View Full Version : Clinicals

12-07-2007, 03:40 PM
I start my clinicals in January. I've heard that my clinical instructor is super nice and helpful, but I'm still scared. There are a lot of students in my class that have hospital/patient experience whether they were nursing assistants, techs, etc. I have virtually no experience. Does anyone have any tips they can offer to ease my worries? Thanks!

12-07-2007, 03:48 PM
When I had clinicals, I had previous experience with patients due to being a CNA, but many of my fellow students did not.

I will admit to being more at ease with the atmosphere and with patients, but everyone was pretty much on the same page a few weeks into it.

If your clinicals were farther out, I'd suggest volunteering, but January is right around the corner.

No one expects you to know what you're doing, honestly. Just go with the flow. You will be fine!!!

Mother Jones, RN
12-07-2007, 04:00 PM
No one, not even your fellow students with experience, can know everything when they first start clinicals. Be prepared when you go to the unit by knowing everything you can about your assigned patients. Just do your best and everything else will fall into place.


12-10-2007, 11:04 PM
Relax and Smile.
I had no experience when I started. We were allowed to follow our buddy nurse around for the first day, didn't really have to do anything except help. I then started to take the initiative (you will learn how the ward/unit works and be able to pre-empt things)and ask my buddy if they would like me to do (eg) the BPs and Obs for the patients, or make beds. It took the hassle of them at the start of the shift, and got me working and meeting patients. Learning how to enter a room (because you are supposed to be there) took a few days, and touching complete strangers. You will learn, and that is why you are there.

Things will go wrong at times, but just smile and laugh them off. My best one was trying to take a pulse from someone who didn't have a radial artery, I was feeling for ages, in the end the pt thought that she should tell me. We both laughed at it.

If you aren't sure ASK! don't be feeling for a pulse and pretend you have found it as you will be caught out one day (pedis pulses can be a challenge at times)

12-11-2007, 01:46 AM
No matter how much experience you have with patients, it is totally surreal to enter the first room on the very first day of clinicals as a Nursing Student... EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, will be as nervous as you are, even when they lie about it over lunch and post conference... Just laugh with them and enjoy knowing you made it through your first day...

For what its worth, the only student in my class to pass out during their OR rotation was a person who had years of experience as a tech in an ED... They probably saw worse on a daily basis, but something about the new perspective caught them unaware, and boing, down they went :egg:

12-17-2007, 06:30 PM
I was the only one in my clinical group who had any type of medical experience. And I was still terrified. You learn, adapt, and ask for help.

12-17-2007, 08:15 PM
I have vivid memories of my first patient!

We too were allowed to buddy a nurse for a full shift before having our own patients. Then, on the second day we paired two nursing students with one patient.

Well, it took us two hours to wash our patient and make the bed. By the end, I was covered in pee and my partner was sobbing uncontrollably. It was stressful at the time, but now looking back, I can laugh!

The same task takes me about fifteen minutes now...and I can dodge that pee when it comes!

I know, not all that helpful, but the point I'm trying to make is that you just have to relax, remember that you are brand new. Work hard, be prepared, ask questions, and offer to help everyone you can....and eventually, all your foibles will become great stories for you to tell in the future!

12-17-2007, 09:04 PM
Sean is right. Remember that you are new and not perfect. You'll have your share of body fluids that somehow find you, or it takes you twice as long to do something than it will in a couple of years. Hey.... I can now dodge emesis with lightning speed. You'll be amazed when you get where your going and look back on where you are now. Just remember, everyone is in the same boat. EVERYONE

12-17-2007, 11:15 PM
Not only are you new and not perfect, but a lot of times you will be cut a lot more slack if you are honest and up front about your lack of experience! And I say that that works as a new grad in your first job too. The trick is to say it without being apologetic for it, it's just the truth and the reality of the situation---and it will get better!

Oh, and I can't find who said it, but thank you for saying "nursing student." One of my pet peeves -- there are medical students and student nurses? uh uh! we have nursing students!