Dear Student Nurse,

  1. 10
    Believe it or not, I'm glad you are here. I love helping to teach nursing students and want to be apart of your learning process. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of ways you can make your clinical experience productive for you and your patients. First thing first; please do not show up for report without something to write on and something to write with. I let you borrow my pen today but it will not happen again. Since you are in your mother/baby rotation I presume that you have had clinical before and therefore should be prepared.

    Your instructor told me that you are responsible for vital signs, documentation, assessment of mother and baby, and giving pain medication. So, when you asked me how to do a physical assessment I was a bit put off. I assumed that since your instructor confidently told me that you would be doing all of the thing mentioned above that you have had some sort of practice with assessing moms/babies. I had no idea it was your first day, and I am apologize for your instructor not preparing you. I will tell you how to do a basic assessment with mom using the acronym 'BUBBLE', however your instructor needs to be there with you to teach how to do the assessment, as I'm sure you'll have to get signed off on this eventually.

    I always do my own assessment patients, however to prevent my patients from having 2 sets of vital signs done q4h, I figure that I can leave it up to you to obtain vital signs and report any abnormalities. If you for whatever reason did not do them, please let me know so that either myself or the CNA working with me can do them. You need to learn how to communicate these things to me. Excellent communication skills is imperative to being a competent nurse.

    Last but not least, I do wish you much success in nursing school. Just remember to come prepared, be proactive, and learn as much as you can.
    Sincerely,
    Prnqday
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 7
    May I please add..
    I understand there may be downtime when no one needs help, you are waiting on your instructor to check you off, etc. Please be conscious of others' needs and make sure there is easy access to computers, med room, charts..

    Offer to start IVs, do blood draws, foleys, what have you. I would be happy for the help. Or if I have a difficult IV stick and you want to watch me, speak up! I really don't mind! I appreciate that you are helping me take care of my pts and I want to help you learn.
  5. 4
    Take advantage of this time.. it's a safety net. It's your time to learn and do without being fully responsible for another person's life. Ask questions, ask to do desuchferred tasks and procedures. I know it can be intimidating but don't be a wall flower and hide in the background. Be proactive with your learning experience. It will only benefit you. Even if it's a rotation in a specialty you absolutely hate, just go with it and learn as much as you can. Clinicals are more important than the classroom stuff when it comes to actually working as a nurse. So enjoy it because soon these patients will be your responsibility.

    Introduce yourself to all the nurses on the unit and let them know you're there to help. If there's a weakness of yours or something you want to work on, let it be known. "If you need a Foley inserted or a trach suctioned please let me know because I'd like to do it." Otherwise the nurses may caught up in their daily routine and not even think to ask you.

    Also, little things like bringing in a card or a box of donuts to the unit on your last day of clinical is always appreciated. I love when my student nurses do this, such a nice gesture. Most of us RNs appreciate your help and want you to succeed. You may be working with us one day!
    GrnTea, Retired APRN, RADIATION_RN, and 1 other like this.
  6. 5
    Another thought: even if you have had a skill "checked off" on your clinical requirements list, it's still a good idea to do them when the opportunity (and the nurse who asked you to help) presents. Just because you've "already done one of those" doesn't mean you won't benefit from doing another....and the nurse who asked you will be pleased at your willingness to help, rather than annoyed that you couldn't be bothered. That nurse just might have something you DO need to do or see, and she isn't likely to bother with you when another student seems more agreeable.
    GrnTea, Retired APRN, CelticGoddess, and 2 others like this.
  7. 4
    I want you to succeed. That is the only reason why I'm quizzing you, why I won't give you the answers, why I tell you look up the answer and let me know before the end of the clinical day. Being wrong as a nursing student isn't a crime; it's ok. It's the safest time for you to be wrong. I correct you because I want you to learn.

    If you are eager and take my constructive criticism openly, I will work with you more. If you cop an attitude when I'm trying to teach you, you are on your own. I have feelings too, and if you are irritated with my teaching style, I will not put myself out there for your benefit. I want you to succeed, but I can't want you to succeed more than YOU want it.
    Erindel, GrnTea, Retired APRN, and 1 other like this.
  8. 2
    So good to read a few days before my very first clinical. Thank you.
    NutmeggeRN and RNsRWe like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from dudette10
    I want you to succeed. That is the only reason why I'm quizzing you, why I won't give you the answers, why I tell you look up the answer and let me know before the end of the clinical day. Being wrong as a nursing student isn't a crime; it's ok. It's the safest time for you to be wrong. I correct you because I want you to learn.

    If you are eager and take my constructive criticism openly, I will work with you more. If you cop an attitude when I'm trying to teach you, you are on your own. I have feelings too, and if you are irritated with my teaching style, I will not put myself out there for your benefit. I want you to succeed, but I can't want you to succeed more than YOU want it.
    What she said!
  10. 0
    Great thread!! Bump!
  11. 5
    And when you do make a mistake/make a fool of yourself/do something stupid -- as everyone does from time to time -- spend your commute home thinking of how to tell it on AN for maximum hilarity. Then post about it so we can all laugh!
    Susan1012, RNsRWe, GrnTea, and 2 others like this.


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