I don't have too many tips, but I can tell you how my mental rotation went! It was an acute inpatient unit, and there was a pretty high turnover rate. First thing in the morning, would get report. Then on the floor we would get all the vitals, bring the patients into the dining area, and assist those who needed help eating. We would do our mental status assessments at some point (whenever we got the chance). Then sometimes we would sit in with the doctors and residents as they discussed each case and brought in each patient to discuss how everything was going/any treatment changes. Other days we would stay on the unit and have really casual, conversational sessions on things like nutrition or relaxation techniques. Other times we would listen to guided imagery tapes. After lunch we would usually play a game, like pictionary, bingo, fill in the blank (like hang-man, but we didn't call it that or use the hanging man for obvious reasons
), or finger painting. This hospital didn't want us, the students, giving meds for some reason, but we would observe the nurse who did it in the mornings. It was a pretty easy going rotation and very interesting! The main tip I can give is to just be as comfortable as you can be. I was worried at first thinking that I wouldn't know what to say or do around this patient population, but just jump in and don't hold yourself back! Just remember all those therapeutic responses you learned about in lecture
I'm currently in peds, but I've only had a week so far. I have a pretty bad teacher though. But basically we get report, check the charts, do an initial assessment (VS, check IVF, daily weights, etc), and start charting. We draw up our 9 AM meds and need to be prepared to give them by 8 with our instructor. After meds, we do baths and linen changes, more vitals, and more charting. And then we report off and are done by 12:30! We are off the unit pretty early compared to what I've normally done.
I know every hospital/teacher is different, but I hope that helps a little bit in terms of what to expect!