Disappointing First Clinical Experience

  1. 0
    Hello Everyone!

    I am a first year nursing student and had my very first day of clinicals this past Sunday (I am doing a weekend/evening program). I was very disappointed with my experience as we were there from 6:45AM until 1PM and spent 80% of the time standing around not really doing anything. I thought we were going to get 1 patient a piece. Instead, I had to share a patient with three other classmates. Out of the 6 hours we were at the clinical site, we only spent about 1 hour with our patient. The other 5 hours were spent meandering around, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. The nurse we were working under was busy with her other duties and said she would "grab us" if she was doing anything interesting or needed our help. She didn't end up coming to us for anything. The most interesting things I got to do were to fetch supplies out of clean utility and take a classmate's blood pressure. Our clinical instructor is very nice, but she is vague in her instructions and isn't very forthcoming with what she expects from us. Obviously they cannot assign us too much, because we are first year students, but I thought they would have assigned a lower ratio of students per patient, had all of us complete vitals on an actual patient, taught us how to use acu-chek, given us the hospital policy to read over, etc...

    What I am wondering is this: was my experience pretty typical? Should I be worried? What can I do to make the best of my clinical rotation? Any information or advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Last edit by nikkole318 on Sep 20, '10 : Reason: Sensitive Info
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  3. 21 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    My first clinical was very similar. We did assessments. And then assessments. And then...more freaking assessments. But they were broken up by system, so it would take maybe 5 minutes to do it. We'd sit around and do the documentation and try to find things to do.

    It helped me to find the PCA for my patients and ask about what I could do. It wasn't direct nursing tasks like you hope you'll get to do (and for God's sake people, I DO understand that ADL's are nursing activities, so don't go there) but at least I wasn't bored.

    The more you know, the more you will be expected to do. It's hard to expect much when you haven't had any of the technical skills and no pharm.
    snazzy-jazzy likes this.
  5. 1
    I'm in nursing 3 now but my 1st day of clinical, I hung an IV bag of antibiotics, gave a lovenox shot and passed some pills..among the usual stuff like assessment and whatnot. So it sounds to me like your 1st day experience was pretty worthless. But maybe they tried breaking you in gently and to see how the floor is managed? I don't know...I'm betting it won't always be like that for you. Good luck!
    classykaren likes this.
  6. 2
    I'm in my second semester and am really disappointed too. I still havent given a shot to an actual patient yet which i think is ridiculous. We didnt give any in long term care because we had like the healthiest people in a long term care possible. All I really did during long term care was give 2 people a shower, change a brief, and take vitals. Now im in psych and we were told that we werent going to do anything hands on, all psych involves is talking to patients, THATS IT. I hated that but I figured at least its the same for my whole class, but NO i found out today that several of my classmates have been giving injections at their psych facilities!! It makes me so angry because I feel VERY unprepared. I really hope that by the time I graduate I'll actually get practice with skills because at this rate I'm going to graduate knowing nothing!
    Kringe38 and classykaren like this.
  7. 3
    That's just poor supervision and teaching. Workers and students need things to do in order to learn and be productive. That said, it reminds me of some of the clinical time I put in back in paramedic school eight years ago or so. The quirky thing about rotations as a medic is that we didn't have preceptors, and none of the hospital staff had ever been or knew anything about paramedics, lol. That said, we just had to be observant about what was going on and throw ourselves in with whatever interested us. It was grossly awkward.
  8. 5
    Don't stand around doing nothing, it looks bad, makes you feel awkward and makes the day drag on. Ask if there is anything you can do? any beds that need to be made up? Any supplies that need sorting out? Linen trolley need sorting or just tidying up? Are there any interesting charts that they would suggest you look at? Patients rooms need tidying or water jugs need filling? At first you might like to ask first if you can do these things because you feel uncomfortable just jumping in, but otherwise just get in and do it. You'll get known amongst the nurses and they might just think to come and get you to watch a procedure or help.
  9. 0
    Can I ask how many students are in your class? I'm just wondering because I'm starting in the Spring 2011 and my school accepted 40 students but they will be broken up into groups of 20 I think. Just wondering if I'll have the same thing happen to me? I hope not, I would love to get all the expirience I can! Best Wishes
  10. 0
    We have a class of 31 students, but we are broken up into groups of 7-8 people.
  11. 0
    Where were you clinicals at, was it at a hospital or LTC type setting?
  12. 0
    Quote from ~Mi Vida Loca~
    Where were you clinicals at, was it at a hospital or LTC type setting?
    Hi Mi Vida Loca! I was in a hospital.

    I was wondering though - would anyone suggest maybe trying to get a nursing assistant or nurse extern job in a hospital? Maybe that will help me in the long run?


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