Freezing Up and Going Blank at Clinical

  1. WHAT is wrong with me? I'm an A student and just started my second year. I'm not sure if it was the summer off or what, but I feel like I've lost all my confidence at clinical. Last year, no problems...loved clinical. This quarter I literally get so nervous I feel like I'm going to throw up. When it comes time to do a new procedure I freeze up and feel like running away. I'm still preparing, looking up my drugs, pt history etc....but when my clinical instructor makes rounds to ask about our patients I find myself going blank when she quizzes me on things.:imbar Now I'm constantly thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this profession or maybe not hospital nursing.:uhoh21:

    Any one else go through a funk like this? What helped?
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   irshnrse
    You are being way to hard on yourself! Everyone goes through this. Just take a deep breath. It sounds like you are maybe trying a little too hard. No one is perfect, but that is hard to tell nurses and nursing students that because, deep down, we are all a little type A. It is difficult to have someone following your every move! You will do fine. Good Luck.


    Quote from WAstudent
    WHAT is wrong with me? I'm an A student and just started my second year. I'm not sure if it was the summer off or what, but I feel like I've lost all my confidence at clinical. Last year, no problems...loved clinical. This quarter I literally get so nervous I feel like I'm going to throw up. When it comes time to do a new procedure I freeze up and feel like running away. I'm still preparing, looking up my drugs, pt history etc....but when my clinical instructor makes rounds to ask about our patients I find myself going blank when she quizzes me on things.:imbar Now I'm constantly thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this profession or maybe not hospital nursing.:uhoh21:

    Any one else go through a funk like this? What helped?
  4. by   student4ever
    First off, take a deep breath and relax. You're panicking yourself by concentrating on your nervousness. Tell yourself that you're going through a phase where you don't feel as confident - that's okay!!! We all do! When I was doing my skills review on foley insertion the other day, I got so nervous (even though I've done tons of catheters, no problem!) that I broke sterility with my gloves - after I changed them, I was shaking so bad from nerves that I dropped the whole tray - betadine and KY jelly all over the patient, the floor, me, etc. etc. It happens to all of us!

    Now, tips to help you through this. Sounds like you're doing a great job preparing for your clinicals. As a second year, you know already what kinds of questions the instructor is going to ask. Think through what questions she might ask, and answer them in your head. Concentrate fully on the task at hand, trying not to worry about anything else going on around you. Focus on what you're doing, and review in your mind why you need to do this, what the medication you're administering is going to do for your patient, the patient's condition that requires the drug, etc. That way you have this information right there in your head, ready to spit it out immediately when the instructor asks.

    Good luck, and I'm sure you'll do fine!!!!
  5. by   Gail-Anne
    How about a little role-playing before clinicals? Even doing it yourself may help, thinking out the questions you'll be asked etc. What's wrong with pulling out your notes to refer to when you're asked? As long as you aren't doing it with every single question, I'd think an instructor would rather see that you are organized with your info than fumbling in the dark.
    Do you get along with this instructor or feel intimidated by him/her? That could be the issue, if this continues try talking to him/her and asking for their feedback and suggestions. Good luck (and remember to take that deep breath, it not only gives you O2, it gives you a second to prepare your thoughts before tripping over your tongue!).
  6. by   MIA-RN1
    I do the same thing. Last semester after hanging tons of IV bags, piggybacks etc, the instructor let me hand them without her assistance at all the last clinical day. She just stood there. I froze. Completely. One bag in each hand and I was looking at the pump like I'd never seen it before in my life. Oh wow, how embarrassing.
    point is, it happens.
    What I do now, I just pretend I am someone else. Like a Supernurse with a capitol S. So when instructor asks me something, I answer as I know Supernurse would..with the right answer.
    Sounds dorky but it gets me thru the freezes.
  7. by   WAstudent
    Thanks guys....it's nice to know I'm not in the boat alone.

    I've been brushing up on possible clincial scenarios and skills the morning before clinicals. I think I just need to gain some confidence and quit letting new things intimidate me. I've been focusing really hard on seeking out new opportunities to try new skills and procedures and am just try to keep in mind that I am there to learn.

    Hopefully I'll get to the point where I'm not dreading clinical days but actually looking forward to them!
  8. by   vegnurse21
    I'm a little late in replying, but I thought maybe I could offer a bit of advice possibly! I just got done with a clinical rotation where I had an instructor that would drill us on tons of stuff with our patients and as much as I hated it, it was really beneficial to my learning. I froze up the first few times and I really felt like an idiot! But I learned what I needed to know, or rather, what SHE wanted me to know.

    Make sure you have all current labs out in front of you on a sheet of paper for any kind of meds you may be giving. Make sure you know all nursing implications for you meds (ie...do they need to be taken with meals? Is the diuretic K+ wasting/sparing?) Know the reasons why you're giving all meds and the rate at which you need to be giving all of them because as you know (grr lol) it's not always written on the MAR. Write this stuff down! Even if he/she yells at you for looking, at least you're aware and you're not just wandering in the dark. Plus you're more apt to remember this stuff if you write it down, yanno? Just be sure to keep updated on vitals/O2 sats if the pt is COPD (I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, I swear lol...I make this mistake CONSTANTLY lol).

    I hope this helps...if this has nothing to do with the mistakes you're making then I'm sorry! This is just the kind of stuff my instructor drilled us on. I know when we were giving a diuretic we had to know that K+ level was and if we had to look it up we got in big time trouble.

    Good luck hun, try not to be so hard on yourself!
  9. by   nursejen77
    If you meet your patient before you prepare for clinical it may help. Take 5 minutes with your patient. Get an idea of the neuro status and functioning. Develop a little bit of a relationship with the patient. When I was in school we had to go the night before our clinical to pick our patient, we werent allowed to touch the patient w/out our instructor in the building, but talking was allowed. It will help you to put a face to the patient while you are preparing and you will remember more. Patients in general are very lonely and love to have someone talk to them for a few minutes, 5 minutes can feel like an hour to them. You can get so much objective information, and subjective just from this interaction that it is amazing. My problem in nursing school was that I didn't have a decent "report sheet" I tried to make them myself but had no luck, ask your precepting nurses for a copy of what report sheet they use and it will help you to put the processes in a systematic order to help you remember things. I have been out of school for a year and a half and still have problems with giving report- take a systematic approach and it seems to work best for me. Good luck, stick in there. Ask any nurse, we all have horror stories from Nursing School and we made it through.

close