Clinical day preparation

  1. What does everyone do to prepare for clinical days the night before?
    Its hard becuase we are having our patients chosen for us the first few weeks so we dont know what we'll get, but I feel so flustered in the morning scrambling to find all my little gadgets and deciding what info I should write down and take to be ahead of the game.
    Last week we went in and our instructor gave us a patient and said go...
    We went into the rooms and just started doing vitals and assessing.
    But while having to gather all this objective data, "life" happens and trays come or the patient needs help to the bathroom or you go in search of linens or to request pain meds.
    I felt so unorganized! There's so many things happening all at once and I still need to learn my stuff. Anyway any tips would be appreciated.
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    About FNPhopeful

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 309; Likes: 10

    30 Comments

  3. by   locolorenzo22
    That's what I'm nervous about having happen during our first clinicals!! However, we are assigned patients at beginning of week and have to go and research patients individually each week. We have a 15 page database form that I believe has to be done with each resident. I'm bringing my steth, penlight, eye size card, pen, paper, drug book, diseases book just in case I have to look something up about a drug or what the patient has(although this should be done before clinical.) Do you get a chance to research beforehand, or is it just show up and Here's your patient?
    Sorry I really don't have any tips, I'm just not there yet.
  4. by   hikernurse
    Yep, it's tough to organize your time, especially when you're just starting out. Heck, it's hard to organize your time when you've been doing this for awhile.

    I pack everything the night before, putting my bag in front of the fridge so I wouldn't forget to take my lunch, LOL. My uniform from shoes to name tag was in the bathroom. I also make sure I have an assessment form and index cards to write info on r/t my patient.

    I know, a little OCD here, but knowing I have everything ready to go really lowers my stress level.

    Just remember that all of us have gone through the same thing and we made it! At least this far, anyway...
  5. by   SNLiz
    Clinicals get alot easier the further along you get. Just be ready for anything and you dont get suprised. It does help alot to be prepared the night before. I also suggest writing out an assessment sheet with a place for everything from your head to toe, to vitals, any procedures that are going to be done that day, a place to scribble notes to yourself, etc. I promise you will get the hang of it. I finally did, thank goodness. I only have ten weeks of school left FOREVER!!!!!
  6. by   FNPhopeful
    How to you guys bring your books? we wouldnt have anywhere to put books much less time to read through them. We have to have med cards for drugs.
  7. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from FNPhopeful
    How to you guys bring your books? we wouldnt have anywhere to put books much less time to read through them. We have to have med cards for drugs.
    We don't bring books....each of us in our group brings a notebook with hospital papers in it, plus a hard-copy of the assessments as a guide in addition to the paperwork we will ultimately need to turn in post-clinicals that week.

    And I'm like the OCD person above!! I bought a special watch for clinicals, an extra lip gloss, lotion, pen, notepad w/cheat sheets, etc., etc., that all go into a ziploc that is in a bag with my notebook and stethoscope and that all goes in with me to the hospital and ends up in my pockets. I am NOT a morning person and couldn't cope if I had to hunt all of this down in the a.m. (like the watch I couldn't find the morning of my first clinical 2 weeks ago -- NEVER again!!). The only other thing I took today was my drug book, but yeah, who the heck has time to reference that!! UGH!!
  8. by   Deliasgone
    Organization and time management gets easier as you go and eventually becomes second nature. Personally, I think that the most important clinical prep is get a good night's sleep and EAT breakfast. Not just toast either...as real a breakfast as you can manage. I usually do a jumbo sausage biscuit, a banana, a bowl of cereal if I have time, and a bottle of H2O. My first clinical day this semester I was in a rush and didn't have any breakfast and I almost passed out while watching an ostomy cleaning procedure. Also if you don't get a good night's sleep you will not be able to concentrate. So pack all of your clinical gadgets and lay out your uniform the night before so all you have to do before rushing off to clinical at 0600 is grab and go.
  9. by   Achoo!
    We get assigned our patients, then get one hour on the computer to look up their reports, order history labs etc.. so we have some clue about our patient before we head up. The second day I have my care plan finished, patient profile done, med cards done before I get to clinical.
  10. by   AuntieRN
    We never got our pt assignments until we actually got there either. This is also how it goes when you go to work in a hospital as well. Your first night on you do not know your pts unless they have been there a while. Then your next night if you work back to back nights you may have some of the same pts or you may have new ones if the ones you had were discharged. Guess this is just their way of getting you prepared and to see if you can actually function under the "unknown" so to say. (sorry I know what I am trying to say just can not seem to get it out)...
    I agree with getting a good nights sleep the night before and I always hung my uniform, pen light, stethoscope, name badge and my clipboard all together so I would not forget anything in the am. Good luck to you!!!!
  11. by   fleur-de-lis
    I would love to have the pt chosen for me! We have to go to the hospital the day before clinicals and pick 2 patients, then fill out a load of paperwork on them that night, including complete care plans, med sheets, history, lab analysis, etc. It usually takes me 2-3 hours at the hospital to pick the patients and gather all the data I need, then anywhere from 3-6 hours of paperwork that night. Then up at 5am to be there on time! Count your blessings!
  12. by   timetospreadmywings
    What helps me is writing down everything I have to do for that patient and then putting a time beside it with a red circle around it. If it's something that needs to be done at all times....I write AAT and circle it in green. (for example: turn q 2hrs (7) (9) (11) (1) (3) and document urine output (AAT)) I hope this helps. I tried to do a time-line and that made my time management worse. By doing the way I told you, I was able to look at my paper and see everything I need to do for that particular patient all at one time. For example, if I had 2 things that need to be done at 8 am......then I see which task is most important and do it first.
  13. by   NurseyPoo
    Time management, organizational skills, assessment skills, and everything else eventually falls into place for each student. The only thing I can say is that it will all start to occur for you. In the beginning of nursing school we always recieved our assignment the night before so that we could prepare. The second year the instructor would tell us in the morning and we would have 1/2 hour to prepare, the following 2 years we recieved the assignment in the morning just as you do in report once you are working. After the first few days of each semester/clinical I just became proficient at organizing my skills. It is important to try and relax, focus and remember that you are there to learn. Most instructors are pretty keen to knowing when someone is floundering. Don't be anxious and try to remain focused on your goal. Developing organization and assessment skills is an individual thing. Everyone learns at their own pace. And, it will start to become easier. It's funny how quick things will go and eventually you will be working and see a student nurse with the "Startled" look.

    Study your drugs, know your diseases, try to see the patient as an individual Person. After a while you will be able to walk into a room and pick up on things by glancing at someone. You will be fine. We have all been there. I hope this wasn't too wordy...sorry if it was.
  14. by   Megsd
    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!

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