First day of clinicals .. does this get easier? - page 2

I'm a first semester nursing student and I just had my first clinical day today. I've been doing very well in the classroom, but this is a whole other deal. I've never worked in any sort of medical or caretaker situation and... Read More

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    Quote from ~Mi Vida Loca~
    I don't know about that, I am far from shy. But I was pretty intimidated my first day in clinical in both the LTC and Hospital. Especially having no prior medical experience outside of being a patient numerous times. I never had problems with being bullied or taken advantage of by aides or any of that like people described. I don't tolerate that. But even so, I still was nervous and intimidated those first times. It wasn't about the clinical actually being difficult, it was just that it was all very new.
    I have to agree. I am also pretty outgoing so I never once thought twice about being nervous at my first clinical which was just two weeks ago, and guess what? I was very intimidated and it really took me off guard because I just didn't expect that in myself. It is getting better and I noticed people treat me better when I go with a sense of confidence even though I really don't have oneI just pretend This thread is nice to read though, because its nice to know you're not alone.
    Sandra_NS and ~Mi Vida Loca~RN like this.

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    My first day was such a wreck. All I had to do was interview a patient and I was super nervous, tripping on almost every word and felt weird that I was in a hospital talking to a sick person about their health history - don't sick people just want to be left alone?

    My second week, I was just as nervous and we were supposed to do vitals too on top of our interview. I started with my interview and my clinical instructor came in and told me to wait to do the interview and just start with the vitals since we just learnt how to do them. I had to leave the room to get a thermometer to take the patients temperature and when I got back - he looked at me, almost as if was angry, frustrated, and said, "Get the nurse - I need to speak to the nurse."

    Of course, I thought to myself, "Wow - he thinks that I know nothing and he wants me out of his room." I felt disappointed in myself and useless while I searched for the nurse. I told the nurse the patient wanted her and I followed her in the room to hear exactly what the patient thought of me.

    But then a funny thing happened. He told the nurse that he was getting really dizzy when I was interviewing him. He didn't want me to leave - he was afraid that he was going downhill. The nurse took his BP - it was really high. She gave him medication. And I was with him for the rest of the day - even took a trip with him to get an echocardio done.

    The point is is that day I learnt that when I'm in the hospital, it's not about me, it's about the patient. I know what I know; and what I don't know, I know where to get help in clinical situations.

    Now when I go into a patient's room, even if they are unconscious or demented in anyway, I smile, introduce myself and ask them how they are doing today. I then proceed to explain to them that I'm going to do a physical on them while explaining every reason for every part of it.

    It does get better - just make sure to learn from it. =D
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    I was actually just like u when i was on my first semester...i'm now in 2nd sem.
    it's normal to feel threatened/uncomfortable especially when this is ur first time, just like u, i've never worked in any kind of medical department whatsoever, but my mom is a nurse, and i'm only 18! lol so u can tell how nervous i was! plus i'm not fluent in english, which makes it double hard for me to talk to patients..
    but u know what? my advice is to practice everything u learned from lab! since i am studying in a private nursing school, they provides us lots of resources, so after class we will have "open lab" when the professor will stay and u can practice all the skills u learned so far, i think if u master all those skills u learned, it shouldn't be too hard when u go to clinicals...

    another tip is to act more comfortable, eventhough u may seem nervous, don't let it show! right now, i find that i'm more comfortable going in to patient's room, introduce urself, i usually say something like "hi, my name is .....and i'm a student nurse, nice to meet you, do u need anything? is there anything i could help u with?" and since we always do A.M care, i usually offer a "bed bath" so they could eat afterwards...and that's it! then tell them u will be coming in and out of his/her room...take their vital signs and do ur assessments as usual, they usually don't ask coz they are used to nurses just coming in and taking their vital signs...

    another one, always smile!! believe me, it brightens their day! especially in the morning! and talk to them casually, i find that talking to them in a normal way like u would with ur friend/classmates makes them open up to u more, and u wouldn't feel nervous!

    also, before u enter the room, make sure u know what ur going to say, i usually practice what i'm going to say so i don't stutter when i'm actually talking to the patient...

    and be friendly with the nurses! smile at them and ask them politely if u need something but don't ask or bother them when they are doing something like giving meds, coz they will ignore u...i always try to find the right timing when they don't seem busy.

    so yeah, i'm sure u'll get through that phase once u get the hang of it, it's still ur first sem, so u have a looong way to go! and u will be more comfortable in time! just breath in and breath out, be urself, smile more, prepare before u go in to the patient's room, and don't show any signs of nervousness when u talk to the patient. u'll make it through! if i made it, i'm sure there's no reason why u couldn' in urself and be more confident
    biwa, studentLJinCA, JuniorsMommyLPN, and 1 other like this.
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    It's all your perspective I guess.
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    I still struggle on days when we are supposed to just jump in and help out, and I'm in my third clinical rotation. The problem is that when you go up to a nurse and say "Can I help you with anything?" their automatic response is usually no, especially if they are busy. And it's not because they don't have tasks they could delegate to you, it's because they are focusing so hard on managing their time, they just see an unfamiliar face asking to help them and they think "I don't have time to stop and teach this person right now!". So I've found it's all in what you say. "Do you have any patients with glucose checks I could do for you?". "Are any of your patients being discharged and need their IV's removed?". This can play on your strength of observing too, because it shows that you recognize a need, instead of asking them to think of a task for you.
    For me it got much better when I had my patient assignment because then I had tasks to carry out and a specific role for the day, instead of "helper". I would not make a decision about nursing school based on your first experience because it IS awkward and uncomfortable. But it will get better.
    Sandra_NS likes this.
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    It definitely gets a lot easier! I'm in my 2nd semester, and I can vividly remember my first patient. I came in the room to introduce myself to her while the doctor was talking. She started crying after he left and I grabbed her hand and she held it tightly and said, "I don't want to be here." And I just told her that I'd try to help her have a good experience while she was in my care. I had no CLUE what I was even supposed to be doing, but I figured I would try and console her. And I thought to myself, "Yeah, this is what nurses do! I'm helping someone! I'm making a difference! I CAN do this for the rest of my life!"

    Then the fun started.

    She was the feistiest old lady I have ever encountered my entire 7 months of nursing thus far! She asked me to open her sugar for breakfast and called me a "smart ass" told me she threw her pills away and watched me search frantically through the garbage when she actually took them, told me to wipe that fake smile off my face numerous times, asked me if I "knew what I was doing" when I took her vitals, (I was fumbling around quite a bit) and mocked me while I gave her a bed bath! Sheesh! It took all I had not to quit nursing school right then and there, especially not ever having a job before. This was a totally new culture shock.

    But despite all that, I've shaped up quite nicely since. Now I'm giving PO meds, IM/SubQ injections, hanging IV bags, and I can manage 2 patients efficiently without getting cursed at! Granted there is still SO MUCH I do not know, but, I've finally figured out how the hospital works and what my role is. I would've handled that first patient so much differently now!

    Good luck to you!
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    I feel it's totally normal. I'm still super nervous giving medications because... it's a medication and could potentially harm the patient. I'm so cautious and on edge that I'm going to do something unsafe or incorrect. Some of that is just part of being new and being the "student". Nurses eat their young so when you're paired up with a nurse, it makes a difference on how she is with you and is a huge deciding factor on how your day is going to go. If you have a nurse that is patient with you, allows you to do many things and answers your questions, it's a great day. If your nurse is impatient, uninterested and annoyed that you were put with her, it sucks.

    To say you'll eventually feel comfortable in clinical, I'm not so sure... because I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable 100%. It's intimidating! But hang in there and remember, take advantage of things when you're a student and it's more "appropriate" to not know things as much as opposed to when you're a new grad and should be expected to know certain things. Good luck!
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    It gets easier as you get more used to the setting. I am a very shy person too, but when you walk into a patients room and they say, "why don't you every smile or talk?" you realize that they need someone to make them feel better and you just open up to them and joke around with them to make them feel better.
  9. 0
    LOL, first BREATHE!

    Yes, it will get easier with study and practice just like everything else. Like the first time you tried anything and maybe you got it but it was akward but each time you tried it got easier. Clinical practice is the same. You study for the knowledge and practice to get better and more efficient.
  10. 0
    I remember my first day of clinicals with a shuddder. I had never worked in a health care setting, but even my classmates that had were running around with a deer in the headlights look. I think that's very common, and it is a very uncomfortable feeling at first. you are asking patients things that you have never asked another person and seeing body parts that other people don't normally see. You will get used to it. Or you won't, and may decide to go into another field. Just hang in there. I am about to graduate and I freak out at least the first day of every new rotation.

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