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Feeling the Clinical Failure...

by RNonymous RNonymous (New) New

Wow, this is my first post on AllNurses, though I have been reading threads for so many years now whenever they show up in my Google search results for problems. So here it goes.

I'm in an ADN program right now, though I have a Bachelors in a different field from another college, and I'm feeling as though I'm going to hit the floor after (hopefully) passing boards next summer as a new RN totally inept at basic things. Our program does not have a lot of clinical time, and a part of me feels like it's the minimum they can do due to the local squeeze of availability for sites from different colleges.

I have a 4.0 in the program, but when I'm on Med/Surg, I feel like a huge dunce. Simple things like "go get this person cleaned up and assessed" suddenly become a huge project. I'm so afraid that I can be "book smart" and then not apply it to where it actually counts, and end up missing things and hurting a patient.

In some places I feel really comfortable, but it just seems like Med/Surg is Thunderdome to me; I never feel comfortable there and it always seems like that's the starting point for all nurses. The other issue is that we are a rural hospital, so there aren't a lot of good learning experiences sometimes.

Does anyone have some words of wisdom? Sometimes I can remind myself that when you get your first nursing job, it sounds like the training can be weeks of basically one on one clinical with a staff nurse and you learn what nursing is actually like then. I also work in a Dialysis unit, so that has given me a lot of great experience. However, other times I feel like our program isn't preparing us sufficiently. Just the usual doubt of a nursing student. :)

I think everybody goes through that awkward stage as a student. Personally, what helped me the most was becoming a patient care tech. It taught me how to manage basic nursing tasks fairly well and it really showed during clinicals. I also only worked per diem so it was really tailored around my school schedule.

Another thing you can do is if you see another nurse on the floor cleaning someone up, ask if you can help so you can see their technique and how he/she manages their time. The only way you get more comfortable is through practice.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

The number of clinical hours required to meet basic qualifications to sit for NCLEX are dictated by the Board of Nursing for your state. Therefore, regardless of your impression of enough or not enough, you are getting the same number of hours as any other student would be in your state.

It is normal to feel unsure and without proficiency at first. There really isn't a way to get you 100% confident in things during school. Clinicals are more about exposure than anything else and you get your real learning and experience when on the floor in your first job. Stick close to your preceptor and mentors. Do all you can, learn all you can and practice good self care to help deal with the stress of being a novice.

Best of luck!