Turns out, I'm an idiot. Rotten clinical - page 2

I need to vent. I've made it to the last semester of nursing school never having cried over a clinical day (yay?). Well, broke that streak-- spent an entire hour sobbing when I got home. Icky, ugly crying, folks. When people... Read More

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    If it makes you feel any better, NCLEX questions have for years and years been derived from mistakes new grads -- all new grads -- make in their first year of practice. Some of these are psychomotor, like having a hard time envisioning how to put on gloves or irrigate a Salem sump; some are assessment-based, some are decision-making errors. All new grads have relative deficiencies in some, most, or all of these.

    The traditional hospital diploma programs were famous for turning out grads that could whip through a morning and have everybody all "done up" by lunch, no embarrassment about inexperience in what everybody calls "skills." The more academic programs had the reputation for having fewer clinical hours so their grads were judged as being "unskilled," especially in a time where the great majority of nurses came from diploma programs. This time is passing by. One reason is that over time research has shown that the grads with more academic preparation, like you, may start out with less proficiency in tasks and time management, but you gain those in your first year.

    At the end of the first year, the new nurses with better academic education have made those adjustments and become stronger nurses, a difference which increases as time goes on. This is especially evident in the ones that learned more about nursing theory and leadership (every nurse is a manager and has to delegate to others, and know why), research (evidence-based practice requires the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff in "research"), psychocultural awareness (especially if you, like many, had to take psychology and anthropology and sociology semesters), and critical thinking related to scientific concepts (especially if you took three semesters of chemistry, a full semester of anatomy, a full semester of physiology (not a combined A&P semester), and full semesters of micro, pharm, and pathophysiology. Simply put, you can make better assessments and make better decisions if you have more information to work with. Those are the real skills a nurse uses. Everything else is necessary, but subservient to good judgment.

    So I hear you on your very bad, sucky, icky day. But it will get better. Five years from now you'll be tooling thru the AN archives and come across it and shake your head and laugh. You are clearly intelligent, a good and perceptive observer and writer, and you will go far. Hang in.

    mebe5, PCTerrific, Surprised1, and 3 others like this.

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    I guarantee you that every one of us "old timers" here had at least one rotten, horrible clinical day, most probably more than one, and we all turned out okay. Been there, done that, got the license (and subsequent successful career) anyway.
    PCTerrific, hikernurse, GrnTea, and 1 other like this.
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    Oh goodness, I could've written this post a week ago. Different mistakes, same lousy, humble pie eating clinical day. Screwing up is bad enough, but there very essence of nursing school is that there are people WATCHING us screw up.

    So bad, in fact, I went to my car mid-day, shed a few tears (not a crier), and contemplated driving away and leaving nursing school far behind.

    But at the end of the day, I realized those times are inevitable. It'll happen again. How we handle it is what matters.

    And having an amazing support system to help get you through is pretty great, too.
    PCTerrific, GrnTea, and hikernurse like this.
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    Well, you are so far ahead of me..... I was over the moon with glee after I D/C'd a foley today without screwing it up. (I've had a whopping total of four clinical patients so far, first semester and we were on medsurg right off the bat). But while I was doing it I was PETRIFIED I would screw it up, and really, not much to screw up there. Look at it this way, you have a great sense of humor to get you through these moments. Your self deprecating writing style totally cracked me up!
    PCTerrific, GrnTea, and sbaker935 like this.
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    You are being WAYYY to hard on yourself OP.Smile. You are going to be fine.
    PCTerrific and GrnTea like this.
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    Thank you all so much for such kind words and the time everyone took to give me such thoughtful responses! How can I give up on nursing, when there are so many nurses are people who genuinely care about making other people's day's brighter, in and out of the hospital? The responses helped me so much during a low week, and made me smile.

    I don't want to lose my love for nursing, so it's a matter of learning how to balance high standards with realistic expectations, and not taking myself so seriously sometimes. I don't want to be so stuck being perfecting that I can't allow myself to make the mistakes it takes to get good!
    GrnTea likes this.

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