Dr. Pijuan-Thompson noted to attendees who work with students, "At the sites, you are role models for the students, so you have to keep that in mind."
She stressed there are four essential components to quality clinical experiences: the clinical instructor, the clinical site, the student and the educational institution. "All must contribute, collaborate and communicate effectively," she added.
Dr. Pijuan-Thompson listed some of the responsibilities of the clinical instructor, including supervising the clinical learning experience and providing prompt feedback to student and program faculty. She said it is paramount for clinical instructors to engage the student and to show enthusiasm.
"Sometimes we may feel great about what we're doing, sometimes we don't," she noted. "It's detrimental to tell students things like, 'this isn't the place to be."
Clinical site responsibilities include enhancing microscope experiences within the clinical setting and increase experiences with FNA procedures, cyto preparation and interactions with other healthcare professionals.
Students need to be prepared both didactically and in practical skills prior to obtaining field experience, Dr. Pijuan-Thompson said. They also need to have the right attitude and value clinical rotations for the professional career-building activity they are meant to be.
Educational intuitions have the obligation to prepare students in didactic and practical aspects deemed essential for optimal clinical experiences. They should also invite clinical faculty to speak with students prior to rotations and communicate on a regular basis with student and clinical faculty.
Some factors currently impacting clinical experiences, Dr. Pijuan-Thompson said, are the decreasing number of affiliates, shifting student demographics, generational conflicts, changing curriculums and expectations of entry-level students. She gave many solutions to these problems, including minimizing the load of clinical faculty and working with accrediting bodies to better define didactic/practical content areas needed to success.
"Despite the many changes in our profession, positive clinical educational experiences remain an integral component to cytotechnology education," Dr. Pijuan-Thompson concluded. "Communication is key to successful clinical experiences."
On the last day of the conference, Stephanie Hamilton, EdD, SCT, MB(ASCP)CM, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, presented "Résumé Writing: Your Past on Paper to Gain the Future."
Dr. Hamilton stressed the purpose of a résumé is "not to get a job, it's to at least get an interview." She also said most people look at résumés from five to 30 seconds--a quick glance--so you have to know how to grab the reader. She said a resume is a marketing tool (but shouldn't read like one), and it's also a brochure about you--your benefits, features and uniqueness.
In the initial résumé process, applicants need to:
- determine their objectives;
- create an image matching the job they want and address misconceptions;
- analyze ads and job descriptions and identify key words;
- identify their skill set and experiences needed for the job;
- tweak and target résumés and cover letters; and
- apply for jobs above and below their current position.
Dr. Hamilton said while creating the résumé content, applicants need to remember to:
- create sellable content (highlight the breadth of knowledge instead of going into depth in one area);
- prioritize strongest, most relevant information;
- use job titles and skill headings related to the job they want;
- highlight achievements instead of responsibilities;
- use verbs and quantities;
- limit work experience to the past 15 years;
- include basic contact information;
- sell themselves, but not lie;
- avoid irrelevant information (such as marital status and hobbies);
- and not to use slang, cryptic text (such as BTW) or pronouns.
While designing a résumé, Dr. Hamilton said to:
- use an 11 or 12-point font in Arial or Times New Roman;
- make both Word and text versions;
- keep the length to one to two pages;
- use white space, bullets and short sentences;
- don't include a picture;
- use a good printer and white paper; and
Additionally, Dr. Hamilton said it's a good idea to use caution with résumé templates. "Don't just cut and paste. This résumé is about you and you don't want to look like everybody else," she noted. She also said to get a third party critique on your résumé. "It's good to get another pair of eyes to look it over for you," she added. Lastly, she said to update your résumé regularly and not just wait until you are applying for a new job to do so.
Amanda Koehler (email@example.com) is associate editor of ADVANCE.
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