First day of clinicals .. does this get easier?

  1. 1
    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 have never even had a family member in the hospital. I felt very uncomfortable, was nervous, and made several mistakes. Is it like this for everyone?

    I'm a shy person, which is part of the problem. I'm not really a "people person". I like people, and am interested in people's needs and desires and right to remain healthy, but I've just never had a hands-on type of situation to play that out in. I like to stand back and observe for a while before I jump in and start doing something, but that isn't going to work for nursing school. I can tell that the learning curve is going to be pretty steep, as far as the hands-on stuff.

    I know this is probably very premature, but I'm already thinking maybe I am not meant to be a nurse if I was so uncomfortable around illness and in that hospital situation. It was quite a shock, honestly.

    Any advice or word of wisdom are appreciated.
    Newbiestudent18 likes this.

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  3. 22 Comments...

  4. 3
    It is a very difficult job and you really have to love what you are doing to sustain in this profession. Your first day jitters are perfectly normal and you need to give yourself some more time before you make a switch. Part of being a student is to identify your weaknesses in practice and build on them. Learn from your mistakes now. If you are not sure about something ASK! I bet you remember every mistake you made, now go back and review, review, review! I can remember my first day of clincals and being scared out of my mind. When you are scared, you care! Mastering the basic nursing skill will help ease your clinical anxiety, but mastery takes time. You will look back and laugh about how nervous you were drawing up IV meds..over time it becomes second nature.
  5. 0
    Where are your clinicals at? It does get easier and you will get more comfortable.

    My first clinical was in a nursing home, it was much different than the hospital. Second semester we did clinicals at the hospital. We went for orientation and they gave up our list of expectations by the end of clinical. I went home and almost thought about dropping out of nursing school. I looked at the list and thought their was no way I was going to be able to do all these things. I was so scared and nervous. My first day I had to dive right in, after that it got easier and easier and now I love clinicals. I am about to start my last rotation of clinicals the week after next. I always get nervous again that first day but I am a completely different person in clinicals now than I was that first day in the hospital.
  6. 0
    I know how you feel our first clinicals are at a nursing home as well and sometimes just wanna quit and do anything but bedside but it's just the clinical site we are at. It will get better just stick it through.
  7. 2
    I think shy people have a problem in general. Clinicals aren't really that difficult. You just have to be able to barge in, state what you're going to do, and do it without anybody getting in your way. Take ownership of it. You're paying to be there afterall.
    PinkNBlue and citylights89 like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from ImThatGuy
    I think shy people have a problem in general. Clinicals aren't really that difficult. You just have to be able to barge in, state what you're going to do, and do it without anybody getting in your way. Take ownership of it. You're paying to be there afterall.

    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.
    Sandra_NS likes this.
  9. 2
    Maybe once you are confident about what to ask your patients, communicating will be easier.

    I felt so lost at the beginning, but now, I feel like I own the place . Over time, with experience and a stronger and broader knowledge base, you will be quite competent at communicating with patients.
    Sandra_NS and ~Mi Vida Loca~RN like this.
  10. 0
    Thanks everyone. We are in the hospital, med-surg floor. Our clinicals were supposed to start in LTC, but something happened with that (not sure what, instructors haven't really told us) and now we will just be in the hospital our whole first semester.

    We didn't get a patient assignment for our first day, it was just a day to get acquainted with the floor and the other nurses and aides while doing baths and bed changes and things like that. We were expected to just jump in and start doing stuff. I'm not good at that ... especially when there are 9 other students doing the same thing. It was easy to feel like I was just in the way. All this while dealing with the emotional shock of the new environment and all.

    I understand cognitively that it will probably get easier as I get more familiar with everything, but in the meantime it's easy to think that I'm just going to be a bad nurse.
  11. 0
    like you, I like people and am very interested in them and have a desire to take care of them, but also like you, I'm shy and I'm a wallflower and would be the person observing rather than jumping right in. I was like this for awhile. Some situations I was still very uncomfortable (like L&D! I was actually very uncomfortable throughout that whole rotation ) and I would still kind of be in that wallflower position but now I am not. It gets easier the more you do it. I also work in a hospital (still as a tech, not an RN yet but hopefully within the next few weeks...) but anyway that made interacting with people so much easier. It's normal to be very nervous during your first rotation.
  12. 0
    Very normal! I too would rather be a wallflower but I promise the more you do it, the more comfortable you become. I started off in LTC and felt the very same way, now being in the hospital I think back at how much easier the LTC was lol. Anything new is scary and intimidating, hang in there!

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