What to expect in clinicals?

  1. I am about to start the ADN program in the Fall 2003. And I really don't know what to expect in clinicals. Can anyone give me an idea? Will I be following a RN around? Or will I be practicing out techniques? :spin:
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   chiefswife
    Tam,

    I too am starting an ADN program this summer - clinicals in start in the Fall - and have been wondering the same thing...Hope you get a reply soon!

    Good luck to you. Maybe we could keep in touch so we can follow each other thru school?
  4. by   RN2BTam
    Sounds good Sara. Keep in touch! Good luck!
  5. by   USA987
    Clinicals at first will be Fundamentals. You'll learn bed baths, proper transferring of a patient from bed to wheel chair, etc. You'll learn how to do vitals, give injections, safely pass medications, etc. As time goes on you will build on that.....assessments, charting, etc. You will work your way up from taking care of one patient to 3-4 patients.

    For the most part, we didn't follow the staff nurses around. We did our own thing and usually sought out our instructor for assistance.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is to DO YOUR PRE-LAB research and paperwork. It will make your life so much easier. You won't know the answer to every question your teacher asks you, but at least know where to find the correct answer!!!!

    Good luck to you both. The fear does subside over time!!!!!
  6. by   RN2007
    USA, what do you mean to do the Pre-lab work ahead of time? Are you saying that in clinicals at times, your instructor will be there asking you questions re: what is right procedure or correct things to do, etc...?? Can you or anyone else describe to us newbies here, a typical day that you could recall in your clinicals and how you interacted with your instructors throughout the day there while taking care of your patients? Do you consider the clinical to be the lab, - as in the "Pre-lab" that you were talking about? Also, do the instructors seem helpful or do they really make you nervous while you are trying to learn? I have heard some Horrible stories on the General Nursing Board here, where the nursing instructors treated the students badly and were not very helpful or understanding of what a student is going through while tryng to learn. God, I hope I do not get teachers from he**. I can only imagine my trying to give a shot to a patient during clinicals while a mean teacher is looking over my shoulder frowing and making me more nervous.. I look forward to your responses. Thank You.
  7. by   maire
    Typical day during first semester of nursing went something like this for me...

    Arrive early (I usually got there 25-30 mins early). Either get something to eat from the cafeteria, get a drink, whatever. Go up to the floor and get patient assignment during pre-conference(we didn't get ours the day before during this semester; don't ask me why). Grab client's chart and get the run-down on what's going on or get report from the RN who is assigned to that client. Go into client's room, introduce yourself, do a preliminary assessment, do a.m. care (vitals, bed bath, assist into shower, morning meds, etc.).
    During the course of the day, I provide care for my client, whatever that may entail (first semester I only had one patient assigned to me) and complete the objectives the instructor gave out during pre-conference.
    If I had a question or issue I would ask my instructor or if I had a really nice RN I'd ask him/her.
    My first clinical location was a long-term care facility and my second was on an orthopedic floor, so duties varied, obviously. Some of the things I did this semester: feeding, bathing, vitals, oral meds (do injections next semester), suctioning, assessments (still not a pro at this but getting better ), wound care, dressing changes, assisting with ambulation, position changes, O2 therapy, enemas, catheter insertion/care/etc...it boggles the mind how much I've learned in the past few months.

    Any skills I performed in clinical I had to first pass in lab, but I did seek out learning opportunities every chance I got and had some wonderful experiences doing things I would not have otherwise been able to do. (that was a really long sentence, sorry ) A few of my classmates would hide out in the staff lounge or their patient's room during the day and I absolutely HATED that. Why are you there if not to learn? Take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new. That's how on the last day of clinical this semester I was able to witness a code...was in the right place at the right time. It was incredible.

    I had a great clinical instructor, so your mileage may vary. On the first day of class she introduced herself and said, "I've gone through nursing school, and I know how s*itty some teachers can be...I am here to make sure you folks don't have to deal with that." Carol, if you read this...THANK YOU.
    Do your homework, make sure you know your lab assignments, RNotes is a helpful tool (threads been done on this as well if you do a search)...Gah I can think of a million things to say but my post is already getting a wee bit too long...LOL

    Have fun, pay attention, ENJOY WHAT YOU DO and you will be fine. Yes, you will probably be scared witless the first time but like USA said, the fear subsides over time once your confidence kicks in. Good luck, and keep posting here as your semester chugs along.
  8. by   RN2007
    Thanks for giving examples of clinicals, this is very, very helpful!
  9. by   Nurse2bSandy
    Okay, Maire, tell me... how did you learn to do catheters? Who did you first practice on? What about bed baths? How intimately will my class mates know me?
  10. by   maire
    Originally posted by Nurse2bSandy
    Okay, Maire, tell me... how did you learn to do catheters? Who did you first practice on? What about bed baths? How intimately will my class mates know me?
    LOL Well, I dunno about your school, but....we do all our skills on dummies first. NOT on each other. Catheterizing the male dummy royally sucked...but let me tell you it's SO different on a real person than it is on those plastic rubber folks...took me a few tries on the model but when faced with a real patient I got it in the first time with no problems and my client didn't even bat an eyelash.
    Bed baths we never really practiced...we were just told how to do it (more reading in the lab book) then turned loose on the clients. If you've ever bathed a baby, it's kinda like that, only your target is a bit bigger. At least that's how *I* saw it.
  11. by   nurse-in-boots
    LOL! We really did practice bed baths! Gave the teacher an excuse to let us super clean the dummies.
    Only advice I have... Like USA said. Prelab is a must! Know your meds that your patient is on, (we prepicked our patient about a week before lab started, and worked that one patient for about 4 weeks before we switched). Anyway, know your meds, know your patho, have your careplan done (geez... hated those).
    Our first clinical site was at LTC. I loved it. MOST OF ALL... RELAX! Your instructor will know the nervouseness, and will help out. Mostly, you should be taking vitals, assisting with bed baths, changing sheets, feedings, getting historys for your case study, and getting to know your patient.
    Good luck to you. You will do fine! The instructors wont let you mess up!
  12. by   Love-A-Nurse
    excellent advise has been given. i want to just say as already stated, be prepared for class and clinical.

    do not only rely on your lecture notes. read your book and seek out other books to assist you to understand.

    be eager to learn and do and listen in class. if you do not understand, do not wait until the last minute to seek help.

    study some every day! organization is a plus and don't forget to take care of you!

  13. by   giftedRN
    This information is very good for me. I will be doing the ADN program during the fall too and I really needed some ides as to what to do during clinicals.

    Thanks.

    Ann.
  14. by   susanmary
    You asked a good question and have gotten some great answers. Now ... I'm going to tell you what I expect from student nurses who I precept. Always come to clinical early. Do not show up 5-10-15 minutes late ... after the nurses have started/completed report. It's a waste of time going over report a second time. It's important for you to learn to give a concise, accurate report -- and you will learn by doing and from experience. Come prepared.

    You will not know everything -- do not attempt to do things you are unsure of or have not been signed off by your clinical instructor. Don't be afraid of looking stupid -- what you are is inexperienced -- and that is the reason you are going to clinical. You need to apply your theory base to your patient -- hence critical-thinking skills. Always LOOK at your patient and trust your instincts. Does your patient's appearance seem a good "fit" for his/her vital signs? How have the patient's vital signs, I/Os, blood sugars been for the past 24 hours -- do you see any trends? Look at the big picture ... ask questions ... and really learn your medications -- never give a medication that you don't know -- take the time and look it up. You will never know everything -- the secret is to find your resources and use them. And remember to take constructive criticism with grace -- and learn from it.

    Keep a positive attitude, keep current on your assignments. Nursing school is demanding & learn to let unimportant things go -- especially when you have clinical. You need to remember to prioritize -- and in nursing you will be constantly reprioritizing -- what was important 5 minutes ago may not be what is important currently. And remember to find support, stay away from toxic people, and get to know your instructors -- introduce yourself, meet with them regularly, and try to balance your life as much as possible. Best of luck to you.

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