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Teaching students in the affective domain can be challenging. Although strategies such as storytelling and reflective practice have been shown to be beneficial, this can be difficult in the clinical setting. For undergraduate students in their first clinical setting, I encourage them to write 2 letters to themselves as part of their introduction to clinical practice. The first letter focuses on why they decided to be a nurse and what excites them most about being in the clinical setting. Students seal this response in a self-addressed envelope and turn in to me. I then mail this letter to them after graduation as they embark in their first year of practice. Students have commented that this experience allows them to reflect on their experiences and reminds them of why they became a nurse. The second letter focuses on what they find most concerning or worry about in their first clinical practicum. Students do not share this with the clinical group but physically crumple up the paper and throw it away. This is meant to signify "tossing their fears" away so that they can begin clinical practice with a fresh mind-set.

 

By Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, Clinical Associate Professor, Macy Faculty Scholar, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (mailto:Meg_Zomorodi@unc.edu).