Clinicals - - what to expect?

  1. Hi, everyone! My name is Liz and I'm new here I've been stalking the site for several months to try and get information every time I have a question and usually that works, but I figured it would be even better if I just joined and got involved.

    I was hoping that maybe a 2nd year student, or even a 1st year student, could help me. I'm trying to get a bit ahead of the game and know what to expect. I'm incredibly nervous about clinicals. I mean, I have one class all morning and a little into the afternoon, but then it's straight to clinicals. I would love to know what to expect out of clinicals. Do we get thrown into the lions den and have to teach ourselves or do we usually get some parts of clinicals taught in class and then use those skills after? I don't know why I'm so worried that we're going to be released into the unknown with no help, especially when I know that won't happen. But my mind tends to run off without me sometimes and all of a sudden I'll be fretting about something just like this.

    So if any of you fellow RN's or nursing students, etc, want to help a girl out and help me know what to expect on my first day that would be great! I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!
  2. Poll: Student clinicals vs Real world application

    • Clinicals are much harder

      7.69% 1
    • Clinicals are much easier

      30.77% 4
    • Clinicals are pretty much the same

      0% 0
    • There's no comparing the two.

      61.54% 8
    13 Votes
  3. Visit elizabethaj09 profile page

    About elizabethaj09

    Joined: Apr '13; Posts: 19; Likes: 2


  4. by   rjones416
    dont worry its easy. you'll get to work with one of the nurses there and you'll help them with caring for their patients. things like vital signs, toileting, transferring, showers, getting them dressed etc.
  5. by   RubberDuckieLove
    Prepare yourself for lots of basic care. Lots of it. But it's a good place to start. On my first day of clinical I was paired with a nurse tech and we did a lot of AM care...made beds, helped with personal hygiene, vitals, and glucose checks. And the best of all, just talked with the patients!! Patients love talking to students. Especially the family of patients.

    You are there under your instructor's license. They will not let you do anything that you have not been trained for. They won't hold your hand, but they won't give you anything that they think you can't handle. And if you don't think you can, speak up!
  6. by   Tait
    Clinicals, if taught well, are carefully guided explorations into patient care built for the level you are at in school. First semester clinicals can be a little nerve-wracking because everything is new, but overall they are mostly about helping out a patient with everyday care like bathing, eating, and other basic needs. It also gives you a chance to see how nurses manage their time, create workflow, and prioritize care needs.

    Have fun!
  7. by   MrPopeye
    Each school is different in what they cover 1st semester/year. But, from what I have gathered, they all have the same goal in the 1st semester...get you involved with the patients. Like it's been said, you will most likely be doing nothing but basic care. It's great because you deal with so many patients that your jitters will be gone bybthe end of the semester.
  8. by   alp2722
    I am at the end of my first semester of nursing school and clinicals were great for me. It helps you apply the things you learn in your basic nursing class. Like you I was so nervous my first day, but it gets better! We started out by giving baths and taking vital signs and by the end of the semester we were doing glucometers, giving meds, and doing physical assessments on our assigned patients and charting. Each group had 10 students to one instructor and you can always depend on each other for help or advice. It will be a great experience and you will be fine! Good luck!
  9. by   DawnJ
    Know how to do a head to toe assessment, how to change adult briefs and how to safely transfer a patient. All the rest you should have your instructor with you to teach and assess
  10. by   MommaTy
    Love this question. I am a CNA and the programs near me people say the 1st semester of nursing is like CNA stuff. But glad some were able to pass meds towards the end Gives me hope, since I already know how to do all the CNA stuff that I will excel.
  11. by   EaglesWings21
    I just finished my first semester on a med surg floor and we did vitals, physical assessments, toileting, bathing, ambulating in hall, glucose fingersticks, passed meds with instructors, and other skills learned in lab. My best advice to you is patients usually are willing to help you in your learning process, you need to have a take charge attitude in order to get your work done, and keep up with the skills you have learned and be competent in them. You do not need to be perfect, no one is, but the best way to be prepared is to do your studying and reading and practice!
  12. by   Parks22
    I agree with the previous posts about basic care. If you excel at these skills there may be opportunities for advanced skills. For example, I took out a foley during my first semester. Another student took out an ng tube, I think. Both under the guidance of our instructor, of course. Also a few of us were selected to observe surgery. A few students loved it so much they think they might want to work in the OR. Just use everything as a learning experience and keep a positive attitude!
  13. by   Chilled1121
    I just finished my first semester of nursing. A lot depends on where you are placed. Some schools place you in a long term care facility to really focus on basic care and the pace is a bit slower. Other schools like mine put you on a med surg floor in a hospital so it's a bit more fast paced and you see a variety of patients and disease processes. Personally I was very nervous about clinicals in the beginning but with time I felt more comfortable. Understanding how to do a thorough but brief head to toe assessment is very important and definitely takes time so try to not stress yourself out. It's definitely a learned skill that I'm still learning! The best advice I have is to get your hands on everything new. If you have never done something before, try it with permission of your instructor of course! Nothing makes you understand skills better than doing it on a real patient! By the time I finished my first semester I was fortunate enough to do a wound dressing changes, administer pn meds, oral meds, injections and remove a Foley catheter. The only downfall and not sure if your program will be set up the same way is our paperwork and care plans were all due at the end of clinical day before our post conference so it makes it difficult to be hands on with paperwork in the back of your head.

    My last suggestion is to help your peers and let them help you with patient care like baths and such. My instructors encouraged us to help each other because we are really a health care team!

    Enjoy your first semester. You will never be the same but in a good way of course. Welcome to the crazy but fun world of nursing!
  14. by   elizabethaj09
    Thank you!

    *Edit* Whoops. I'm still trying to get the hang of this board. Thank you to everyone who has responded. You've all given me a much better understanding of what to expect and have definitely calmed my nerves. I'm thrilled to join the nursing world!
  15. by   nickasarbata
    In my program, everyone is required to take a basic nursing skills course (basically a CNA course) before being accepted into the program. So in first semester's clinicals we were expected to be able to do all of those basic skills from day one (baths, vitals, toileting, transfers, etc.) In our first semester we learned physical assessments, non-parenteral and parental meds (including all types of injections), catheterizations, NG insertion/removal and NG/PEG meds/feedings, and (basic) wound care. They put all of our checkoffs in the first 6 weeks or so of the semester and as we were checked off on a skill in lab, we were from then on allowed to do it in clinicals. Every program is different, but you'll never be thrown into a patient's room alone to do something you don't know how to do - nor should you be. Now not knowing how to do something and being nervous about doing something are different things. Most people in my clinical group felt very much out of their comfort zone quite a bit during the semester, but that's how you learn and grow!