First Day of Clinicals

I woke up excited and nervous about clinicals. I put on my school issued scrubs, with girdle underneath, and tied the waist tight. I am 5 ft 3 and 290 pounds, and a girdle is necessary in order to keep my pants from going straight up my butt. I tied them extra tight because I did not want them slipping down off my ass like they did during bed making yesterday.


I was a little too enthusiastic because when I tied them up I broke the string out. So I broke out the needle and thread and a safety pin and proceeded to fix them. I congratulated myself on a great job and slipped them back on. This time went I went to tie them I had two strings on one side! Oh well, I tied up that side and I pinned the other side to my girdle. I left the house on time.

I allowed an extra thirty minutes to get there because I had never been to this nursing home, and I am unfamiliar with the area. I was enjoying the drive until I hit stop and go traffic. Forty minutes of stop and go traffic. So I called my instructor to tell her that I was running late. She told me to drive safely and call her when I arrived. Well I exited out of traffic and proceeded to get very lost. Very, very lost and the two diet cokes I had on the way needed to come out. I pulled over and raced into the nearest restroom. In my hurry I broke the safety pin that was holding the right side of my scrubs up.

I arrived at the home an hour late, but the instructor was glad that I made it. I went into the dining room and fed a dependent resident breakfast. She could not speak and kept her eyes closed but I talked to her all throughout breakfast. We had 12 students so we were able to feed everyone slowly and carefully. What a privilege. I loved it!

After breakfast I got to assist the CNA while she changed and dressed a man. Then I got to shave him and even give him a manicure. The ladies were getting their nails painted so he insisted, "No shellac!" Nail care was fun but I should have worn gloves while cleaning under his nails. I saw him later in the hall. He was showing his friend and asking the friend if he had his nails done. This resident remembered me and called me by name.

At lunch I fed another resident. She also did not speak and kept her eyes closed. I soon learned that she did not like coleslaw but she enjoyed her potato soup. Her diet was pureed and her water was thickened. I had never seen thick water or pureed garlic toast before! She choked several times but we got through it.

One of the CNAs stirred a resident's food altogether and proceeded to force feed her large bites. Of course the food oozed out of her mouth and the CNA scolded the resident for it. I was not happy.

After lunch I took my resident back to her room and transferred her into bed. I should have set her down further toward the head of the bed. We had to move her up. This time I did the changing. I had no problems because she was not soiled. I did have trouble finding the soiled linens room. I kept ending up at the restroom instead. Pesky hallways.

I checked on another resident and found her crying. She kept saying, "I can't remember him." She was talking about her husband so I pointed out his picture and began reading a card he had given her. This made her cry more so I stopped. I knelt down and held her hand and just felt sad along with her.

I practiced a few skills while experiencing a vast array of emotions today. There was laughter, anger, sadness, bewilderment, fear, and the satisfaction that comes with helping someone in need. It has been a good day.

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37 Posts

HI franharmon,

Seems like you are enjoying what you are doing. Just don't lose yourself, when times are frustrating. Keep up the good work no matter what and people like you are definitely needed.


2 Posts

i'm so jealous of Your enthusiasm. i love taking care of the residents.. but dislike most of mY CNA coworkers. which makes work verY hard sometimes :o( sound like You picked the perfect field. Good Luck!

Specializes in Family Medicine. Has 13 years experience.

I enjoyed reading this. Your positive attitude is very refreshing! :)


1,917 Posts

One of the CNAs stirred a resident's food altogether and proceeded to force feed her large bites. Of course the food oozed out of her mouth and the CNA scolded the resident for it. I was not happy.

This something I have seen at every single facility I have ever been to. The CNA's take all the food and make one big mixture, then shove it down the residents' throats.

I was feeding a resident at a nursing home one day when a CNA came over and said "We usually just mix everything together. They like it that way." How do they know they like it? Do they really have a choice?

Often, the residents are given such large bites that it fills their entire mouths.


2 Posts

How sweet. I plan to teach someday and I will use this if you do not mind. It is so similar to my experience even though my first clinical was years ago. You have a kind heart and that is sooo;) necessary, no matter where you work or what kind of nursing you do. Good luck to you and keep up that wonderful sense of humor too.


55 Posts

Sounds like an eventful first day, but you got lots of experience :-)

During my first rotation at the hospital, I was assigned to 2B, which was the oncology unit. We were to go in the night before our clinical day and pick out our patient, do paperwork, etc... I was anxious because I didn't have any experience with cancer or death first hand other than my grandfather who died when I was 10 from lung cancer. I was so anxious in fact, that I went to go do my hour-long paperwork, additional research etc......... on 2A, a med-surg unit. I did not realize that I went to the wrong unit (which was right next to 2B) until bright and early at 6:30am the next morning, ready to face my first day. Boy was I embarrased. I was so ready to face the day, knowing that I had done my research and was ready to dive in, only to realize as soon as I got off the elevator with my instructor that I had gone to the wrong unit (ironically enough, the patient I picked from the 'wrong' unit had been a breast cancer survivor, so I didn't really think anything of it).

My point is, the embarrassing stuff happens to everyone. Don't feel bad, smile about it and laugh at yourself, at least you get a story out of it!:lol2:


2 Posts

Good Job on your first day! I am a first semester LPN student. I go to my first clinical tomorrow. I am nervous and excited!! Can't wait to see how my first day goes. Wish me luck! :)


32 Posts

That's an awesome story. It really reminds me of my first clinical. Word of advice, keep that same attitude and caring frame of mind. You'll definitely need it. You sound like an awesome nurse in the making. Good luck!


63 Posts

Specializes in LT, skilled, IV, pediatrics. Has 2 years experience.

Like many others have stated here...Keep up the positive attitude and caring nature you have and you'll make a wonderful nurse! We need more people like you in this field. I often see nurses just stuffing pills down the residents throats without thinking about if they can even swallow them! When you are a nurse, you'll be responsible for your CNA's. Don't be afraid to correct that shameful behavior when you see it. Even as a student nurse, you have the responsibility of resident care and if you see abuse, you MUST report it! Don't be afraid of this responsibility. We are the voices of the elderly in these situations. Good luck in school!

hoope, RN

1 Article; 34 Posts

Specializes in currently in Medical.

This reminded me of my first clinical day too :)

So exciting and always keep that feelings for helping others with heart !

Good luck !

Ivy H.

4 Posts

i laughed and i cried.

i am about to start nursing school and i'm very nervous about clinical.

thanks for sharing your story.

you have a great attitude.