Starting your clinical hours is an important step on your path to landing your dream health care career. Students are asked to track their hours in practicums, field placements or internships. In some cases, students need to track professional experience to qualify for licensure in fields like psychology, social work or marriage and family therapy. It’s more tedious than one would expect, since hours need to be detailed, accurate and then approved by a supervisor. Maggie Wilkerson from Time2Track spoke with us about the difficulties students may face when tracking their training hours.
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“Students are constantly moving around. Paper documents are very easy to lose,” Maggie explains. “If you don’t have an electronic record to back up, it’s terrible.” She has heard of students having their backpacks stolen with their tracking notebook inside or the notebook itself being destroyed. Even if you have an Excel spreadsheet, you can still be at risk. “There’s always the chance that the hard drive crashes. That means anything stored on that drive is completely lost.”
Issues can also arise when students are keeping a mental list of what they have accomplished. In the rush of getting their hours sent to be approved, they end up under- or overestimating at the end of the semester. Students generally have to track hundreds or thousands of training hours in order to get their license, so being off makes a huge difference.
As we mentioned above, some students choose to get hours approved at the end of the semester or placement. Maggie says, “Students have weeks and months of information from an internship, making it hard for supervisors to accurately confirm and approve hours.”
Supervisors could be approving hours that are unreasonable for them to correct. Students should try to get approval more frequently rather than waiting for one approval after 200 hours. Unfortunately, there may also be the case that a supervisor moves on from the site or comes down with a longterm illness. Don’t waste a moment and coordinate with your supervisor to make sure your hours can be confirmed in a timely manner!
How can you keep all of this hour data organized and stay focused? “I stress the importance of staying organized and keeping the end goal in mind,” advises Maggie. Remember the certification or license that you’re working towards and that you’ll make your life easier by staying organized. “Students know they’re supposed to track hours, but they may be doing so without knowing why.”
Interested in learning more about Time2Track or just about tracking hours in general? Subscribe to the Time2Track blog today!