First Day of Clinicals....Disaster - page 3

by WILLBEANRN 10,304 Views | 38 Comments

Hi everyone, I just wanted to share about my first day of clinicals. It was awful. :crying2: We had partners to take care of one patient. Our patient was 95 and her daughter was glued to her side. I was to start vitals. The... Read More


  1. 0
    Oh my goodness, you poor thing! It sounds like you don't have a very nice instructor. Remember WHY you started this journey...you want to care for others. Don't let that day discourage you. Some days you leave feeling defeated and others you leave walking on air because everything went smoothly and you made a huge difference in someone's life that day. Things will get better, just keep going, learning, and it will just come naturally. Hang in there!!!
  2. 0
    That is really good to hear. thank you for sharing that it is possible to come back from a shaky start
  3. 0
    Yea, I just had 2 clinicals so far. The first week we were to buddy up and follow around a PCA to get a feel for the unit and help her out a bit with the basic nursing duties. All the patients were so nice and I felt good changing beds and helping people to the restroom! LOL Small things, but they made me feel good.

    A few weeks later, after we had to get checked off for our meds (which was an ordeal in itself), it was time to go back. At first, we were going to be buddied up again with one of our classmates to one patient. Then, all of a sudden we were changed to one patient each. Me and my partner were already nervous and then we get separated! Man, I swear for that whole shift I probably went into the patient's room 5 times out of 8 hours. the rest of the time I was on the hospital patient computer system to get the med information and look up some information on the database about things I didn't know that could help me. I gave meds, which went fine, and did a half-assed head to toe, which could have been better. I hadn't did one since last semester for the check off so I couldn't remember the exact places to check and how to do it. My instructor showed me how I would document it on the hospital system. It was during that time that I realized how much I missed. I felt incompetent and said that I missed so much. She said that it'll happen for a while, even after when you're a new grad, because it happened to her. I just don't want it to be a common occurrence for me to be so forgetful. I'm pretty sure my patient was like "Get outta here! What are you doing?" compared the the compliment filled patients from the last time. The way the RNs and PCAs had good relationships with the patients made me feel worse, like a worm on a totem pole. The only I know to do right now is to prepare myself as much as possible for next time. I don't like feeling inadequate.
  4. 0
    The 95 year old patient's family had the right to insist on the blood pressure first...had you given the bath first or moved her around for the assessment, your BP might have been artificially high, so the patient's daughter was correct in her request.

    Also...did you have to take health assessment BEFORE you started your class for clinicals?

    That was the first thing that stood out on your post...we didn't have health assessment until our second year and that is when we did the assessment.
  5. 0
    I go to the same school as the OP and physical assessment is one of the first things we learn in lecture and campus lab. We have several campus lab days, then check off and then we start in the hospital. By the time we actually get to start in the hospital, there are only like 4 clinical days left (these are 8hr days, not 12hr).

    Also, the OP did say they were starting vitals first, and that's when the daughter insisted on the BP being done first, not that they were going to start the bath or assessment first.
  6. 6
    Can I just be frank? You are not the failure, your instructor is. I am a nursing instructor, and would never in a million years treat a student in this way. It would be one thing if you were a student who was well advanced in the program and still didn't understand where to place the foley bag. However, this was your first day. I can't understand how this is teaching you anything. Yes, you should have been corrected, in a private manner, with compassion.

    The only time I would ever become this angry is if a student isn't trying (ex- reading a book instead of working, etc). You were trying. Everyone has bad days, and if this experience had been treated properly (as a learning experience) it still could have taught you what not to do without completely undermining your confidence. It is possible to have extremely tough standards without resorting to humiliation and unkindness to enforce them.

    You are on track as much as one would expect at this point. I would ask experienced staff about developing a routine, and as you mentioned, begin to find a plan that works for you in organizing your day. It will get easier. That said, even the best laid plans go awry, and we all have horrible, terrible days from time to time. Brush yourself off, and realize that the problem is primarily the manner in which your instructor handled things. I will say one thing: the best thing I see coming from this so far is that you easily admit mistakes. There is nothing more dangerous than a nurse who either does not admit or does not realize more mistakes (in other words, a "know it all"). Clearly you are not this type of student. This is a good thing.
    Last edit by AOx1 on Mar 18, '10
    nursel56, jt43, lilbutterfly1, and 3 others like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from LiveToLearn
    Can I just be frank? You are not the failure, your instructor is. I am a nursing instructor, and would never in a million years treat a student in this way. It would be one thing if you were a student who was well advanced in the program and still didn't understand where to place the foley bag. However, this was your first day. I can't understand how this is teaching you anything. Yes, you should have been corrected, in a private manner, with compassion.

    The only time I would ever become this angry is if a student isn't trying (ex- reading a book instead of working, etc). You were trying. Everyone has bad days, and if this experience had been treated properly (as a learning experience) it still could have taught you what not to do without completely undermining your confidence. It is possible to have extremely tough standards without resorting to humiliation and unkindness to enforce them.

    You are on track as much as one would expect at this point. I would ask experienced staff about developing a routine, and as you mentioned, begin to find a plan that works for you in organizing your day. It will get easier. That said, even the best laid plans go awry, and we all have horrible, terrible days from time to time. Brush yourself off, and realize that the problem is primarily the manner in which your instructor handled things. I will say one thing: the best thing I see coming from this so far is that you easily admit mistakes. There is nothing more dangerous than a nurse who either does not admit or does not realize more mistakes (in other words, a "know it all"). Clearly you are not this type of student. This is a good thing.

    Perfectly said!!!!! I just want to add, with experience you will learn how to walk into a room quickly assess everything you need to grab to get your morning started and go. Also You will learn to multi task in a way of doing much of your physical assessment while doing other things such as your bed bath! Perfect time to do it. You're going over the whole body, and you can talk and ask questions as you go as to keep it comfortable and not awkward small talk.

    And as you're instructor said, you should be upset, well not nicely said.. but it's good that you were upset because it means you care! You care and want to fix your mistakes, that is a POSITIVE thing!

    Hang in there Keep your head high and walk in there next week with a smile on your face and just do your best
  8. 0
    Quote from sunraygurlRN
    Willbeanrn,

    Don't sweat it. Come up with a game plan on the order of how you want to do things. Go in, get your report from your nurse, introduce yourself to your patient, do your vitals and then your assessment. Try to get that done before breakfast. Then, you can write your notes while they are eating and when they are done, you can do your bath and linens. You will have patients who can wash themselves at times, so bring them their stuff and go in and change their sheets. It will get easier. After running behind that first day even though I had another student WITH me, I never thought I would be on time on my own. But I've been on my own since, and I have been doing just fine. .
    May I just say THANK YOU for writing this out? I'm a first-year, first-semester student, with no previous hospital working experience and this information is EXACTLY what I need to know. It may sound dumb, but just knowing what is going to be expected, what kind of day I may have, that makes it a little easier to breathe and prepare. Thanks again.
  9. 0
    Ahhhh....I remember my first med-surg clinical last year. We were on a busy renal/pulmonary/GI floor
    with pretty sick patients. My clinical instructor came out of retirement to teach, and watched us like
    a hawk. I remember thinking "I'm going to die and so will the patient" the first time I was on my own.
    There were definitely a few meltdowns between the students and the CI over trivial things (baths, feeding, Foley care),
    but we all survived.

    +1 to the above game plan. Figure out when important stuff like when meds are passed, meals, and procedures occur
    (like PT comes at 10) and organize around that. I found the day went best if I knocked everything out of the way as soon
    as I could. Plan your stuff like baths, linen changes, ROM exercises after you medicate for pain. I also invite the patients and family
    to be involved in care, because most of the time the family members are anxious to do anything to help their loved one.
  10. 2
    Quote from WordWrangler
    May I just say THANK YOU for writing this out? I'm a first-year, first-semester student, with no previous hospital working experience and this information is EXACTLY what I need to know. It may sound dumb, but just knowing what is going to be expected, what kind of day I may have, that makes it a little easier to breathe and prepare. Thanks again.
    This thread is two years old but it is always good to hear you aren't the only one. Organization is key....

    take a look at these brain sheets you may find one to help

    mtp med surg.doc 1 patient float.doc‎
    5 pt. shift.doc‎
    final graduate shift report.doc‎
    horshiftsheet.doc‎
    report sheet.doc‎
    day sheet 2 doc.doc

    critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students
    student clinical report sheet for one patient

    i made some for nursing students and some other an members (daytonite)have made these for others.....adapt them way you want. i hope they help
    WordWrangler and OB-nurse2013 like this.


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