Seriously.....5 Patients????

  1. I am just starting my third semester. We had our first week of clinicals for the semester, and in a couple of weeks we will be taking up to 5 patients. I have to admit that I am worried about this. We had two patients this week, didnt give meds, and I was overwhelmed with this. Will I get in a routine or get the hang of things to actually care for 5???? I know that nurses usually take 7 or 8, but right now I am seriously nervous about 5....will I forget something, or is it do-able? I guess I am just looking for some kind of encouragement, or positive advice about this to ease my fears!! Thanks to all!
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Keep your focus on today and let go of your fears of tomorrow.

    Five is a bit much, but many other nurses have survived nursing school and you can too.

    I know I'm not much help, but I'm tired. Just wanted to offer a bit of encouragement.
  4. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Wow, and I was worried about my three and I am just in the second semester. enguin:
  5. by   Daytonite
    The CNAs that worked with us on the day shift in the nursing home had anywhere from 8 to 15 patients depending on the staffing. On the days when they had 15 patients there would always be a cluster of CNAs around me wanting to know how they were going to be able to get all the work done. When you find yourself as a charge nurse in that position what would you tell them? Now, as a student, you need to think about what a charge nurse would tell you to help you get the care for five patients completed. The days you get your 5 patients are going to be a test for you to see how well you are able to stretch your wings and adapt to this situation.

    When you get an assignment that seems impossible, the first thing you do is use the knowledge you possess to develop a plan of action. You make a mental (or written list) of what you have to get done, what you can let slip by and what you can forget about. This is prioritizing. It is something you will do every day on the job. You will, at least, have a nursing instructor to help you with this process. You may not be that lucky when you start out on your first job as a new grad. So, every day that you are in your clinicals think about all the things you are doing. Which are really important. Which can be put on a back burner. Which could be put off or delegated to another worker or another shift if necessary. Talk about these ideas with other students and your instructors. When it comes time to take five patients, you'll be a lot better prepared and less scared.

    Remember, the idea of school is to help you to learn, not deliberately set you up to fail.
  6. by   MMARN
    Quote from TxNurse2Be
    I am just starting my third semester. We had our first week of clinicals for the semester, and in a couple of weeks we will be taking up to 5 patients. I have to admit that I am worried about this. We had two patients this week, didnt give meds, and I was overwhelmed with this. Will I get in a routine or get the hang of things to actually care for 5???? I know that nurses usually take 7 or 8, but right now I am seriously nervous about 5....will I forget something, or is it do-able? I guess I am just looking for some kind of encouragement, or positive advice about this to ease my fears!! Thanks to all!
    Wow! That would overwhelm me as well. However, as a student, I understand how and why profs and clinical instructors would assign that many patients. In the "real" world, nurses deal with this all the time. I think it would strengthen your ability to manage time. This is important in becoming a nurse. I think the earlier us students are exposed to this type of rigorous patient-load, the better we'll be able to deal with it once we start practicing medicine. I wish you luck!!
  7. by   augigi
    I think it's great that you get a chance to do this in school instead of being dropped in the deep end of "real life" after graduation.

    As other said, prioritizing care is THE most important thing you need to learn as an RN. Checking out all your patients at the start of the shift and working out who needs most of your time and attention is the key.

    From my first clinical until now (10 years after graduation, critical care nurse), I write down a list of meds I need to give, dressings to do, etc and plan my day - on paper. I am lost when I misplace my list, as I frequently used to. This also comes in handy when you do report at the end of the shift, as you can jot down important things to hand over.

    Good luck!
  8. by   RN1263
    WOW, i'm in my 3rd semester also & i was nervous about having two???....but, i like what the others said about prioritizing. the thing i hate is worring about my care plan while i'm taking care of a patient. our care plans have to be done before we can go home.
  9. by   Boltthrower
    I am starting clinicals in a week and we are going to have 2 students per one patient. Of course we are in our first semester and just getting to know the ropes, but if I were in that situation of having 5 to deal with by myself I would be nervous, but looking to it as a challenge.

    Think of the confidence you will be building while you are still under the watchful eyes of the instructors. The more the better in that regard. Who knows, once you get good at doing 5 maybe they will bump it up to 7 or 8 to build your confidence up even more. Then when you get hired you will go into it KNOWING that you can handle a large load of patients and that will make all the difference if you have that confidence, because you have done it before and can do it again. You can do it.


    Bolt
  10. by   jrbl77
    i understand your concern, but as an experienced rn i think it will help you in the long run. often i have seen students with 1 pt and they only have that pt for 2 hrs. this is not the real world. the real world lasts at least 8 or may be 12 hrs. i hope this is a step in preparing nurse for the future- a more realistic approach. might help with critical thinking skills. plus there will be a staff rn assigned to those pts when you have the 5 pts. she or he should be aware of the pt's status and jump in if there is any problems
  11. by   gtmoore
    I'm sure they won't expect you to do everything with the 5 patients on day 1. Don't worry. I agree that having 5 pts during nursing school will definitely help you when you become an RN. When I was in school, the most we had was 2, so 5 will help you to prioritize and organize.

    Good luck
  12. by   truern
    Don't forget to practice your delegation skills

    In our last semester of NS, we had what were called "real experiences" where we had 4 patients....part of those assignments was chosing what to delegate to the CNA. Those experiences were as "real" as we could hope to experience as students, but always at the back of my mind was "If I don't do it/forget to do it/can't do it, the REAL nurse will." That mentality came back to bite me once *I* was the "real" nurse.

    Don't forget: you have your CI and the assigned RN to fall back on...they won't let you sink
  13. by   HHW2006
    You will be amazed at what you can do when you have to. We had five patients our last semester of school and while it was overwhelming at first - it did get easier. Remember that if you are going to work med-surg after graduation five patients will be the norm for you. Better to get your feet wet now when you have the support of your instructor and the primary nurses than when you are the nurse! So, take a deep breath - you can do it!!
  14. by   charebec65
    I haven't have more than 2 pts at a time during clinicals. It was easy to get everything done except meds. The thing that made that hard was having to wait for the clinical instructor who was working with 7 other students who each had 2 pts to give meds to as well. We weren't allow to pass meds without her.

    During my PN preceptorship I had 21 pts. Lord did I feel slow and out of sync. I had a great preceptor though and it didn't take long to figure out how to prioritize and get things done.

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