I'm looking very lost in front of my students

  1. Hi
    I am doing my first clinical instructing in a cardiac unit step-down. I am a orthopedic pacu RN.
    This is completely new for me. certain procedures and medication I am really unaware of and I am struggling.
    Do you have any tips for me To get through the day without looking like an a**?
    Also I have gathered a list of common Meds used in unit, and I am reviewing them.

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    About Carrollrn

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 59; Likes: 7


  3. by   Whispera
    There will be times when you won't be able to help looking like an a** since this area is totally new to you and you're in the process of mastering a huge learning curve. So, be honest about it and let the students know you're learning too, will do your best, and hope they'll bear with you as all of you learn together...
  4. by   AOx1
    I would ask to observe a few shifts on this unit. This can give you the opportunity to learn about the unit's work flow, typical procedures, and common medications. Don't ever be afraid to look something up or admit that you don't know it all. The phrase "Let's find out together" and "Let's look in the unit's online policy manual/paper manual" can help as well.

    Most importantly, never put yourself in a place where you are expected to use knowledge you don't have (ex- to assess a patient for specific complications of a given unfamiliar procedure, etc). Also, consider furthering your education in this area by taking CE classes if you plan to continue in this role.
  5. by   pilotnurse
    Could you shadow? Don't be afraid, my favorite teachers were the ones who were approachable and not afraid to admit what they didn't know. You could always introduce yourself at the very beginning by saying "my experience is x and this is not my specialty..."
  6. by   ProfRN4
    What semester are your students in? Remeber, to keep their level in the program in mind, when delegating them responsibilities. Hopefully, this is NOT their semester for cardiac rhythms and such If so, I would consider (for next semester) asking if you could be on a different unit, or with a different level of student.

    It's kind of like riding a bike: it will come back to you. You have a great deal of knowledge in your own specialty, so try to find a way to bring that out. Don't be so focused on the tasks you want them to perform, think conceptually. Remember, they need to know how to assess, communicate, solve problems. If you don't know the meds they are giving, look them up yourself! And also, they should be telling you about the meds, you are not waching them! They have the resource (book, PDR, app, etc).

    I bet you know more than you think you do, and you definitely know more than them! They can smell fear, so just be confident! Don't use the "I'm not a tele nurse" excuse. It won't give them the reassurance they need, to know that they are going to have a good experience!
  7. by   VickyRN
    Years ago, while still a fledgling nursing instructor in a small community-college ADN program, I was assigned a clinical group on a PEDS floor (this was in addition to having clinical groups on a med-surg floor, cardiac stepdown, and post-partum unit, but I digress....).

    Having had very limited experience with pediatric nursing, I was on pins and needles the whole time during my first clinical. However, I used every opportunity to learn about pediatric nursing. I often discussed with the staff nurses on the unit (or my pediatric nursing friends here at allnurses such as janfrn) items I was uncertain about (such as why all the children with sickle cell were prescribed Zyrtec, or why potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride?). I must have spent hours researching beforehand each pediatric patient assigned to my students, so I understood everything to the best of my ability related to their medical diagnoses, pathophysiology, treatment, and expected nursing care.

    Now, eight years later, I am still on the same unit and love it (even though I am now with a baccalaureate nursing program and no longer with the ADN program). Ironically, I am now the Pediatric Nursing Clinical Coordinator for my College of Nursing.

    My only advice is to stick with it and make an active effort to learn everything you can. It will get much better with time and experience (Remember Benner's Stages.)
  8. by   j621d
    I, too, am new to clinical teaching. What I have done in preparation for teaching is make up index cards with different questions related to the topic. Each student gets a card and is encouraged to answer, but if they are unable, the question then goes to the group. We have had some great discussions! The students look forward to our question/answer time. I usually use it as an ice breaker (at least, for me!)
  9. by   cmbennett
    I am also a new clinical instructor this semester. I have my MSN as a PMHNP, have 4 years of peds hem/onc and 1 year as psych RN for peds and adults. I was asked to teach clinical for a first year group on a cards unit as well. I love the index card idea with questions. Do you use this during post conference? Does it make the students feel you are quizzing them in post conference?

    Also, does anyone have ideas about other activities to do during downtime to get the students engaged? The first week, I had some patients leave early and some of the students spent time on the computer and helping each other. I was running back and forth between the students that were busy and I felt that maybe I could have come up with better activities for the students that were not as busy? I found some great articles for them but I am sure they do not want to spend clinical time just reading articles. This is their first clinical so they are doing things like vs, adls, assessments, etc. We start giving meds in a couple weeks.
  10. by   Carrollrn
    Hmm I pair them up with those who are busy- And those who do have down time well- there is always a test coming up so I do let them read up and study making sure it's not gossip time-They really appreciate the time to read. If the whole group has time to spare I bought the RN monopoly game with NCLEX questions- it really is a fun game to brain storm and they enjoy the laughs and ease of not knowing everything but really critically think and pull information from all systems to answer as a group
  11. by   Whispera
    RN Monopoly game! What a great idea! I want one!
  12. by   Carrollrn
    It's in Barnes and nobles for less than $30!