First clinical

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  • by twarlik
    Specializes in CICu, ICU, med-surg.

Tomorrow I have my first clinical. I will be on the dementia floor of a long-term care facility. I am absolutely terrified. We haven't really learned enough to kill anyone yet, but I can't help but feel nervous.

I would love to hear stories about your first clinicals. How scared were you and what was the experience like?


renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

The first couple times you walk around like wandering sheep! I remember my first time at a LTC facility and when it came time to change beds/give baths there was no linen! We had all the beds stripped already! Was a challenge!

I know it is scarey but it gets better over time.



90 Posts

Being a little nervous is normal and it helps keep you on your toes. My first clincal was on a continuing care floor of the hospital, I had the sweetest little lady and I learned a lot from her. I bet you never forget your first patient. She was about mid-80's and she had a small open sore on her abdomen, well she heard an old wives tale to put a peice of raw meat on it.........well this didn't work out so well for her, she was in the hospital and was septic, and the small sore was now a huge gapping wound with serious infection. She was a joy to talk to and she was a great learning experience too. Just go in to it with a positive attitude and you will be fine.

I have found over my clinical time that LTC and continuing care patients are usually very glad just to have the extra attention and to have someone to talk to them for more than 40 seconds. So pull up a seat and have a great conversation. These older folks have some of the greatest stories to tell!!!! I have also found they are very appreciative of the care we provide for them, this feels good to the new student nurse too. Good Luck and enjoy the learning experiences. JJ

maire, ASN, RN

1,173 Posts

Specializes in Adult Med-Surg, Rehab, and Ambulatory Care.

My first clinical was in continuing care retirement community, and on that first day we were given our patient assignments and told, "Shoo! Go do your process recording!" My first client was a very grouchy 80+ year old man who grunted at me a lot. My therapeutic conversation lasted all of 5 minutes. :rolleyes: For the rest of the day, my class and I sorta wandered around, looking really lost and out of place. After the initial "Duh, what do I do now?" feeling wore off, we all started to feel a lot more comfortable. Some students can jump right in there and go with it from the start, but for a lot of us, it takes a little time to get the confidence and lose the nervousness.

Awww, twarlik - try not to be too nervous. Just jump in and be

a sponge. (No, not SpongeBob!) My first clinical was in the

local hospital and I had to give an IM shot within the 1st hour.


I was certain the clinical instructor could hear my knees a knockin

and it was a good thing the patient was turned away from me, she would have had a heart attack if she saw how my hand was shaking!!


303 Posts

I had my second clinical today. I am finding that I could truly get used to this. I love the interaction with the patients. I'm on my fifth week of the first semester of the first year.

Today I was assigned my own patient. I couldn't get her to eat but did give her a bed bath and changed her clothing and bed linens. She was a doll; so sweet.

Shamrock, you gave an IM on your first clinical??

Yep. If we were assigned a patient and they needed something

we had covered in theory/lab, we did it. (Or, at least tried.)


573 Posts

Specializes in CICu, ICU, med-surg.

Thanks for the encouragement and advice!

We haven't learned injections yet, so I won't have to worry about that tomorrow. We've been told that we'll probably be assisting with baths, linens, eating and possibly administering oral meds. I have a great clinical instructor, so I know she'll offer lots of support.

Thanks again.

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I completely understand; I wrote a similar post last year on this board only I remember sounding a lot more frantic and terrified! But clinical has turned out to be my favorite part of nursing school; it is so cool to actually be doing a little of what we are working towards doing for a career! I also had to give an injection at my first clinical, but it was SQ- insulin to a patient who had been taking it for years, so he was used to it luckily! My hand still shook though. Also I have found the RNotes to be invaluable, they fit in your pocket and cram a whole lot of useful information into a small space. Good Luck!!!!


543 Posts

Specializes in home health, LTC, assisted living.

Todd: What a place to start out, the dementia floor? I suppose if you can't handle it you shouldn't be in nursing! we go to a nursing home in three weeks, but I don't think it is a dementia floor. good luck.:lol2:


517 Posts

You'll be surprised how well it goes. The patients will love you just for paying attention to them. You won't be allowed to kill anyone. :) I think dementia patients are sort of sweet and fun -- you'll probably listen to a lot of stories. Just be yourself and relax.

Are these Alzheimer's patients? I highly recommend a book called "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks. You can read it in a few hours and it is a GREAT book (fiction) which puts a whole new perspective on dementia.


4 Posts

Hi, I just finished my first semester, and my first clinical was in "the special neighborhood" at an assisted living facility. I was there for 5 weeks, and it was a great experience. You get to practice all of your basic nursing skills. Non-verbal communication is very important when dealing with dementia clients. If you are afraid don't show it. If they ask you something that doesn't make sense just answer to the best of your ability and remain professional. Just be careful because they can also be manipulative. Some appear to be very aware and oriented. I sat with one of my clients and conducted an interview about her past medical history, all of her answers sounded truthful and she seemed to be oriented. when I read the chart, everything she told me was far from her current condition. So just be careful and always go by what the chart says, not what your client tells you!

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