Confessions of a Nursing Student: Why I Will Never Be Late to Clinical Again!

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    This is a little story about how being late to clinical is the worst thing ever and can in fact ruin your life. It tells how showing up late can only be compared to DIC (DISSEMINATED INTRAVASCULAR COAGULATION). This article is mixed with both fact and fiction.

    For those of us that have ever been late for clinical, we know that it is one of the WORSE things that can happen to you in nursing school. Those of you who have ever been in that position, know that I am saying that because being late to clinical is like a cascade of events that can only be compared to .....DIC.
    (DISSEMINATED INTRAVASCULAR COAGULATION).

    The scenario plays out like this:

    You stay up all night preparing for clinical. For whatever ungodly reason, your alarm clock fails to wake you up and you roll over just at the crack of 6:17am. OH NO!!! This can’t be you have strict orders to be on the floor, ready to go, at 6:30 am sharp! There is no way that you will make it to Bergan in time. You hop out of bed and make a beeline for the bathroom door. After a 15 second mental debate on either a shower or brushing your teeth, you quickly decide that brushing your teeth is simply something that is a priority, you multi task brushing and dialing your clinical instructor to alert her of you tardiness. OH NO!!!!! SPLASH! Well so much for calling your instructor, the phone is screen down in the toilet. I guess she will have to find out when you show up!

    You manage to jump into your clinical attire without incident; you even remembered to put your clinical bag in the car last night. As you’re speeding down the highway, you run a few red lights, half stop at a few stop signs, and you manage to spill coffee on your not so white whites. But you can take care of that, you quickly place your badge over the smudge and that is where it will stay all day until clinical is over. You pull up into the parking lot of Immanuel Hospital, run into the building, into the elevator, onto the floor. You look around…. You look around some more. You see absolutely NO one you know.
    You see some students from Clarkson, you see the lady from dietary, you see a tumble weed blow down the hall, but no IWCC nursing students. WHAT IS GOING ON. QUICK, you pull out your clinical schedule.

    OH NO!!! You’re not at Immanuel today; you’re supposed to be at Bergan Mercy. Why today of all days?!?! You hightail is out of there like you’re leaving AMA, you run for the first time since you started nursing school. You drive like you have police sirens on the top of your car all the way until you arrive at Bergan. You have never been so happy to see Bergan Mercy. In fact, until this very day, you have despised the very name Bergan Mercy. You Jump out of the car, run into the facility, hit the elevator like a madman, and get up to the floor as fast as you can. You try not to make eye contact with a single soul because you have NO dignity left, your self esteem died this morning at 6:17 and you just want to try and get through the day without any more incidents.

    Finally, the moment you have been dreading, the INSTRUCTOR! She walks up to you, she can see the dried up tears, snot, crust etc. she knows that you are all cried out. The only thing she can say is are you OK You offer a somber “yes”; I tried to call but blah blah. In all actuality, it doesn't matter what your excuse is, because she has already called the board on you, they have already set a date, time, and meeting place. Your fate is already set. You will be making up clinical, you will have a patient that poops, pees, and becomes dyspneic on demand, and you will be paying for it!

    The instructor (probably a very calm speaking one) says "I’m glad you got here safe, that’s all that matters". She hands you your patients for the day which is sure to be at least two isolation patients, and lets you know when and where you will meet the board. But what she doesn't know is the hell that you went through to get to clinical. Yea, you showed up 17 minutes late, and yea, you’re alive, but does she really know what you went through to get here? Does she know that you ran over a pedestrian, lost a hub cap, got a 450 dollar speeding ticket, or that at this very moment, you’re parked illegally? Does she know that you just went into your patients room and sobbed for 20 minutes as you did their head to toe assessment (thank goodness your pt is in a coma)?

    How are you going to pay a clinical instructor and buy a new phone? As the day goes on, it just gets worse. You get behind on your charting; you get a med error because you were late giving iron REALLY!?! Iron? Of all things, iron? It wasn't even IV! Oh the agony, Oh the humiliation! Seriously, there is nothing left to do in this day but hemorrhage from every orifice of your body and die.

    Moral of the story: Never be late for clinical. The world stops turning!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 29, '13
    msreesecup, KaoTik16, Swellz, and 12 others like this.

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    About jamona851

    I just completed Nursing school and I am excited to and ready to get my hands into something! I would love to work in the pediatric field or wherever I can get a job...Its a rat race out there. I wrote this story at 2:30 am because everyone knows that is when nursing students are the smartest. I let some of my peers and faculty members read this story and they all got a kick out of it. They wanted me to read it at our Pinning ceremony! Enjoy!

    Joined Apr '13; Posts: 16; Likes: 28.

    Read more articles from jamona851

    32 Comments so far...

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    Ok you need to slow down, take a deep breath and calm down before you kill someone. Seriously, you could have killed someone because you were late for a clinical :/ And you could have caused a pt serious harm because you showed up too flustered and were not paying attention. Yes it was only an iron pill but what if was something else IV, such as a med meant for another pt or a miscalculation?

    If you knew you were going to be late and you had the issue with your phone, you should have stopped at a phone and made the call to your instructor and then proceded, calmly and without breaking every traffic code possible, to the hospital, like a mature, responsible adult who is attempted to become a mature, responsible nurse.
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    Great story, and I agree that the feeling you get when you are late is awful. Some people (like the previous) take a cute and desperate post way too seriously! I'm sure you didn't actually take out a pedestrian!
    Froyoagogo, hazel30, twigszoo, and 15 others like this.
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    I have a feeling this is a work of fiction but a truly good lesson to learn about why not to be late to clinicals. It was an entertaining read.
    twigszoo, lorirn2b, NevadaFighter, and 4 others like this.
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    What a great story! And I know the feeling- I can relate! It made me laugh, and I think it would be great if you read it at your pinning ceremony

    And some people need to take a chill pill-- or just not comment if you are going to be mean.
    twigszoo, Katniss1994, Lawgirl14, and 1 other like this.
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    thanks everyone
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    PETS TO PEOPLE: ok, obviously you should have skipped on reading this article and called your doctor to see if he could up the dosage on your haldol. I clearly stated that this was fiction as well as some facts, most being fiction. Thanks for your concern and kind words, I am sure they will help me to become a more well rounded nurse.
    To everyone else, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it!
    twigszoo, JasonP, NevadaFighter, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from jamona851
    But what she doesn't know is the hell that you went through to get to clinical. Yea, you showed up 17 minutes late, and yea, you’re alive, but does she really know what you went through to get here? Does she know that you ran over a pedestrian, lost a hub cap, got a 450 dollar speeding ticket, or that at this very moment, you’re parked illegally? Does she know that you just went into your patients room and sobbed for 20 minutes as you did their head to toe assessment (thank goodness your pt is in a coma)?
    Those pedestrians always get in the way...
    twigszoo, Lawgirl14, Kandy83, and 3 others like this.
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    Maybe it was the specific names listed (Bergan Mercy, Immanuel, Clarkson, etc.) or the downplaying of a med error ("just iron"), but I also didn't initially read this in a sarcastic light. Upon rereading, I can see where the OP is coming from, but yikes. It struck me as one of those stories where someone says, "So I have this funny story that happened to my 'friend'...", and at the end of the suspiciously detailed, emotionally-charged tale, the person says, "But it totally wasn't me! Totally." and both of you laugh awkwardly.

    I admit, my first inclination was to call for a psych consult and some Xanax.

    People are late, even --*GASP*--nurses! The world will turn and years down the road, it'll be a funny story you tell your coworkers when commiserating about how horrible school was.

    ...Unless of course, you really do run over a pedestrian. Then it'll be a funny story you tell your cellmate.
    Last edit by SoldierNurse22 on May 14, '13 : Reason: Diction. Grammar. My old nemeses...
    elkpark, lorirn2b, squidbilly, and 3 others like this.
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    Hilarious!! I have never been late to clinical but it is was one of my worst fears. I remember one of my classmates was late and lucky for her the teacher was also late so "mum's" was the word. lol.
    damrcngrl95 likes this.


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