Nurses General Nursing


Hi I'm a student in college and hoping to be a nurse in the future. I would like to know what are "clinical" and whats so hard about it LOL. I see people talking about it on forums but not sure what their talking about. This is prolly a stupid question lol.


195 Posts

Clinical is the time you spend actually caring for patients in the hospital while you are still a student. I never found clinicals to be very hard, to be honest. I found them annoying at times, but not difficult. Annoying because a good part of clinical time is spent doing the job of a CNA rather than an actual nurse. It seems to me that the hospitals use nursing students as slave labor. Did I say slave labor? No, worse, because you are actually paying to work for free.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

Another name for clinicals would be practicum. Whatever you call them, clinicals are usually hospital-based and involve practicing and perfecting (hopefully!) the nursing skills that you have learned in the classroom. Usually a group of nursing students is stationed on a hospital floor with an instructor. They take patients and do all of the nursing assessments, daily care, med passes, interventions and charting that nurses do as a part of total patient care.

If you hear a sense of dread expressed in conjunction with clinicals, it's probably due to the fact that it's usually stressful to move from the potential (classroom) to the reality (real people). Clinicals are hard at times, as they should be.

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

In our area the student's clinical activities are determined by their skill level PRIOR to coming to the floor. If a student does not know the basics we cannot allow them to care for patients. The responsibility of the patient still rests on the hospital. As students progress they are allowed more privileges. The determination is made by the instructors and the clinical liasion at the hospital. For instance, Level I students (first semester) will do little more than a CNA. However, if they learn how to do that well then they have accomplished something. Level IV students are allowed to work in critical care areas. All students must have RN supervision, even the LVN students.


21 Posts

ohhhhh...ok makes sense lol. Thanks for educating me guys. I appreciate it. Seems like a lot of pressure and stressful because the supervisor is watching your every mistake.

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

it can be stressful and you will make mistakes, but that is how most of us learn. The good news is you can learn by watching other people make mistakes so you don't have to make them all yourself! :)


271 Posts

Also, I think it is important to mention all of the paperwork or "preplanning" that can sometimes add stress to nursing students. I think that was one of the most difficult things for me as far as clinicals are concerned. Not the difficulty of work, but the volume and the relatively short time to complete it, leading to decreased sleep prior to clinical.


195 Posts

If you have good instructors in clinicals, then it's not stressful having them there... it's actually kind of a relief. That's because they won't allow you to make a mistake that can harm the patient. My instructors were also very good about making it clear that clinical is a learning experience and that you are not expected to perform like an experienced nurse. So when you make a mistake, they were very gentle in helping to learn how to do things properly.

I agree with the previous post that the paperwork and preplanning is much more stressful than the clinical day itself.

Specializes in ER; HBOT- lots others.

i respectfully disagree with swirly, my instructors could be very intimidating because they wanted to pressure you, but sometimes that was a personality thing too. but i was stressed having them there sometimes because I knew that i knew my stuff, but i had to prove it and that could be hard when certain ones would quiz you until you really didnt have an anwser.

i always rocked it in clinicals, because i knew thats where i would actually be someday, and loved the heck out of it, it was the best couple days of each week i had. clinicals is REAL LIFE to the most real life experience you can actually have whille your in school. lol.. have fun, do the best and most you can. always ask if anyone else can use you (as long as YOUR stuff is done) and make sure that all the nurses on the floor know that you want as many hands on skills as they can throw at you. while you have a net under you, and that instructor there to help, do as much as you can! make you tons more confident when you are in the real world after school




243 Posts

Speaking about "pre-planning" - at our school we were required to pre-lab, which means to go to the facility the day before and research a number of patients that we would be caring for the next clinical day. Why this is stressful: if you have to travel a great distance it usually means leaving class and battling traffic to get to the facility, pestering the charge nurse to find out which patients fit your skill level and aren't likely to be d/c'd first thing in the morning, and then deciphering the illegible handwriting of a million healthcare workers to get pertinent info on your patient. Not to mention, if you come at the wrong time you may spend 30 minutes tracking down the chart! Once you find the chart you have to find an available computer (not an easy task) to locate the latest lab results and vitals. Bottom line, pre-labbing sucks and your clinical day depends upon a good pre-lab! In the end, it is time well spent but seems unnecessarily stressful.

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