So, here I am Monday morning. Walked into my very first clinical site completely confident. I passed all my skills in lab, have one of the highest grades in the class, watched all the videos... I know my stuff! My instructor starts passing out all this info about what we'll be expeced to do and I just got COMPLETELY overwhelmed! Anyone else feel that way?? We haven't touched patients yet, and I'm SURE I'll have stories once I do. But right now, I'm so nervous! We go back Monday...
Nov 18, '06
One way to think about it is:
"If you knew it all before you went to clinical (or class), there would be no reason to go."
Think about that in a deep way. Nursing school clinicals (and later, job orientations) have 2 components. To succeed, you have to balance the two. On one hand, they are supposed to be learning experiences. That means you don't know all the material at the beginning of the experience. On the other hand, you are being evaluated on your ability to perform certain tasks and your ability to function safely in a real-life situation. Even if you are not be directly evaluated by your instructor or preceptor, the patient is always evaluating you and often your colleagues as well.
That's what causes a lot of stress in clinicals (and orientation). Many people have trouble coping with the fact that both processes need to happen simultaneously. They want the learning experiences to happen separately from being evaluated. But real life doesn't work that way. In real life, we are always confronted with new situations that require us to "learn as we go" -- but yet, we are still expected to perform well as we figure it all out.
So, it's really not unfair that students (and oreintees) have to both learn and perform at the same time. But it is a higher level of learning/performance than most people are used to. In a lecture class, you go to class to learn without having to worry about performing well at the test until the day of the exam. The learning is separate from the testing. That's not how real life works and that's not how it is in clinicals.
Focus on giving safe care and meeting the patient's needs before your own and you'll probably do just fine. It's often the students who are too focused on "making themselves look good" who make the worst mistakes because they were hesitant to ask for help.
Good luck to you all,
Last edit by llg on Nov 18, '06