Quote from cmonkey
I had a Moment last night in clinicals. I was in a pt's room with the CI, talking about tube feedings and the pathphys/mechanics of it, and I thought, "Holy crap, I'm in a PATIENT'S room in a HOSPITAL and they really think I can do this stuff. They are going to trust me with sick and injured people and beileve that I can help with their care. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING but they let me into the program and I'm passing so there must be something I'm getting. But seriously, she's talking about tubes and PEGs and Jevity and I know she's speaking English, but holy cow."
Then it passed and we got on with it. But I'm having one of those moments just about every day now. And I'll be having one again on the 18th when I do flu clinics.
I am finding clinicals to be a pretty equal mix of terror, astonishment, amazement at what the body can withstand, and boredom.
I haven't cried yet, but I can hear it in the wings.
Sometimes I feel like an impostor! However, the longer I am in school, the more confident I am in my abilities. I am not afraid to keep learning and progressing. I think confidence comes with time, but being nervous for clinicals is very common. A few girls in my clinicals simply weren't cut out to be nurses and it was obvious because they never would do dirty things. However, the vast majority of people that I know do well in clinicals and if they struggle somewhere, it's on the exams over lecture.
The worst cry I had was my first expired patient, and it was during my ER off-unit in medsurg. It was a very young girl in a MVC (motor vehicle crash) and they did resuscitation efforts for 15 minutes in the ER. I was the person given the task of wheeling her body out of the room and cleaning her up for the family to see in a vacant lab waiting room because they needed the exam room for someone else (the ER was so crowded that night). The whole situation and experience of that, with friends and family just crying, was really difficult on me. I felt like I had to remain calm despite everyone else crying, and I'm an emotional person. When I left, I cried in the car because it brought up a lot of questions for me.
I think clinicals are where you see what it's like to be a real nurse. Enjoy the experiences, always thank the good nurses who help you out on the floor
, jump on available skills and good patients, help out your classmates. Have a "yes, I can" or "yes, I have time" type attitude and always ask if you can accompany your patient to procedures off-unit in the hospital or help out with another patient who needs a foley or an IV started. If you have to do careplans, then pick different types of patients every week because it really does help out your critical thinking skills. If the doctor is in your patient's room, you should be, too. Soak up whatever knowledge you can about anything.
But also, just relax. You're here to learn, but you aren't expected to be an expert yet. Remember that most people you randomly encounter on the floor don't know your exact qualifications or experience, so if they ask you to do something and you've never done it, ask them to show you how. Clarify what you can and cannot do with your instructors. For my school, we had to be checked off in skills demonstration in lab before we were able to successfully do skills, including PO meds, injections, IV's, catheters and trach care. Patient identification is extremely important, so make sure you're checking armbands and get the patient to state their name when you start doing your care. Communicating with the client is important, too. Let them know who you are, what you will be doing, and when you will be there during clinical. It gives the patient a better idea of who is doing what in their care. If your patient hates you from the get-go of your clinical experience (it's fortunately only happened to me once, and the poor man had just had surgery and chemo), attempt to reason with them a couple of times, but ultimately it's a situation that you should bring up to your CI. You're there to learn, and a difficult patient can be a volatile situation, especially if family members are involved and they don't want students to give care.