I'm not an experienced nurse, but I did finish nursing school and had some of the same feelings that you describe, so hopefully I can help.
As a student, most everything you learn is new, and its not enough to understand just the diagnosis and nursing treatment, but you also have to learn facility policy, logistics of the unit, charting, etc...and about the time you get comfortable with one facility you are whisked away to another clinical rotation. Alot of times you feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off....lol...or a dog chasing their tail!
So here are some tips that may help...
*Get as much information about your pt as you can
During our first two semesters, we were encouraged to go the night before to look through our pt's chart for their diagnosis, hx, labs, treatments, procedures, meds, and careplans. That allowed us to research everything the night before and anticipate what things we would be doing for the patient the following day or possible complications. If this is not possible, show up early that morning/afternoon and do the same thing. You can never be too prepared...especially when you're a student and everything is so new
*Make an hour by hour schedule and do your best to stick to it!
Type it up and make copies! Keep it on a clipboard, handy. For example; 0645 get report and give my pt(s) a quick look to make sure they are alive
0700 check my chart and mar, collect vitals, do assessments
0800 meds and bed baths
0900 check chart for new orders, meds (*good idea to leave space to write the specific meds that you need to give at these times)
....you get the picture
*If there is something that needs to be done, do it NOW! don't wait until later because you never know what will happen! This is frustrating for students because you have to wait for they dynamap/thermometer, wait for the instructor to give meds or perform procedures, wait for the nurse or doc to finish with the chart...and then when you get what you need you feel that you are constantly trying to play catch up! Just remember to breathe, prioritize, and work at a steady pace...there is always something to do!
*Keep clutter out of your pockets...I saw some students who would go to pull out a pen, and everything but the kitchen sink came out with it...alcohol wipes, extra gloves, flushes, cell phone, scissors, tape, chapstick, make-up compact, gum or mints, notecards with study material...some of these things ARE necessary and some aren't...use common sense!
*Keep your items together and in a place that is easily accessible!
You don't want to spend half the shift running around looking for your drug guide, your clipboard, a pen, your paperwork, etc. Nor do you want to wait outside a breakroom for a staff meeting to end when you really need your textbook to look up a lab value that was just called on your pt.
*Evaluate yourself when you go home!
Clinical does not end at 0230 or whenever you get off! Its a learning experience. You prepare, you perform, and you evaluate! This helps you learn and not make the same mistakes again. What things went wrong today? What factors contributed to the problem? What can I do differently next time to experience a better outcome?
Don't be afraid to ask other students, nurses, or your instructor what they do to keep on top of things! You would be amazed how many ideas you will get that you never would have thought about on your own.