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.
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  3. Visit  Neldavi} profile page

    About Neldavi

    Joined May '10; Posts: 27; Likes: 10.

    22 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  CodeCEU} profile page
    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. Visit  ~Mi Vida Loca~RN} profile page
    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. Visit  Servingshots} profile page
    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. Visit  ImThatGuy} profile page
    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. Visit  ~Mi Vida Loca~RN} profile page
    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. Visit  Despareux} profile page
    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. Visit  Neldavi} profile page
    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. Visit  turnforthenurseRN} profile page
    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. Visit  coffeemama} profile page
    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!
  13. Visit  OB-nurse2013} profile page
    2
    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.
  14. Visit  metricalpound} profile page
    3
    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
  15. Visit  Newbiestudent18} profile page
    4
    Hello!
    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't....trust in urself and be more confident
    biwa, studentLJinCA, JuniorsMommyLPN, and 1 other like this.


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