1st clinical experience, is this normal?

  1. Hi all,

    So I went to my first clinical today and I feel like I haven't really done anything. I went to a nursing home and we basically sat around the entire time.
    We got there, met the residents, got them out of bed and did a phys assess and then were left on our own for the rest of the day. Out of about 6 hours I was working for maybe 2. We took them their breakfast/lunch, but nothing else. I suppose only having one patient helps, and I guess I could be considered lucky, but I would have jumped at the chance do do more.
    Our clinical instructors were very lenient, and didn't really give us a guide as to what else to do. I felt as though I wasted much of my day. Is this a normal nursing home experience? I have heard so many others say how stressful it is, but I felt none of that. I feel kind of jipped, honestly. Does it change in a hospital setting?
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    About RNstudent13renee

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 97; Likes: 51


  3. by   traumanurse2b?
    My nurses asst clinicals were like this at first (haven't started rn clinicals yet). My advice? Be proactive, ask the nurses if they need help with things, etc. I would even look to restock linens and supplies if its permitted. These things may seem small and insignificant but each one can shave minutes off a day and your nurses and CNA's will appreciate it.
  4. by   Kimynurse
    We were told to do vitals on as many PTs that would let us, look in chart if allowed, make bed, talk to pt get a health history, even if not needed.
    In 6 hours you could know everything about pr, and do a complete every system assessment.

    An experienced RN it could take an hour, so I guess a student much longer.

    Good luck
  5. by   RNstudent13renee
    I asked if were able to do work on other patients.. the answer I got from the nurse was no because I was assigned to my resident only. My clinical instructor nowhere to be found. It was frustrating.

    But yes I definitely should have asked to help with other small tasks. I didn't even think about it to be honest.
  6. by   nurseprnRN
    @jmtagg623 ^This. Let the staff know you want to see what they do. Follow the med/treatment nurse around and see what happens, ask if you can help. Go to the PT department and see how they look at and chart patient treatments and results. Watch the OTs do evals and swallow training. Ask the aides to call you when they need a hand--you'll start getting practice in moving people, assessing things, listening to the language of the floor. All that is part of what you learn in clinical.

    Also, OP, you might not realize it, but when you use the word "gypped" (the correct spelling) to express feelings of being cheated, you unwittingly perpetuate an old slander, that Gypsies (Roma) are all dishonest. It's sort of in the same category as when you want to bargain a price with someone and you say, "(to) jew them down," perpetuating the stereotype that Jews are cheap. Please don't. Thanks.
  7. by   Lev <3
    I think that should be expected for your first clinical experience. The point is to make you familiar with patients. It will get more interesting in the hospital.
  8. by   RNstudent13renee
    Thanks Lev. I hope so. It was my and many others first time to ever care for a patient in any setting, so it was very benfeficial in that way. Calmed the nerves a bit.
  9. by   Roseyposey
    It was your first day, so don't be too disappointed. My question, however, is where was your clinical faculty? They should be present and available to you the entire shift. They should make sure you are doing something, even if it means having an impromptu teaching session about a certain condition (for example). If your patient's nurse is open to it, see if you can follow them, ask questions, offer to help with anything - help the CNAs with baths and toileting - there is always something to learn. If all else fails, go talk to the patients - if there is one thing we need to be able to do as nurses, it is talk to people! We have students in our PACU, and our favorites are the ones who will jump in and help - even if it slows us down a bit, it shows interest and makes us happy to share our knowledge (and we will give you some cool things to do).
  10. by   Ackeem
    it was your first day it will get better my first day of clinical was at a hospital on a specialize unit for tuberculosis patients, we were assign to patients with specific objectives similar to what you did.
  11. by   cassi_future_RN
    This is how my whole clinical experience at the nursing home for my 1st semester of nursing school was. My CNA clinical were at the same place and I had a totally different experience, the staff gave us stuff to do and let us follow them around and help them, I never sat down once. Now my nursing school clinicals we sat there and worked on paperwork almost the whole time, unless our pt. needed a bath etc. Another student and Iseriously would bug the staff asking for ANYTHING( changes beds, do showers etc) to do and they acted like we were bothering them so we gave up. I just wanted pt. care experience, I didnt care what or how "unimportant" it was- but the staff did not want us there. My 2nd round of clinicals at the hospital were alot better.