Tomorrow is our first day of clinicals with my fellow lpn class, and I'm incredibly nervous. I'm afraid I won't know where things are, ill forget the exact location of the showers, etc. The staff there doesn't seem to like nursing students, so I'm sure they'd get annoyed quickly with questions.
The other thing is, we have to do a head to toe assessment, and I find myself wondering where to start...I guess it's obvious, from head to feet. So then I'm shining a pen light in their eyes, then asking them if they know where they are..Things I would think would be annoying to a patient in the morning?
I don't know, I'm very analytical about small details and like to be precise, so the thought of seeming incompetent or even clueless is frightening and embarrassing. I just want to be good at it from the start and get everything right.
Can you practice on someone today?
Your nerves are normal. One girl in my nursing class cried on the first day of clinicals because she had to wake someone up.
Remember, patients are there because they need care. NURSING care. You are there to begin learning how to provide that. Most patients enjoy having students. A few do not and they have the right to refuse your presence. You don't have to offer that. Believe me, they will let you know.
You will look back on this time, if not with fondness, then with a dramatic awareness of how far you have come. You will only have one first day. Then it will become more routine. Nerves are understandable, so think of the things you want to identify, like the showers and use your fellow students as a resource. Clinical groups often bond around that kind of divide and conquer sharing of knowledge.
Remember why you wanted to do this.
Recognize if your instructor felt you were unsafe you would not be there.
Remember that patients want someone caring and competent more than anything else.
Head to toe is just that...head to toe. Trust your knowledge. The patient isn't going anywhere. If you forget something...you go back in and do it.
Good luck tomorrow. You only get one first day. Courage!
I’m assuming your first Clinical is going to be either at a long term care facility or a skilled nursing facility? In my experience most patients enjoyed having nursing students. I don’t think I had one patient that didn’t want a student doing assessments on them. Of course you’re not gonna remember where things are, of course some nurses don’t enjoy having students because they are busy. They are people just like you. Knowing everything from the start is impossible. If someone is good at things from the start and get everything right, why even go to nursing school? They should just go straight to being a nurse. Your first semester in nursing school is literally “playing nurse”. Consider it as a learning activity and enjoy it. Good luck!
How did it go today, dragonhawk? I hope your first day was better than you expected. Keep us posted!
Let me tell you a story. A hundred years ago when I was a new grad nurse, I got an admission from the ED during the night...an older gentleman who fell off his bicycle. I was actually on my break and my coworker placed him in a bed, did a set of vitals and then came in to tell me he was fine and was going to go to sleep. I finished my break and came out. As I expected, he was asleep. I was tempted to let him sleep because it was night and it was an open unit and the other three patients were also sleeping. Then something kicked in into my new-nurse brain and I thought...no....I have to make sure he's ok. I discovered that he wasn't actually asleep...he was unconscious. He had hit his head when he fell off his bicycle and was experiencing a subdural hematoma. I quickly called a code and he was whisked off the the OR within minutes. I saved that man's life that night...all because I woke him up. Just remember that next time you feel bad about waking up a patient. You're going to be fine. We were all new once. Good luck!
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