Frustrated with Clinicals Feel like Giving Up

  1. I have been in my clinical class for 8 weeks so far and all I have been doing is vital signs and finger stick blood sugar. This is exacty what I did last semester. Some of my classmates have had the opportunity to do dressing changes, bladder irrigations, foley catheters, med pass and trach care but not all except one student in particular. She always gets picked. She has broken the rules and comes in during the other clinicals hours to do other clinical work. I told the instructor that I want to do more. All she said is, "You will all have your chance. One at a time." The teacher said that pretty soon we will stop doing all of these treatment skills and just do med pass last week.

    I lost it and cried when I got home at clinicals. I don't know if I should complain because I don't want to get a bad grade. I volunteered to do these skills when we were asked to volunteer but the teacher constantly passes me up. This is really upsetting me. I feel like complaining to the dean. The teacher and I have a friendly relationship. I don't want to jeapardize this.

    What should I do? I feel like transferring schools or giving up.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   BellasMommyOBRN
    it would be a silly reason to give up. if you feel as though your nursing experience isn't living up to what it should for you than yes, speak with someone at your school that can either help you or give you their best advice. hopefully some nursing students on this forum will be able to tell you what their experience has been in ns so far. if you still feel as though your program is falling short compared to others, research other schools in your area. it's your education. it's your money. fight for it and make sure it is everything you want it to be.
  4. by   OnTheRoad
    How many semesters in are you? Skills present themselves as they present themselves. Personally... I am almost done with my AS and still have not inserted a foley. It isn't that my instructors haven't looked for or I haven't looked for opportunities, there have simply not been any to start during all my clinicals. One day I will start a foley and in the mean time I will do whatever else my instructor or nurses will allow me to. I have been reminded consistently though that almost anyone can be trained to perform a skill... it is the critical thinking and knowledge that makes us nurses. Try to remember that and if you stick with your program... research what instructors teach what clinicals and try to get into ones that will suit you more. Just my two pennies
  5. by   live&love&heal
    Thank you sooo much for your responses IsabellasMommyRN2B and OnTheRoad! I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

    IsabellasMommyRN2B I know it sounds silly to give up but, I guess the frustration of these clinical classes has built up and my patience has run thin.

    To answer OnTheRoad's question, I am in my third semester of an LVN program. We are assigned to a hospital with a subacute pts. I was so excited to be assigned there but, now I am sad and disappointed. I'm also mad that preferential treatment is being given to one student which is not fair to me nor the other students. is this normal in nursing programs. There are no check off lists either.

    I am definitely with you that critical thinking and knowledge is what makes a nurse. I am getting A's and one B throughout the program and am nailing down as many NCLEX questions I can work on everyday. Its just the clinicals that I am not happy with.

    I agree that skills can be taught. I am just worried whether I will be able to get a job not having any experience in executing these skills. Do employers teach you clinical skills that you are supposed to know?

    I am a very patient and nice person but, sometimes I wonder why the nice people get the bad end of the stick.
  6. by   emijen2girls
    As an LPN of 13 years who works in a busy surgical floor I want to give you a realistic view of real nursing. yes, inserting foleys and NG tubes are fun and exciting but the most important thing you need to learn in school for the benefit of your patients is a good/excellent assessment skills. All those other treatments will present themselves in due time (some not until you work) but what will make you a great nurse is your ability to carefully assess you patients and be alert to changes that could mean life or death to them.
    Now, do not get me wrong, I too enjoyed doing procedures and viewing a surgery in the OR as a student but taking your time and learning to do in deapth assessment will mean so much more for your patients in the future (and this is why you want to be a nurse right? To give good care to the sick).
    hang in there.....you will get all the procedures you want (and more) when you work a busy floor like mine. And then it will be 'straight cath now' 5 min before report.....:wink2:.
  7. by   justme1972
    Don't worry, this is typical, we have our "pets" in our class, and I hate to say, I am not one of them.

    Clinicals, I have learned, is really not the opportunity to learn a whole lot, it's about observation..otherwise they would make more of an effort to make sure all of us got to have more hands on experience instead of being used as extra help in the hospital for baths only.

    Whenever they ask for volunteers, be sure to make yourself known. I'm in my 3rd semester...I have done 2 IV"s 2 foleys, 3 shots, and other than baths, that's it. However, I have seen alot more done, so much that I would probably feel very comfortable doing some things the first time.

    That is why most hospitals have an extensive orientation for you when you start b/c they know tons of students come out of school not knowing how to do everything.
  8. by   mama_d
    I also got very frustrated while doing clinicals for my LPN program. My best friend in nursing school and I would buddy up and have all care and paperwork done by about 9am, leaving us with hours of nothing clinical to do for our patients. We checked with our instructor to see if it would be okay to observe the nurses doing procedures on other patients, and they were all fine with that, so we would go from nurse to nurse on the floor and volunteer to be an extra set of hands during any procedure that they had to do, be it dressing changes/Foleys/tube feeds etc. Although we didn't get to actually do the procedures, the mere fact that we were able to observe many of them (and the other students did not take advantage) gave us an edge when it came time to do it ourselves. The nurses also appreciated having a chance to show off their knowledge and having a gofer at the bedside just in case.

    Stay patient, once you get that license, you'll be doing plenty of procedures!
  9. by   burlygirl
    Don't rock the boat. We all know how subjective the clinical experience can be, the last thing you want to do is get on your instructors "list". You've worked too hard to get to this point to quit over frustration. Like the others have said, do your time, retain everything you can and your time to apply your knowledge will absolutely come!
  10. by   jjjoy
    One of the best experiences I had as a student was an instructor who would have us 'round' together on all of our patients. It was great because we got exposure to dozens of different patients and conditions as opposed to just the one or two patients we were assigned to. As another noted, you can't really control how many opportunities you may have to practice different skills. Yet another noted that assessment skills are even more important. First hand exposure to things often really makes the info stick and become "real". So if possible, I'd think it would be great if your classmates could, with the consent of your patients, 'present' your patients to each other so that you can learn that much more during your short time as nursing students.
  11. by   live&love&heal
    Thank you all for your input and advice!!! Its nice to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. I talked to the clinical coordinator at my school and she said that she had no idea that the instructor has been giving all of the opportunities to the "pet". She also said that several other students have complained to her about this matter as well. So, I have to wait on Tuesday at clinicals to see whether anything changes.
  12. by   Bobylon
    Quote from OnTheRoad
    .....Skills present themselves as they present themselves. Personally... I am almost done with my AS and still have not inserted a foley. It isn't that my instructors haven't looked for or I haven't looked for opportunities, there have simply not been any to start during all my clinicals. One day I will start a foley and in the mean time I will do whatever else my instructor or nurses will allow me to. I have been reminded consistently though that almost anyone can be trained to perform a skill... it is the critical thinking and knowledge that makes us nurses. Try to remember that and if you stick with your program... research what instructors teach what clinicals and try to get into ones that will suit you more. Just my two pennies
    I agree ..... I've yet to insert a Foley myself (although did witness one being done...) In FACT, one of the LPNs that I was helping at clinicals in a LTC facility stated she'd been a LPN for almost 2 years, and had not yet (neither in school or on the job) inserted a Foley. Our clinicals so far have seemed, for the most part, as doing beds-baths-vitals, or passing meds. Gets "routine," but like OnTheRoad said, "Skills present themselves as they present themselves." Sooner or later, we'll all get a chance to do pretty much everything we're permitted to as LPNs, like it or not
  13. by   AZMOMO2
    I don't know if anyone has suggested this but have you tried applying at a local hospital as a Nurse Tech/PCT... you don't get to do all the skills ( like meds ) but things like wound care and foleys and blood draws are allowed and those are very important NS skills...Just a thought to help you round out your education. Don't quit!! You are almost there!!
    Good luck!
  14. by   asdfghjkl123
    I'm glad that you had a good outcome when you took the issue to a higher authority, although it would not have been the path I chose. Because we have some very pushy and overbearing clinical professors in my program, I try to fly under the radar and really just let my skills and my patient's feedback do the talking for me.

    Don't worry about not being able to practice all of your skills during clinicals, like others have mentioned, hospitals do realize that as a new nurse, there will be things you haven't had the oppertunity to practice.

    The best advice I can offer is just to make yourself available! A lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time. Frequently a nurse on the floor will say I have a patient needing a foley inserted or an IV started, who wants it? You just have to jump at the chance and go for it!

    Also like mama_d mentioned, you had to ask around! I will often tell my nurse and others on the shift that I am a student, and if they have anything going on that I could participate in or even just observe... that things that may seem mundane to them are really exciting to me! I have really good responses to statements like that. And many of the nurses I work with in clinicals are new grads and are happy to kind of take a student under their wing if the student really shows interest.

    So ok, some things to think about! Don't worry, you'll have a new clinical professor next semester! Happy nursing!

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