Feeling incompetent at clinical

  1. I'm a second semester LPN student. This is our third week of clinical and I'm feeling completely incompetent. My instructor expects us to pretty much be independent with no mistakes. None. I don't feel like I know enough to be on my own and leave clinical feeling stupid and defeated. I'm starting to worry that I'll be a bad nurse. I'm currently a CNA and love taking care of people but some days I feel like throwing in the towel. I'm just wondering if this is normal. Did other people have instructors that expected them to know exactly what to do, how to respond to every situation? Am I alone in this?
    Last edit by Maimee on Sep 28
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   amymaebeth
    Honestly, even in my last semester I had times when I had no idea what I was doing. Some instructors make you feel stupid no matter what, and it's hard to get your confidence up with those instructors. I feel that even throughout an entire career as a nurse, there will be times when I have no idea what I'm doing. And that's okay, that's one of the beautiful things about being a nurse, you're always going to be learning new things. Something that I felt helped me was to have all of my assessments and things like that printed in my clinical binder so I could go over things before clinical started. I would also make a list of things my instructor was critical about so I could work harder on those (ie my stethoscope placement on a cardiac assessment was wrong, so I looked up YouTube videos on proper placement before my next clinical shift etc). I had a cheat sheet of sorts with all the head to toe assessments on it, lamenated, and small enough to keep in my scrubs pocket so that way I couldn't forget any of assessments. Once you get out on the floor more, and get to do more "nursey" things, the more confidence you will gain, and any questions or things you are unsure of, got should be able to go to your instructor about. Their main job is to help you learn and become a better future nurse. You got this!
  4. by   MiladyMalarkey
    Half the time I feel incompetent and in the way while in clinical but I watch and learn & try to perform a skill when I can. I think your feelings are completely normal. Having a tough instructor makes it harder to feel confident. You were previously a CNA and are advantageously ahead of your classmates who had no prior health care experience, seriously. When you're at clinical and don't even know the basics, you know, lifting the bed up, pulling side rails up/down or adjusting the bedside trays...then you really feel incompetent (me). Hang in there.
  5. by   chacha82
    Hang in there! During my L&D clinical I felt like I had no clue what to do, I remember the feeling. Don't throw in the towel! Look for opportunities to learn something new while emphasizing the skills you already know how to do. Usually only 1 of us would give meds with the teacher, which meant the rest of us were doing other activities. I took a lot of vital signs and charted them, fed patients, took people to the bathroom, empties foleys, removed IV's, etc. I knew how to do these things and they were useful to the staff.

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