First Skills Lab/Check-Off - HELP!!

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I posted previously with no responses and now I'm feeling major anxiety - what in the world happens during the first skills check-off??

We are doing vitals and are tested with a partner - do we test on each other? Do we do the entire process ourselves or does the instructor yell out requests at each step? I realize these seem like basic questions but I'm really nervous. Can anyone help please? Thank you!


849 Posts

I don't have an answer to give you but I wanted to wish you good luck! I'm sure you'll do find, just try to relax as much as you can!:kiss


717 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Well, I have no clue how your school may do it, but we usually do the skill on our partner (if possible) and the instructor observes. We have a check list, and we have to do everything on that sheet without prompting from the instructor. Once in a while, if you forget something fairly minor, they will give you a little clue that you missed something. Other than that they don't talk while you are being tested.

If you do not get checked off on anything on the list, you fail, and have to reschedule. We get three cracks at it. I found it nervewracking the first few times, but got used to it eventually.

Good luck!

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

Hey Kristen! Sorry no response till now. We partnered up and did vitals on one another for our checkoff. We also had a manequin that had a bp. Some checked off on the manequin. If given a choice, choose a real live partner. Those manequins don't necessarily work that well. Usually, the instructor creates a "what if" scenario for us to critically think a solution to with regard to the use of the skill or ask us what are the normal values or parameters. So far, all of our skills have been checked out with a partner. Heck, someone has to be the patient. It reminds me of playing doctor when I was a kid. There have been a couple of people who couldn't demonstrate ability on the initial checkoff. They were given opportunities to come back to the skills lab for an appointment to be checked off by another instructor. So far, everyone has passed basic nursing skills.

Once you've done your first checkoffs, you'll get into the groove about them and the stress level won't be so high. We have some fun and even a laugh or two during our clinical skills labs.

I know the anxiety level is high but it's really gonna be ok. Speaking of anxiety, today is our first hospital clinical day. Mostly orientation but I hear we're going to be assigned a patient too. (gulp!!):eek: :chair:

Good luck,


maire, ASN, RN

1,173 Posts

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

I think anything you do depends on your school. I'm surprised your instructor didn't tell you how it was going to be done! My class did our vitals skill checkoffs on partners (pardon my grammar here; I haven't had coffee yet). The instructor had one of those double stethoscopes and we had to be within a certain range of what she got for the vital signs to pass.

Good luck! :)


112 Posts

Hey, I have my vitals signs check off next Friday...and am worried about it too. My teacher wasn't clear on what exactly will happen either, so I'm going to ask her about it tomorrow.

I know we use partners, and do bp and pulse while checking breathing...which are all freaking me out!

And using a double steth so she can hear the bp too. And we have to get the bp within 4 counts of the teacher!

I'm having trouble doing bp, but I guess I'll get it in a week?

Anyway, she should tell you exactly what will happen. Ask her. She may ask you questions, like 'tell me all the pulse sites on the body', or what is the normal range of bp, etc...

Good luck!


168 Posts

we also had partners and the teachers observed. I know for our BP check they have a double eared steth. and they teachers check to see if you report the correct BP. But thats just how our school works...dont know about yours.

Also, if things arnt clear be sure to ask questions. Questions are very important...especially in nursing!


Hi--One thing I didn't think of when I was getting ready for my clinical check offs, but which I think might help you out, is to see if one of your teachers, or perhaps a senior student, would be willing to meet with you and your partner for a dry run.

Practice with each other first, then when you think you've got it down, do the dry run to help minimize the anxiety of the unknown.

A practice alternative would be for three of you to work together, one to be the patient, one to be the nurse and one to be the kibitzer--the observer who points out what you need to do differently.

You are going to laugh in a month or so when you think about how you worried over doing vitals. I'm sure you'll be fine!

Good luck!!

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