Advice for first clincial rotation?

  1. Hey everyone!

    I am going to be starting my second semester of my ADN program and will be doing my first clinical rotation. I will be in my psych rotation in an alzheimer's unit. I was wondering if any other more advanced nursing students or active nurses would have advice for me, such as top 3 things you wished someone told you to do or to know before you started your first clinical rotation. Anything else you would want to throw in is appreciated too! Is there an etiquette I should try to follow other than being respectful to the employed nurses I'll be working with?

    I did well grade wise last semester, but it all seems a blur. Are there certain topics or subjects I should make sure I know like the back of my hand? (aside from what my professor seems to stress?) Also does anyone have tips on how to network with the nurses onsite for future job opportunities after I graduate?
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    About adnstudent44

    Joined: Nov '13; Posts: 78; Likes: 69


  3. by   Remilekun
    I'm also interested in the response here as well. I'm about to start my psych rotation as well.
  4. by   nursephillyphil
    Find a good nursing brain, there are a lot of them available for download just by googling, these will help you organize your patients and your shift.
    Find a REALLY good pair of shoes
    Keep an extra set of clean scrubs in your car/backpack when you go to clinicals
    Check how the earpieces on your stethoscope feel, if they are too hard and hurt your ears go get some soft ear tips.
    Show motivation, if the opportunity to help out arises, take it; be it an admit or acucheck, etc.
    Network the hell out of yourself.
    Pack your lunch/dinner to save money
    If you show yourself to be nervous your patients will see/sense it, fake it till you make it!
    Find yourself a really good hand moisturizer to keep with you
    Do your best to see the big picture, it helps you see why the patient is taking the medications they are taking, why they are getting the procedures they are receiving, etc. This will help you develop as a nursing student and will carry on into your nursing career.
    Get enough sleep and exercise.
  5. by   adnstudent44
    thank you for your reply!!! I wouldn't have thought of bringing an extra pair of scrubs, but that makes perfect sense! And the nurse brain app, hadn't heard of it, but ill definitely look into it.
  6. by   adnstudent44
    anyone else have more advice?
  7. by   LoriRNCM
    Don't be late......
  8. by   ambitiousBSN
    Be prepared! Don't show up without your steth, pen, small notepad, watch, etc.
  9. by   A&Ox6
    If you are told to wear business casual, remember to dress covered up. Also, careful about scarves/necklaces/belts. You might also want to get a badge reel that does not have a long string.

    These clients can tell if your scared. Put on your poker face and be confident. My program required CPI certification. That was one of the most helpful requirements. Teaches about de escalating potential crises. Also always maintain a supportive stance. Legs shoulder width apart and slightly diagonal. Keep your hands visible to clients to prevent paranoia
  10. by   RunBabyRN
    Don't be afraid. So many people start their psych rotation scared, and there's really no need. You'll be okay!
    I would second what nursephillyphil said.
    TOTALLY agree about the stethoscope ear pieces! I love Littman stethoscopes, if only for the ear pieces.
    What he said about showing motivation, yes. I would also add to that to advocate for yourself. Speak up if there's something happening you want to see or try or whatever. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and to ask questions. Also don't ever think you're "above" the mundane stuff. Linen changes and peri care are just as important as IV starts and Foley caths.
    Networking yourself- HELL YESSSSSS. You never know who might be a job lead. The nurse manager on the med/surg unit where I spent the last 3 semesters just moved to the unit where I'm *dying* to work. She likes me, and offered to help get me a preceptorship on her new unit to see how I do up there, and she threw in there, "I'm known for hiring new grads. Just sayin'."
    Learn the resources available to you at the clinical site. People have Alzheimer's, so do some research on it ahead of time, but when you're there, look up their comorbidities as best you can. Also get to know their meds and why they're taking them, AND if they're contraindicated or "used with caution" with the patient's diagnoses. One of my classmates found meds being given to a Parkinson's patient that are contraindicated with Parkinson's, and the MD needed to change the order.
    Which leads me to- advocate for your patients. Follow your gut- if something doesn't seem right, ask about it. Question it. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask nurses why they do things the way they do. If they have a brain of their own (those sheets they take report on), ask for a copy (I have a stash I've built up, and I'm creating my own).
    Stay positive! Clinicals, like nursing school, are what you make them, and they can be AWESOME! There will be things that suck, negative nurses, patients that frustrate the hell out of you. How will you overcome the challenge? Overcoming that stuff will help you to become a better nurse.
    Good luck!!
  11. by   adnstudent44
    Thank so much fopr all the help! I really appreciate it!
  12. by   VAgirl247
    Get used to the elderly repeating themselves. You must be patient. You cannot rush them. A lot are hard of hearing so get close to them but not to close. Get to where they can see you (some can read lips better then hearing a voice). I'm an EMT and have had much experience with the elderly. But don't be afraid the elderly as they can be a good time to be around to.