For my program we get our patient assignment the day before (instructor picks 6 patients who, among other things, are likely to stay for the next 2 days so we can see continuum of care... if you get there before the instructor you can have your pick of the 6, otherwise you get what's left) and are responsible for an 8 page clinical prep exercise.
We need to interview our patient to get their statement, their concerns/problems, assess their understanding of their condition and their discharge plans. We have to know the class, action, rationale and nursing implications (side effects, what to check before admin, when to hold) for each drug, implications of any abnormal lab values, pathophysiology of admitting diagnosis. Then we do a concept map, come up with our top nursing diagnosis with goals and interventions.
Before we pass meds we have to check off with our instructor and tell her the class, action, rationale and implications of each medicine before we give it (I type my clinical prep and make myself an extra copy so I can look over it before I get quizzed). We are required to have PDAs in my program with ePocrates essentials, which has drugs, labs, dx, etc.
I bought a clipboard that opens up and has room to store papers. In there I keep my patient care summary, med list, prep sheet info, and handouts given by my instructor. My clinical group liked it so much they all bought one. I also keep my PDA with me for reference, and for the calculator if I need to do dosage calcs.
Now that I've had clinical a few times, I write myself notes to prompt myself on things I forget a lot. I hate going in and doing my assessment, then coming out to chart and reailzing a missed a whole body system (I'm in an assessment class this quarter, so there are a lot of things I haven't "learned" to assess yet). So I write down what I tend to space on so I don't have to bug my patient 50 times more than is necessary.
Every clinical day is full of challenges. You need to face each one as it comes, and as you overcome it, give yourself a pat on the back. It's one more victory!