Second Week of Clinicals, Not Going Well

  1. I'm a nursing assistant student and I just finished my second week of clinicals in a nursing home and my instructor had a talk with me about the possibility that I fail clinicals.

    From the beginning of everything she would comment that I looked "scared" or "lost," which hello, I was because I was just starting something new and I don't automatically know what I'm doing. On the second day of clinicals I was feeling really overwhelmed and my instructor decided to take me outside to talk. I started crying and telling her that I just felt like I didn't know what to do and it seemed like all the other students were keeping busy with plenty to do. She was pretty encouraging and paired me with the Restorative Nursing Aide for the rest of the day.

    I decided to start taking my as-needed anxiety medication at the end of the first week, and that's helped for the most part, as far as feeling lost and scared goes. I also think I've started to do better as far as seeking out things to do, residents to help, even though it's only been a short time (we have three days of clinicals a week). However my instructor tells me I still seem scared and timid, which always makes me feel insecure even though I feel that I'm improving.

    Today, one of the facility's CNAs and I were giving a resident a shower. The shower went well, I was drying the resident off, and she suddenly decided to get up from the shower chair and ended up falling. I just panicked and I didn't know what I could have done to stop her(I was in front of her drying her feet) and I started crying. The CNA checked the resident over and said she didn't have any bumps or bruises. She also said something to a nurse who poked her head in after hearing someone fall about not filling out a fall report and told me that I didn't need to tell my instructor what had happened, which just made me feel worse about the whole thing because that can't be right.

    Anyway, I stopped crying long enough to help the resident dress, gather the dirty linens, put them in the correct receptacle, check on the two residents I was assigned to, and go on break. Then I purchased a water bottle from the vending machine, found a nice bench in an empty area and started crying again, perfectly aware that I shouldn't have been crying, but that only ever makes it worse.

    Two of my classmates found me and I talked to them about what had happened, along with my other insecurities about clinicals and after a few minutes we all went back inside. I tagged along with them, helping to transfer one of their assigned residents and then we sort of split off again and I was fine the rest of the day. Our post-conference was just about normal, but then at the end of it the instructor asked me to stay behind. She basically told me that at the end of the second week, which has really been just six days, I shouldn't be timid anymore, she criticized me for crying "like a baby," and she told me that she thinks there's a good chance I'll fail the clinical portion of the class. At no time did she tell me she thinks there are problems with how I care for residents besides that fact that I'm "timid" which I really am trying to work on.

    My classmate I carpool with was shocked when I told her about the conversation and said that she had seen me improving confidence-wise, so I know it's not just that I feel that I'm progressing.

    I don't really know what I'm hoping to accomplish with this post. I'm just feeling really panicked right now because I hadn't really considered that I might fail clinicals and will have just wasted all my time and energy and hopes on something that I truly thought I was cut out for only to have to move on to I can't even think about what.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   HermioneG
    I was very timid when I started nursing school. I was terrified of everything, everyone, and cried all the time. I seriously questioned if I could be a nurse, and it was a very difficult and dark time.

    A couple of years later I'm working in the ER and loving every second of it. I tell you that because you may very well be like me, and grow out of it. I'm no longer timid but I'm still highly emotional and sensitive. This timidness that you're talking about may very well thrive and blossom into a confident gentleness that can help heal your patients in some pretty incredible ways. Especially since you'll be working so closely with residents as a nursing assistant. You have the true ability to help people and make a HUGE impact on their lives. You just need time to discover yourself. And its not going to happen overnight.

    As far as crying... Don't let your instructor get to your head, I still cry all the time! Recently I sat down in the middle of the ER and cried my eyes out because a patient told me that when I touched her the pain went away. I still cry thinking about it. I cry with families sometimes, I cry when patients die, I cry when I'm happy. Heck, my supervisor teases about how quickly I well up with tears. Now, this isn't about me, but I'm telling you these things because your clinical instructor seems to be trying to tell you that you're incompetent because of it. Im telling you that there isn't anything wrong with you. With time you'll learn to control it better, but you haven't had that opportunity yet. You just need time. There's not only hope for you, but a lot of potential. Like I said, that timidness may blossom into a beautiful gentleness and your patients will love you for it. You still need to do what needs to get done, but this is also the time for introspective learning and self discovery. You seem to have such a great heart, and we need more people like that in healthcare.

    The bottom line is this. You worked hard to get to where you're at. Like me, you're probably more timid than normal in the beginning BUT THATS OKAY AT THIS POINT. You're new and need a moment to grow, to discover yourself, to realize that you're stronger than you think. Its normal to be anxious, fearful, emotional, and all that in the beginning. I'm sorry that I don't have any advice on how to deal with this situation, but I wanted to back you up here and cheer you on.

    -HermioneG
    Last edit by HermioneG on Oct 19
  4. by   Here.I.Stand
    (((Hugs))) Are you seeing anyone for your anxiety -- a therapist/counselor, not just the MD/NP who Rx'ed the meds? You are clearly a caring person who wants to do a good job, which are important attributes for a CNA. And honestly, CNA work isn't rocket science. That's why to me, it sounds like your anxiety is crippling you -- not that you are failing because of a lack of ability. I would highly encourage you to seek some additional help for your anxiety. (((Another hug)))
  5. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from HermioneG
    that timidness may blossom into a beautiful gentleness and your patients will love you for it
    I LOVE this. I'm even tearing up a bit... my tear ducts are quite functional as well.
  6. by   HermioneG
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    I LOVE this. I'm even tearing up a bit... my tear ducts are quite functional as well.


    I love to meet other nurses who also have well functional tear ducts!
  7. by   nar_olepsy
    Quote from HermioneG
    This timidness that you're talking about may very well thrive and blossom into a confident gentleness that can help heal your patients in some pretty incredible ways. Especially since you'll be working so closely with residents as a nursing assistant. You have the true ability to help people and make a HUGE impact on their lives. You just need time to discover yourself. And its not going to happen overnight.

    ...

    The bottom line is this. You worked hard to get to where you're at. Like me, you're probably more timid than normal in the beginning BUT THATS OKAY AT THIS POINT. You're new and need a moment to grow, to discover yourself, to realize that you're stronger than you think. Its normal to be anxious, fearful, emotional, and all that in the beginning. I'm sorry that I don't have any advice on how to deal with this situation, but I wanted to back you up here and cheer you on.

    -HermioneG
    Thank you so much for this.
  8. by   nar_olepsy
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    (((Hugs))) Are you seeing anyone for your anxiety -- a therapist/counselor, not just the MD/NP who Rx'ed the meds? You are clearly a caring person who wants to do a good job, which are important attributes for a CNA. And honestly, CNA work isn't rocket science. That's why to me, it sounds like your anxiety is crippling you -- not that you are failing because of a lack of ability. I would highly encourage you to seek some additional help for your anxiety. (((Another hug)))
    Thanks for the hugs! I saw a therapist for depression/anxiety for I think 5 years, about once every other week. At the beginning of 2017 I had to switch insurances to Kaiser and when the time came to meet with a new therapist there, I didn't really have any idea of "goals" in mind and she didn't have any interest in meeting with someone without "goals".

    I am going to see my psychiatrist ASAP, and maybe I'll give a new therapist a shot.

    For what it's worth, I do think my tiny anti-anxiety pills are doing what they're meant to do. I noticed a shift from the first couple days of immediate anxiety at not knowing what to do next to being able to push past the anxiety and just take steps to find out what to do next.
  9. by   HermioneG
    Hey OP how are things going?
  10. by   neogirl
    I feel like there are some people are are really extroverted who see introversion as a weakness that needs to be fixed, which it definitely is not.
  11. by   nursel56
    Dealing with anxiety was a major issue for me early on. I was actually deemed to have given an unsatisfactory Harris Flush because as I later learned, was not technique but "you were scared to death" My personal experience, for what it's worth is that it's never entirely banished, but can be managed most of the time.

    Not falling apart is a skill you can learn. Telling yourself your instructors want you to succeed is actually likely to be true. Being terrified you'll panic in a stressful situation tends to accelerate the onset of panic. One of the best books I read on anxiety employs a technique of self-talk that interrupts the panic about panicking cycle. It worked for me.

    I agree emphatically that introverts have qualities just as valuable to patients as those of more extroverted personalities.

    Don't give up.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Oct 28 : Reason: fixed link

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