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Do you find clinical to be an asset to your education?

I'm in my first semester of the LPN program and I am on my third clinical at a nursing home. My clinical instructor pretty much just has us go in the room and talk to the patients we are assigned to. Then when we come out the instructor asks us what we talked about and then gives us questions we should have asked and sends us back in. I don't mind keeping the residents company but when we are sent back in a second and third time just to ask questions they start to get irritated or confused. Not to mention it is hard to talk about their diagnosises because most of them are in there just because they simply cannot be home alone anymore.

We do not utilize anything we have learned in the lecture so far (hygiene, vitals, ambulation/aids). Yet, my instructor wants us to spend 20% of our clinical time (five hours total) with the resident.

Any tips on what I can or should do with my time with the residents? As I am not given direct tasks I'm unsure of what to do. I am assuming that as time goes on and we have more skills we will just know what to do or there will be more we are able to do..


I'd expect your instructor to give you more a direct list of what to do in terms of being with the resident. The fundamental skills such as (hygiene, vitals, ambulation) should honestly be done. It seems more like that your instructor wants the students to not do anything. You can't really learn anything from that as a student. I'm in my last term of my LVN program and I can remember when we did our clinicals at a Nursing Home we did the skills we learned in skills lab on the resident of course under the supervision of our clinical instructor. I don't want to disrespect your instructor because obviously they're an instructor for a reason. However, I think as an instructor should give their students tasks to do with the resident other than just sitting down and talking with the resident. Can't really learn anything from that. My suggestion is since you can't be do any direct tasks with the resident even the fundamental skills is to ask questions relating to the resident's background and history and not just ask questions that your instructor tells you to ask.

The point of clinicals is to utilize what you learned in lecture and skills lab so that way as a student you can gain clinical knowledge and hone your skills so you can be confident (For me, I used to be nervous about giving injections and during our second clinical rotation I was a nervous wreck because my first injection was on a 18-month old and that was rough seeing the child cry but from there on I'm more confident in my technique) . I'm sorry that you are going through this and I hope it honestly gets better.

Thanks for your response. I agree completely that clinical should be about utilizing what we have learned in lab or lecture. I will include that my instructor is very young and this is her first year as a clinical teacher, so maybe she is also getting it figured out. However, if she is a nurse she has also done clinical before. I am definitely going to ask her for more direction. Thanks for your help.

You don't take vitals or anything? My first semester, each clinical day we did a focused assessment. One week would be heart, lung and abd sounds, the next would be eyes ears mouth, until the last few weeks, we were doing full head-to-toe assessments. But we took baseline vitals every morning and did our initial impressions. Our instructor would read our charting, inform us what we missed, and we would go back in and get it. Now this semester, not so much. Not because of our instructor though. This semester we are in a Nursing Home whose census is down d/t construction, and the nurses there are nasty, I mean you can see the hatred they have for us seething out of their pores. Its quiet intimidating. Then when we are passing out meds, this one nurse stands there and complains the whole time about how slow we are and that we are getting her backed up. No body will point us to anything if we don't know where something is. I looked all day for a patients labs, until I finally went to the charge nurse who, come to find out, never had anyone come draw the person's labs per the doctor's request. Learn all you can right now because when you get to your hospital rotation, you are going to feel lost!


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