First time at clinicals


Hey everyone!

I am currently in school to get my LPN. This week is finals week, and then once I get through those, I have successfully made it through my first quarter! :D

But in 2 weeks I will be getting my very first clinical site ever! I have zero clinical background. So this will be my first time with actual patient interaction. I am so excited but absolutely terrified as well! I don't want to mess anything up and I just want to be a good nurse. If you can't tell, it worries me a bit. But that's just because I want to be a nurse so badly, and I just don't want to mess anything up. Any words of advice, wisdom, encouragement?

I think after my first couple of times I'll calm down a bit. I think I should mention I'm also extremely excited, and I can't wait to get started and get this hands on learning experience. I'm just a big ball of nerves at the same time.

I appreciate any advice you all have! :]]]]



88 Posts

For my first clinical experience I felt the same way, but our instructors assured us that we would not be doing anything that could hurt the patient in any way. We did baths, vitals, and bed changing. I actually enjoyed myself after I got over the fear of going into a patients room.

Scarlette Wings

Scarlette Wings

Specializes in M/S, ICU, ICP. Has 27 years experience. 358 Posts

you will do absolutely fine!... and i am saying that based on the fact that you are able to admit your fears and yet brave enough to face them and overcome! you will make a great nurse because you have the wisdom to hesitate but the courage to forge ahead.

remember your instructors will not let you do anything that you have not been taught to do. tak a deep breath and be willing to see, do, and try anything anywhere that you have a chance to do and see. clinicals only happen once and it is even scarier to arrive on the floor as a new nurse and have never seen or done a procedure on a live patient.

i remember those days like yesterday. i used to keep a little picture of a cute fat tiger kitten and the quote read

"arise....go forth....and fake it till you make it.!"

good luck. you will make it through this.



17 Posts

I started off the same way, I didn't even know what I was getting in to with nursing! There was a girl in my clinical who was already a CNA and I stuck with her which was very helpful. It's taken a couple years as a nurse on my own to get my confidence up and theres still more work to be done! But I completely agree with CheyFire, fake it til you make it! That's been my motto since day one!

Mrs. Sparkle Pants

Mrs. Sparkle Pants

121 Posts

But don't fake it too much! If you don't know something, ask! :-)



Specializes in Med Surg/ Rehabilitation. 136 Posts

You're going to be just fine! I was nervous too. My main thing, and this totally depends on the hospital....I've learned......was that some nurses can be really nice and some will pretty much just ignore you. And that is so normal, b/c they are extremely busy and are on a strict schedule to get things done. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, bc I see them running around crazy to get things done. You also never know what is going on in there personal lives. Anyway, Good Luck! Your going to be an awesome nurse!


classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator. 2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

some fear is good - since you will be more alert. Even in RN school our first clinical rotation was more in communicating and handling basic skills, so the chances of you harming someone is not great. Good luck


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience. 2,452 Posts

don't panic, because you will be just fine! you really will. everyone else is feeling just as nervous as you are. even those in your class who have been cnas or techs are just as hyper as you are. your ci won't ask you to do anything to a pt. the first time or two, just for the patient. things like getting fresh water, straightening out covers, being the extra person in a transfer, cutting food up into smaller bites, etc. you'll do a lot of talking to your pts. you'll have to know about and be able to discuss their meds. keep 3" x 5" cards in your pocket, but without the pt.'s name. i used first initials.

when you do begin to do some nursing/cna type things, you won't be alone unsupervised. i absolutely promise! it's ok to go slowly. no one expects you to be speedy. that will come as you have gone a few times and have a few hands on experiences. a smile opens a lot of doors and melts a lot of ice.

you'll develop your own personal style as you go along. i have always looked much younger than i really am. i still do. now i'm glad, but then, it was a real problem getting people to take me seriously. one little old lady didn't want me doing anything for or, worse yet, to her.:eek: she kept asking how old i was.

finally after i had told her my age and she didn't believe me any of the times, i finally just blurted out,

"it's ok, i got my driver's license when i was six.";) she relaxed, laughed, and we were fine after that.

you'll be fine once you get started. ask lots of questions, research, keep reading... quit worring!:)

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience. 8 Articles; 2,543 Posts

YES, you mentioned that you were EXCITED!!! I am happy for you and so glad to see the exuberance in your post. This alone will carry you far.

I love the "fake it till you make it" quotes. I use "dress the part and you'll get the part" myself, but I think I will adopt this new one!

Just remember that your instructors will never put you in a position that will cause harm to the patient. If you have questions, ask. Treat the patients with dignity and respect. If you are going into a nursing home for your first rotation, you might be asked a lot of questions by the patients. They love to see new faces and will sometimes chat your ear off. Enjoy this time, because it is valuable to both you and the patient.

I will never forget my first encounter with a patient in a nursing home during my first rotation in clinicals. My patient used to be a lit professor and had suffered a number of strokes. She was non-verbal. She had limited use of her hands and became so frustrated with the cumbersome spelling out of words using a pointer and a sheet of the alphabet, that she would throw it across the room and just cry. She was labeled as a "difficult patient" by the staff. That just broke my heart. Here is this brilliant woman who taught countless students and she could not even hold a pointer long enough to spell out what she wanted. I went out that afternoon and found a magnet board and some magnetized words. I brought that to her the next day to see if that helped her communicate more easily. She took the words "thank you" and held it up for me to see. She put her hand on my face and had tears in her eyes. I will never forget that.

You seem to have so much enthusiasm about nursing, and that is a wonderful start for you. Keep that "incurable optimism" healthy through the next couple of years and you will make a stellar nurse, my friend!

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience. 2,406 Posts

Reading your post made me smile. Good luck when you get to clinicals.



128 Posts

One bit of advice is that patients will appreciate you as a student nurse. They love the extra bit of attention the students give them. Enjoy it!

Mutt's Wife, RN

Mutt's Wife, RN

14 Posts

Remember, each of us had a first day at clinical and lived to tell about it, and it's okay to not have had any experience. I'll never forget my first day; I was so worked up and it only turned out to be looking through charts and getting a tour of the facility. If your nursing school is like mine, they will ease you into it. Don't be too hard on yourself like I was. None of us got into nursing already knowing everything. ;) Let us know how it goes!