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First Clinicals....any advice??

Hello everyone! I'm starting my first clinicals for my RN program this week.. I'm a little nervous on how things are going to go. Any words of advice???

Dont be afraid to ask questions (at appropriate times of course)

Set yourself mini assignments at the end of each shift, for instance i had a patient with a trachy, i didnt know much about them so when i got home i did some research on caring for a patient with a tracy

Pack your bag the night before :D

Enjoy yourself and get stuck in there

Be good at "small talk". There's nothing more awkward than having some student nursing bathing you in silence LOL. He/she's looking at you and you not saying anything ... not good.

Assuming they give you the patient care summary or whatever before hand, you better know every single relevant thing on that piece of paper. They have a trach? Hit the books and read up all about it. Foley? Figure out which type, how they get it, maintenance .. etc

Thanks guys. I will remember your tips.

here is my tip...when you feel like your in over your head or just need a second to collect your thoughts...duck into the restroom! I know it seems silly, but really helped me those first few weeks. It gives you a second to collect yourself and head back out to provide A+ patient care! (by no means do I mean to spend most of your time in there though )

scg08rn

Specializes in Sub Acute Rehab/ Oncology Med-Surg.

Wear a smile! :)

Get yourself involved, ask questions of things you are unsure of, take lots of mental notes and keep a journal with you throughout your days during clinical. Look up / research what you do each day to refresh yourself.

Good luck, have fun!

Best bit of advice I ever got was from my first nursing instructor who said...."This ISN'T about YOU. It's about that patient who is sick laying in bed relying on you." That bit of advice changed my entire attitude. I quit focusing on MY nerves and how worried I was and began to focus on the patient. Helped TREMENDOUSLY! Try to observe everything you can, offer to help the nurses on the floor when you can, be polite and say thanks when your evening is finished. Never forget you're in THEIR "house". It is a privilege to have a hospital allow students, not a right. Have fun, love your patient and treat them with respect, even if they're a cantankerous old curmudgeon. Pack you bag ahead....stethoscope, scissors, paper, pens, watch, name tag, extra pads and tampons, (nerves can do funny things to ya!). Have FUN!!!

Thank you. I will keep that in mind, I need help in the nerves department.

Even though it's hard, try to act like you've been doing this for awhile. Confidence (even false) goes a very long way. Good luck!

Best bit of advice I ever got was from my first nursing instructor who said...."This ISN'T about YOU. It's about that patient who is sick laying in bed relying on you." That bit of advice changed my entire attitude. I quit focusing on MY nerves and how worried I was and began to focus on the patient. Helped TREMENDOUSLY! Try to observe everything you can, offer to help the nurses on the floor when you can, be polite and say thanks when your evening is finished. Never forget you're in THEIR "house". It is a privilege to have a hospital allow students, not a right. Have fun, love your patient and treat them with respect, even if they're a cantankerous old curmudgeon. Pack you bag ahead....stethoscope, scissors, paper, pens, watch, name tag, extra pads and tampons, (nerves can do funny things to ya!). Have FUN!!!

This is EXCELLENT advice. And also offer help the nurses or tell them that any opportunities arise to do something (such as an injection or something...which you probably won't be doing during your first clinical, but still!) that you are interested in doing it. Remember, this is YOUR experience and what you make of it is what you will get out of it. For example, I took my older adults rotation over the summer. I had the opportunity to do a lot of blood draws. I noticed some students in my group have never done one before, so I asked them if they wanted to...some said yes, others said no (they're missing out on that experience).

Pack everything the night before...that way you're not scrambling around in the morning trying to get everything together (more stressful that way!) If you're bringing a lunch, pack that the night before, too. Leave your wallet and cards in your car...just bring some cash and keep it either in your bag on in your pocket, enough to buy you lunch or maybe a drink from a vending machine. Bring a granola bar or something small to snack on if you get hungry.

Jami RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac, Step-Down, Psych, Recruiting.

Prepare as much as possible before you get there.

Know the things your instructors expect you to know at your level (meds, cares, etc.).

Look busy at all times -- clinical instructors prey on idle students and think up things for them to do. If you don't have something to do, read a chart and try to decipher the things you read.

Spend as much time with your patient as possible -- practice your therapeutic communication skills if nothing else.

Project confidence -- to docs, nurses, instructors and patients. You'll be treated with more respect if you appear confident.

Ask questions and look for new experiences.

Don't judge the nurses you're working with if they don't do things "the nursing school way." Do things the way you're supposed to, but don't judge -- you haven't worked on the floor with a full patient load yet.

Be respectful of all you come into contact with -- CNAs, housekeepers, food service workers, etc. They can be a tremendous help to you.

Be safe all the time -- ask questions, even if you think it may be stupid. It's better to ask a stupid question than to do something unsafe because you were afraid to ask.

Be on time and don't assume that you are the center of the universe -- yield charts, computers, chairs, etc. to the unit staff if they need it.

Learn everything you can and be forgiving of yourself -- it is a long process to become a good nurse!

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