introduction to who their students are and to create individualized instruction that will help them succeed.
The wisdom gleaned from Traditionalists ; the drive modeled by Baby Boomers ; the resourcefulness demonstrated by Generation Xers ; the team spirit so ready to be tapped in the Millennials; and the connectivity of Generation Zers can all be integrated into innovative teaching strategies. Question whether your students would benefit from viewing the individuals they will be interacting with professionally through the lens of generational diversity. During the process of coming to know your students, apply the strengths and barriers for their generational cohort to enhance their learning.
Another way to understand the diverse perspectives students bring to their clinical learning environment is to examine the diverse range of emotional issues many face. Just as members of the general population deal with learning disabilities, substance abuse, poor mental health or many other emotionally taxing problems, so do students enrolled in health care programs.
Although help and accommodation for these students is more readily available, the stigma associated with their issues makes students reluctant to share the challenges they are working through. Clinical teachers are not, and should not be, learning disability specialists or addiction and mental health counsellors. They must, however, know what program resources are available to students. All clinical teachers, whether they are full-time continuing faculty or teaching only one clinical course, should visit their university counselling centre and become fully informed about services offered.
Learning disabilities. Most accommodations for learning disabilities are geared to academic class activities. If these kinds of modules are available, clinical teachers should familiarize themselves with the content and highlight clinical applicability during clinical conference discussions. This would normalize the use of such resources.
Non-dyslexic students might also find the supplemental activities a useful way to transfer theory to practice. Research is beginning to reveal more about the nature of the difficulties experienced by learning disabled students in clinical placements. Early referral and testing for students experiencing difficulties associated with dyslexia should be encouraged so that students can receive the support they need as soon as possible Ridley, Focusing on abilities offers important balance in any discussion of disabilities.
These attributes are highly valued in health care practitioners. Many clinicians with learning disabilities have found suitable strategies to overcome their learning difficulties and are thriving in their field.
Substance abuse. In most jurisdictions, reporting is mandatory when any professional or student is impaired. With this action, safety must be considered in areas such finding alternative transportation if the student drove to the clinical site. Instructor and student should contract to discuss the incident when the student is no longer impaired. Neither students nor practitioners should ever practice when impaired.
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Unfortunately, individuals with substance abuse issues may not believe they have a problem and may be reluctant to seek help. When clinical teachers identify substance abuse or the potential for substance abuse in their students and initiate referrals to university counselling services, they provide a critical lifeline. Ignoring issues related to substance abuse is not an option.
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Poor mental health. Students with emotional problems are present across health care disciplines and in clinical placements. They may display poor motivation, negativity, overconfidence or an inability to work as a member of the health care team. They may not accept responsibility for their actions and may not change their behaviour in response to feedback.
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When students present with a psychiatric or mental health crisis, they must be accompanied to an emergency treatment facility. In non-emergency situations, the best course of action is less clear. University counselling services are not immediately available to students when they are in practice areas. Other members of the student group, as well as agency clients and staff, will be affected by any inappropriate student behaviour.
In your self-orientation to your clinical teaching practice, find out precisely what actions are required of you when you encounter students with learning disabilities, substance abuse or poor mental health. Obtain copies of relevant policies. Walk into the counselling and learning services offices of the academic institution to experience how students might feel when seeking help.
Make a point of meeting the resource staff members who are available to students. Providing students with the names of resource staff when referring them can make the process more familiar and comfortable. Invite all students in your clinical teaching group to sketch out a personal wellness plan. Encourage them to include physical and mental health issues and strategies for coping. Provide an option for students to share their wellness plan with you or an agency staff member with whom they will be highly involved.
Students troubled by emotional problems can find it easier to disclose problems in writing, as part of a group activity, than in one-to-one dialogue with a teacher who will be evaluating them. Encourage them to experience the feelings and then jot down the experience.
In post conference have students share those experiences and discuss how they felt proud of what they did.
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Keeping a pride journal introduces an opportunity for students to articulate and celebrate positive emotions and those times when they felt proud. Health care students may be generationally or emotionally diverse, but they share the common goal of needing to develop professional independence during their clinical practicums.
Through a stepwise process of gradually decreasing direction and guidance from teachers and agency staff, learners must work towards practicing independently. University-educated professionals in health care fields are required to think and act on their own, with limited or no direction from professional colleagues.
Crisis is an everyday occurrence.
Clinical teaching and learning: from theory and research to application
Once learners graduate, they will be expected to implement client care independently. The processes and strategies that learners use to develop independence as practitioners are inherently difficult to understand. Seminal literature from the field of adult education indicates that a key element in developing independence in any educational activity is for students to take responsibility for their learning above and beyond responding to instructions Boud, ; Knowles, Becoming independent requires students to choose suitable learning activities, reflect on their effectiveness, and initiate any needed changes Holec, ; Little, In chaotic clinical learning environments, where maintaining client safety is critically important, students can feel unsure about how they could or should go beyond what they have been instructed to do.
An inherent tension lies between providing safe client care and initiating new or perhaps unfamiliar activities in clinical practicums.