1st clinical ... nervous .. any advice?

  1. So i am starting my first clinical (geriatrics) in about a week and am kind of nervous. I have never worked in a health care setting before and am just not sure what to expect. any advice or pointers for me ? i'm also kind of shy
  2. Visit jxoxo profile page

    About jxoxo

    Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 16
    from US


  3. by   QBoroRN
    I would say make sure you're prepared with whatever your school requires you to bring. Read up on the basic nursing skills and remain calm, you're not alone!
  4. by   ComeClarity
    Being nervous is normal.. I'm in my final clinical rotation of LPN school and I remember being scared to death on the first day of our CNA clinicals. My best advice is to just jump in feet first and get all the hands-on experience you can. That's really the only way to build your confidence and work out those nerves. I still get nervous at times, when I'm performing skills on patients that I haven't done a lot of. As my clinical instructor told me a few days ago after I gave an insulin shot to a patient (something I do know how to do, just have not had the chance to do a lot of), "If you weren't a little nervous, I would be nervous!"
  5. by   missnurse2011
    being nervous is normal, but as menioned before just come to clinicals prepared and try to relax. i know how you feel i've been working as a nursing assistant for almost 20 yrs and you would think i'm as expert with dealing with people by now, nope!!!!! i'm in my second yr of the nursing program and i still get nervous on my first day interacting with the patients and it shows. once i had a nurse as a patient and she knew i was nervous, but she was really kind and helpful to me. so again it's a natural feeling; just relax and be prepared.
  6. by   ImThatGuy
    It's your first time. You won't be expected to know everything. You're a student and novice. Big deal. Just observe and ask questions.
  7. by   Trilldayz,RN BSN
    What everyone else has said! And I don't know if you have seen a thread on Allnurses today where this lady has shared a website that has free E-books! One of the free books is a "how to handle your first clinical experience" or something like that! I suggest you download it and get even more great advice!
  8. by   RKpianoman
    I was shy and scared going in to my first clinical last semester; it was geriatrics as well. What helped me out the best was getting a good night's sleep and eating breakfast, then making sure I stashed a water bottle at the nurse's station (taking a few slow swallows of water helps calm my nerves).

    When I entered my pt's room, I introduced myself, told her what I was going to do (vitals), did what I had to do, thanked her, and left for a few minutes. Then, I came back in the room and said "hey 'mrs. smith', I just wanted to stick my head in and check on you". While i stepped in that time, I found an object in her room (an old wedding picture) and asked her questions about it (when was this? what church? how many bridesmaids did you have?). Not only did that help me get an idea of her memory, but it also helped me become comfortable talking to her. After a minute or two of conversation, it was easy to flow right in to a health history and review of systems.
  9. by   HCollier
    Im with the origional poster.
    I have my first clinical(geri) on Thursday.
    Its a 12 hour day and Im so nervous. Im not sure what to take with me?
    They haven't told us anything.
  10. by   turnforthenurse
    Being nervous is normal! I felt terrified before my very first rotation and I always felt nervous the first day of clinical because I wasn't sure what to expect. Just remember - you're not alone and everyone will be in the same boat as you! Just read over what your instructor's expectations are the first day - make sure you have everything you need and read up on very basic nursing skills. They won't have you fiddling with IVs or doing complicated dressing changes your first day!! Yes they will just throw you into it but skill-wise they will ease you into it as well, if that makes sense

    Thinking about my first day...my school makes us do clinical prep work (we have to go to our site the night before and get information on the patient, develop a care plan and look up all of their meds) - but only up until senior year (we also didn't have to do prep work in mental health or OB, which we took our junior year). For my first rotation, we had the same patient for the entire semester because we were in a LTC (unless the patient passed away or something :X). Since it was our first rotation, we didn't really focus on assessments, but we practiced listening to heart/lung/bowel sounds. We did VERY basic patient care (bathing, turning, positioning) and administered medications - PO, ophthalmic and topical stuff only, no IV stuff. We were only allowed to give injections after we went over injections and passed our injections skills test in lab. My patient was comatose and also the only one with a PEG tube so I learned right off the bat how to administer meds, which involved crushing them, etc etc etc...it also gave me the opportunity to teach the other students in my group and also give them the opportunity to administer meds in the tube to give them experience

    You will be great, I know it! Don't stress And remember - no question is a stupid question! By all means, ask your instructor! This is new to you and you are in a learning process. You can't be expected to know everything and be thinking like a nurse right off the bat. This is a learned skill. Also, take advantage of EVERY opportunity that comes up in clinical. Answer call lights if you have free time and ask the other nurses if they need help with anything. If you find the nurses are doing a dressing change or something, ask if you can observe. Ask your fellow students if they need help with anything. Although you have to meet minimal expectations in clinical, your experience is what you make of it

    ETA: Things I brought with me:
    * stethoscope
    * storage clipboard with extra papers/forms (you can find these at Walmart or stores like Office Max/Office Depot...some have a calculator on them too which is really nice)
    * bandage scissors, tape, hemostat (I really never had use for a hemostat other than to clamp a PEG tube, occasionally clamp a foley (usually they have clamps on them but sometimes they don't) and also for clamping a chest tube. I really just use the hemostat to put my roll of tape on and then I clamp the hemostat to my scrub pants or something...it frees up space because sometimes tape can be bulky...I also notice that when I have tape in my pocket, my pens/etc get sticky :/)
    * penlight
    * BLACK pens - I like the clicky ones bc you don't have to worry about the caps
    * drug book
    * my school made us buy this pocket guide called RNotes - it's pretty helpful! I always brought that with me.
    * ID badge(s)
    * In my bag, I would also bring a snack (like a granola bar or banana or something) and a small amount of cash ($5-$10) for lunch if I didn't bring my lunch with me that day.
  11. by   jxoxo
    thanks for all the helpful tips !
  12. by   jxoxo
    btw, does anyone have any recommendations as to where i should read up on the basic nursing skills ? thanks in advance
  13. by   ImThatGuy
    What are the basic nursing skills? lol
  14. by   chinacatSN
    Quote from jxoxo
    btw, does anyone have any recommendations as to where i should read up on the basic nursing skills ? thanks in advance
    Don't you have a "lab" book that has all the clinical skills with photos and step-by-step instructions? We were required to have the Wilkinson & VanLeuven Fundamentals of Nursing vol. 1 & 2 - vol. 2 is the skills manual that has photos and steps. It's a great book. Otherwise, maybe check out the websites that your other books offer? Maybe one of them has something on there about skills.

    You could also just google "nursing skills with photos" and see what comes up.

    Hope this helps!