I'm a nursing student on my second clinical rotation on a med-surg floor. Prior to this, I was at a LTC facility (ADL's and basic CNA duties). I thought that hitting the med surg clinical maybe I'd be learning a lot more, seeing new procedures, etc.
BUT....this is the situation: I have one assigned patient. When that pt is discharged, I may get another one. We go in, do our assessment, dig through the chart for meds and labs, do vitals, assist with ADL's. My RN had a busy day; no surpirse there, right? When I asked her a question (the pt's SO had a question; was concerned that the pt hadn't had a BM in the four days she was there, after having a hip surgery), the nurse said, "I don't have time for this now. I have some other important things to do." This was 15 min before the pt was to be discharged, and the SO wanted an answer. I told the pt's spouse that it would be a few minutes and I'd have an answer for him. Not a big deal, I know that a BM isn't nearly as pressing as the other things she had going on that day.
HOWEVER...I asked her a while later (new pt) if I could look at the chart when she was finished with it, she said, "When I'M FINISHED with it" in a rather harsh tone. I just smiled and said "Ok, I'll check back later."
MEANTIME....I'm busy calming a dementia patient, assisting another to BS commode....more CNA type duties......When does the "nursing experience" come?
I don't know any other way to put this but, I'm just wanting to "see" what NURSES responsibilities are....not always doing ADL's. Don't get me wrong, I know that is important and helpful, too.....but we are always being "put off" while the RN's are out doing "nurses duties". We're not allowed to "shadow" a nurse; I asked and was told that "that doesn't work well here".
To be honest, I'm afraid I'll graduate and not have a CLUE what I'm doing.
I thought that if I made myself available, asked questions (of course at the appropriate time), and offerred to help out, that I would be LEARNING. But all I get is "yes, can you help Mrs. A to the bathroom".....
How do I get the most out of my clinical experience? I just feel like I'm not learning much, other than the info that I get out of the chart, looking at the pt's meds, etc.
I would have put this on the nursing student forum, but I wanted to get some feedback from you RN's.
I don't want to be in the way, I don't want to be one of those students who "hides in the pt chart", I want to LEARN NURSING.
Do you have any suggestions for me???
Thank you so much
Oct 29, '05
I am in the beginning of my senior year (four year BSN program), and I really had NO IDEA what it would be like to be a Registered Nurse until my senior preceptorship last rotation (did precepting at the beginning of my senior year). My experiences during my first two years of clinical were similar to yours...I did the work of a tech or an aid, with occassional meds and treatments thrown in for my ONE (very occasionally two) patient. Lots of hanging around answering call lights- getting water, helping people to bathroom etc.
I have been wanting to quit this entire time, on and off, because I thought I was going to hate being a nurse. When I did my senior practicum, however, I was ECSTATIC!!!!!! It was wonderful, and never, throughout the entire program, have I been more excited about being a nurse. Everything started clicking and I actually got to USE MY JUDGEMENT, APPLY my knowledge, make decisions.....just incredible. I now feel like I understand exactly what the heck my job responsibilities
Don't know what to tell you, except hang in there. Hopefully towards the end, once they are sure you are able to function safely and know when to ask questions, you will be allowed more autonomy, as we are.
P.S. Preceptorship is now over, and I am now back to being the go-fer for my last 3 rotations....with a little bit of nursing thrown in here and there
But at least now I have an idea of what is waiting for me after graduation in May!
Last edit by LeesieBug on Oct 29, '05
Oct 29, '05
Hi there. I am a 4th year BSN student and I recall feeling that way here and there. But, I must say, enjoy the extra time you have now to spend with your patients and giving them the conversation and more patient specific care they all love and appreciate. I worked as an UGN (undergraduate nurse) over the summer and will again at CHristmas, and I can tell you this. I learned more in 3 full time months as an UGN that I had in 3 years on school. Meaning, I was able to see real manifestations over time with various pts and appreciate the hectic days the RNs all have. Skills are skills and come with practice, you will have plenty of time for that over the years! I took on 4 pts each day and was responsible for almost everything they needed (not IV starts). Upon reflection, I see that I lost precious time I spend during school clinical with each patient and realize that is a sad reality due to nurse pt ratios and responsibilities.(0700-1400, with a one our postconference to follow) Wooptie doo, 7 hours on the floor in clinical vs 12 hours x 4 days a week days and nights is where ALL mt learning truly began. I feel more confident, was part of the team and learnt from nurses who know I was there full time and was there to help, learn and grow as a nurse. Just be patient, hang in there and do what you can now. Be in the moment and dont think about what you are missing out on. THink about what you are able to do and what you are providing your patients. Your clinical instructor is ther for you as well. Sadly, nurses are run full tilt. This is certainly not to say they dont and wont help. I believe it is the students job to accept that they are SUPER busy and that nurses help as they can, when they have time. Be confident in what you know, and ask your instructor. They can often liase for you if you feel VERY uncomfortable about a situation. Also, be respectful of the RNs situation and remeber, you are a guest on thier unit. Woah-thats a long post! Hope this was somewhat helpful, contact me if you want or have any questions! Cheers! Godd luck in school-enjoy it!
Last edit by RNinRubySlippers on Oct 29, '05