Quote from Kellyb10
I know Im not going in guns blazing and saving the world quite yet, Im just unsure of whats expected of me since my instructor seems to think we should be saving the world right out of the gate. She kept asking us about different meds and skills sets we havent learned about. Our school switched to a brand new (and not at all improved) curriculum starting with my class, so I dont think those in charge of clinical sites have any idea what weve been taught. I would just like to be a little more prepared to care for my patient as independently as I can, in the sense that I can know what to do and when to do it. Im not getting alot of direction. Thanks for the input everyone. I do have some ideas now of how to keep myself occupied and get a little more out of my day.
Your patients will likely have meds you haven't covered otherwise, and if you administer those, you are required to know them. If you have downtime, this is a good time to research meds, go through the history, sit down with the patient and get a thorough history (I've learned SO much about my patients this way, even if they didn't require me to use my "skills").
I know our instructor would ask us questions about meds that we didn't know, like which labs we needed to know before administering or what to watch for or whatever. We all had the deer-in-headlights look more than once. The best response is never, "I don't know," but rather, "I'll find out." The more stuff you research yourself, the more you'll learn that will really stick. Downtime, if you can't help with other nurses, history-taking, etc, can be used for researching stuff, and there's always something to research!
Be aware that the nurses (or even those in charge of clinical sites) on the floor aren't familiar with your curriculum and what you do and don't know. Few of them will even ask. I've had only a couple of nurses who have asked specifically at the beginning of a shift what I can and cannot do. You have to stand up for yourself, and ask to be included in learning opportunities. Few floors, even ER, are all Foleys and IVs and suctioning and the like.
Week one of clinicals for us, we basically did vitals and maybe ADLs, and mostly observed the nurse doing "real" nurse stuff, but I did get to see (and assist a little) with a dressing change with a wound vac. Be patient. This week was slower paced, but as you get further along, your instructor will assign you more complicated patients, and you'll have your hands full!