First day of clinicals .. does this get easier? - page 2

I'm a first semester nursing student and I just had my first clinical day today. I've been doing very well in the classroom, but this is a whole other deal. I've never worked in any sort of... Read More

  1. by   ImThatGuy
    It's all your perspective I guess.
  2. by   sandyfeet
    I still struggle on days when we are supposed to just jump in and help out, and I'm in my third clinical rotation. The problem is that when you go up to a nurse and say "Can I help you with anything?" their automatic response is usually no, especially if they are busy. And it's not because they don't have tasks they could delegate to you, it's because they are focusing so hard on managing their time, they just see an unfamiliar face asking to help them and they think "I don't have time to stop and teach this person right now!". So I've found it's all in what you say. "Do you have any patients with glucose checks I could do for you?". "Are any of your patients being discharged and need their IV's removed?". This can play on your strength of observing too, because it shows that you recognize a need, instead of asking them to think of a task for you.
    For me it got much better when I had my patient assignment because then I had tasks to carry out and a specific role for the day, instead of "helper". I would not make a decision about nursing school based on your first experience because it IS awkward and uncomfortable. But it will get better.
  3. by   Becca2011
    It definitely gets a lot easier! I'm in my 2nd semester, and I can vividly remember my first patient. I came in the room to introduce myself to her while the doctor was talking. She started crying after he left and I grabbed her hand and she held it tightly and said, "I don't want to be here." And I just told her that I'd try to help her have a good experience while she was in my care. I had no CLUE what I was even supposed to be doing, but I figured I would try and console her. And I thought to myself, "Yeah, this is what nurses do! I'm helping someone! I'm making a difference! I CAN do this for the rest of my life!"

    Then the fun started.

    She was the feistiest old lady I have ever encountered my entire 7 months of nursing thus far! She asked me to open her sugar for breakfast and called me a "smart ass" told me she threw her pills away and watched me search frantically through the garbage when she actually took them, told me to wipe that fake smile off my face numerous times, asked me if I "knew what I was doing" when I took her vitals, (I was fumbling around quite a bit) and mocked me while I gave her a bed bath! Sheesh! It took all I had not to quit nursing school right then and there, especially not ever having a job before. This was a totally new culture shock.

    But despite all that, I've shaped up quite nicely since. Now I'm giving PO meds, IM/SubQ injections, hanging IV bags, and I can manage 2 patients efficiently without getting cursed at! Granted there is still SO MUCH I do not know, but, I've finally figured out how the hospital works and what my role is. I would've handled that first patient so much differently now!

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   PinkNBlue
    I feel it's totally normal. I'm still super nervous giving medications because... it's a medication and could potentially harm the patient. I'm so cautious and on edge that I'm going to do something unsafe or incorrect. Some of that is just part of being new and being the "student". Nurses eat their young so when you're paired up with a nurse, it makes a difference on how she is with you and is a huge deciding factor on how your day is going to go. If you have a nurse that is patient with you, allows you to do many things and answers your questions, it's a great day. If your nurse is impatient, uninterested and annoyed that you were put with her, it sucks.

    To say you'll eventually feel comfortable in clinical, I'm not so sure... because I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable 100%. It's intimidating! But hang in there and remember, take advantage of things when you're a student and it's more "appropriate" to not know things as much as opposed to when you're a new grad and should be expected to know certain things. Good luck!
  5. by   manu705
    It gets easier as you get more used to the setting. I am a very shy person too, but when you walk into a patients room and they say, "why don't you every smile or talk?" you realize that they need someone to make them feel better and you just open up to them and joke around with them to make them feel better.
  6. by   CRIMSON
    LOL, first BREATHE!

    Yes, it will get easier with study and practice just like everything else. Like the first time you tried anything and maybe you got it but it was akward but each time you tried it got easier. Clinical practice is the same. You study for the knowledge and practice to get better and more efficient.
  7. by   Nepenthe Sea
    I remember my first day of clinicals with a shuddder. I had never worked in a health care setting, but even my classmates that had were running around with a deer in the headlights look. I think that's very common, and it is a very uncomfortable feeling at first. you are asking patients things that you have never asked another person and seeing body parts that other people don't normally see. You will get used to it. Or you won't, and may decide to go into another field. Just hang in there. I am about to graduate and I freak out at least the first day of every new rotation.
  8. by   Courtcatt
    I am right there with you... clinicals is very overwhelming. I have found that in time you get more comfortable...but I still do not feel nearly as comfortable as I should... The way I look at it is... we are nursing students right? It wouldn't make sense for us NOT to feel uncomfortable in this setting...this is new to us, and we are here to learn...\if we felt confident and secure in this setting there would be no need for clinicals! Its totally normal what your going through... I too am having a hard time regaining my confidence in the clinical setting. Don't doubt yourself, everyone has their good days and their bad days. I have come home from clinicals SO happy and excited that I am going to be a nurse, and the other days in tears wondering if this is really right for me.. its normal to have doubts, especially when your under constant pressure to do well. Don't give up, give it time... your not alone

    I too have to tell myself weekly after clinicals
  9. by   mfz73
    This is something you get over or you won't. Don't beat yourself up over this. Be yourself! Believe in yourself and act confident, even if you aren't. Don't let your negative self-talk to get the better of you. Sometimes, we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to allow ourselves to experience and learn what we need to learn in life. We may not like it, but it allows us to grow. Only you know what you need to change within yourself. Obviously, you recognize what your issue is. It is up to you and only you, to change or not change it.

    I am sure there are many shy and quiet nurses out there who aren't as outgoing as others may be, and they are very successful in what they do each day. Just because one is quiet and shy doesn't mean that one can or cannot do ones job, and do it well.
  10. by   aggieRN12
    These are all really good replies!

    I used to be the same way last year!... I relied on my fellow students for advice! and Its just a new, and at times awkward experience! Good luck!