Questions on Clinicals...Thank you!

  1. I had just finished Summer 1 Session (a&p 1), taking a&p2 and micro together in fall (that's going to be hard!). And the pre reqs will be done by Christmas!

    A few of us who will start clinicals in Spring are trying to imagine life during clinicals. A classmate said that the students have to practice IVs and injections on each other. Do we get to practice on dummies first before practicing on fellow students? A student from Asia said the students there practice their needle-skills first on orange peels, then people. But not on fellow students. Sounds very civil to me.

    A classmate said she could not even sew a button with a needle, and so far had not been able to look when she had her blood drawn.

    Would appreciate very much if you could share with me your first experience with the injection and IV skills.

    Thank you very nuch,

    Christina
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   crnasomeday
    At my school we have the coolest "dummies" that we can practice skills on. We don't practice needle sticks on one another, and I am so thankful for that because no one is sticking unnecessary needles into me! I have heard though that other schools do make students submit to that. I can tell you one that's even worse: an instructor at my school also teaches in the nurse practitioner program at another school, and she said that they students in that program had to let other students perform pelvic exams on them. Is that not the most horrendous thing you've ever heard?!? I really hope that she's kidding, because I would freak out. How could you possilbly be comfortable knowing that other students in your class have seen you in such an intimate way? I mean, there's a reason that people don't generally party with their gynecologists.....if you know what I'm saying. Anyhooo.... no practice needle sticks at my school....and no practice pelvic exams either
  4. by   janleb
    we practiced IV insertion on each other and our instructors. But prior to ivs we do IM, Sq injections, we practice in lab drawing up meds, and we inject into an injection pillow. It is a little unnerving at first with the injections, but once you get over the first one, I can guarantee it gets easier. After your instructor watches you give a few shots in front of her then they let you go solo. (kind of empowering you) With the IVs, usually learned after im sq injections. IT is not that scary really!!!! Just like I did you are looking into the unknown, they are not going to put a syringe in your hand the first day and say go for it. so when you learn new skills you will be more than ready. Believe me you will eventually get over it..........let me ask you when was the last time you went to the doctors and the nurse was shaking when giving you a tetnus shot.
  5. by   eventsnyc
    CRN, You & your school-mates were lucky! Taking the needles from totally inexperienced & shaky hands is not a comforting thought. If you could learn it on dummies before practicing on real patients, I think other schools should think of providing the same!

    As to performing Pelvic examson fellow students, this sounds a bit too much. There may be male students in the class.

    Should n't there be standardized learning procedures on leaning such invasive techniques in all schools, so we know what we will get?
  6. by   502Nurse
    Christina:
    In our program we first practiced giving shots to oranges - dozens and dozens of times. Basically you are learning how to hold the syringe and how to "flick" the shot like a dart for IMs. Believe it or not, all this practice really made a difference once we had to give our real shot to our lab partners (we had to give both an IM and SQ). I think the idea of it was worse than the actual experience. We also had to do a venipuncture, but after LOTS of practice on a plastic arm first. Once you finish you really feel more confident about your skills.

    One word of advice...find a good lab partner!!
  7. by   janine3&5
    During school, we practiced on rubber arms that had actual "veins" constructed into them for IVs/lab draws, and used plastic pillows for shots. They're great for practicing your technique and getting comfortable with handling the equipment, but really don't have the feel of human skin and tissue. Then an instructor had to check us off before doing the procedures on patients.
    We were forbidden to do anything invasive on each other, but we all did it anyway. It was definitely worth being a guinea pig for someone else to try on, because that first time you put a needle in someone else's body is the worst. For myself, after I did it the first time on a classmate, I felt much better about sticking a pt.
    I really like to start IVs on pts, its weird what a sense of accomplishment it gives you, esp when the pt tells you that they're a hard stick and you're able to get a line in. (Granted my enthusiasm for IVs is because I'm a brand new nurse!)
    Also, you probably won't be successful at every IV attempt at first, it takes practice. So don't get discouraged, you'll find a technique that works for you. No one will expect you to be an expert, and your instructors will be right there with you to help you out.
    Enjoy clinicals, and take advantage of every opportunity you can to do new things while you have that safety net of your instructors; every experience you get will make you that much more confident when you're out there on your own.
  8. by   puzzler
    We practiced all injections on a dummy and oranges but we also had to end up with injecting our classmates (not IV but IM, sub-q, intradermals).

    I must say that I resented having someone inject something I did not need into my body but we really had no choice if you wanted to continue in school.
  9. by   ADN 2002
    In my program (ADN) we had these dummy arms (with "veins" that had stuff that looked like Kool-Aid in them) to practice on for our IVs, and full size dummies to practice SC and IM injections on. I have to say that when I went to stick a real person, I wished that we had been able to practice on one another at school, because as hard as they try to make the dummies seem real, it's NOTHING like sticking a real person. And, to make all of this worse, we learned this stuff in our first and second semesters of school.


    My first IV attempt on a real person was my dad. He is a paramedic and he brought home a couple of caths and IV starter kits for me to try on him. It was a disaster! I attempted one in each of his hands and went straight through the vein both times.

    My first IV attempt in the clinical setting was awesome, however. I managed to find a good vein and, with the director of my program standing over me (of all people -- I was so nervous...) I hit it on my first try. I just about passed out when I got my flash. I think practicing on a real person helped a lot.

    As far as injections go, I have never given an IM, but have given many, many SC's, including vaccinations for meningitis when we had a scare in our area. (Can you believe I've never given insulin, though?) Injections are not difficult, you just have to become comfortable with them and remember that the faster you get them over with, the better the patient will feel. (And don't tell them it's your first time - tell them you've had plenty of practice if they ask you about how many you've done...something our instructors drilled into our heads - nothing like a nervous patient and a nervous student!)

    Sorry this is so lengthy, but I hope it helps you to feel more comfortable! Let us know how you do...
  10. by   peaceful2100
    Many schools will differ. At my school we did eventually give injections to each other we had to give each other IM, Subcutaneous and intradermals after we had practiced on the dummies and it does make it easier to do on a human before you go into clinicals and do on a patient in my opinion that way you will not be quite as nervous. Now we did not do pelvic exams I think that is only for students who are studying to be a nurse practitioner but we did do breast exams for the head to toe.
  11. by   eventsnyc
    Hello all!

    Thank you for sharing the valuable first-time experiences! It's good to know that I am not the only student in the world who is worried. I will print your posts and show them to my friends. It would be great help!

    And a copy for our instructor too

    Bet wishes, Christina
  12. by   yellow rose
    At my school, we practiced on everything- pillows, dummies, and yes even each other! I gave my very first shots to my best friend, who also happens to be a nursing student in my class. I'm not sure who was mores scared, me or her! But we got through it, and now I'm glad we did, b/c real skin feels totally different!
    Some advice (from my favorite instructor)- Go fast! NO DRILLING!!

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