Nervous Student Nurse

  1. I have read a few posts about being very nervous your first time working with patients in a hospital. My experience has been in skilled nursing homes where the majority of the residents were not alert, plus I have been out of the medical field for several years. I thought I would jump right in to hospital work, but I am nervous as all get out.

    This is my first term, and I have been in the med-surg unit for two days. The first day I did a scavenger hunt to find supplies, charts, etc. The second day I shadowed a nurse and she basically had me go fetch things for her and for her patients. Even this little patient contact had my head spinning! I don't know why I am so nervous, but my anxiety is really severe. I am a little socially anxious normally, but nothing like this. I am literally shaking, and about to throw up at the thought of working with a patient this week. I get in fight or flight mode, and I feel like I want to run out the door!

    I just want to know if anyone has any tips on how to get comfortable with a patient. I really could use any advice you have to offer!
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    About su_z1010

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 11
    getting through nursing school
    Specialty: CNA in nursing homes- 4 years

    7 Comments

  3. by   newcareerstudent
    I don't have any advice, but I wanted to share that you aren't alone in being nervous! I have never worked in a hospital (except for volunteering in the PEDS clinic during the summer when I was in high school - about 16 years ago!) I am very nervous as well. I am so scared to give my first injection that I don't know if I am going to be able to do it! We haven't even started our hospital experience yet and I am already nervous just thinking about it!

    So, you aren't alone!!
  4. by   Daytonite
    hi, su_z1010! i saw that you also resurrected and posted to a similar thread on the nursing student assistance forum. perhaps i can give you a couple of pointers. i'm in an area where there are a lot of people who don't speak english as a primary language. what they do is they don't say very much and until someone opens their mouth and reveals how badly or how good their command of the english language is, no one is the wiser. it's usually when someone starts talking out of their nervousness and gets "diarrhea" of the mouth that problems start to happen. there is nothing wrong with staying quiet and only speaking when you have something significant to say.

    now, having said that, and being someone who suffered for many years of "foot in mouth" disease, and still do at times, here is some wisdom for you:
    1. don't apologize to patients for things they ask you that you don't know the answers to. it puts you in a inferior position and they lose trust in you as a healthcare provider. instead, you can chose to not directly answer a question or just simply say, "i need to check that out and get back to you."
    2. if you don't feel that you have something to say, then don't say anything. better to keep quiet than to open your mouth and say something you'll end up regretting later.
    3. always try to be aware of your body language because even if you say nothing verbally to another person your facial expressions and other body language can be screaming volumes about your true feelings.
    4. if you have a habit of muttering under your breath, scoffing, rolling your eyes at comments people make, etc., make sure you are aware you do this and control it around patients. this is body language that people understand and pick up quickly and interpret, usually, in the wrong way.
    with time, experience and confidence your ability to speak with patients will develop. it may be a bit premature to bring up the subject of therapeutic communication techniques (they are usually introduced to students when they do a clinical rotation in a psych facility), but there actually is a skill to speaking with people in a care giving environment. people who are counselors, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists and others train for many years to perfect these communication techniques. here are two websites from nursing schools that are slide shows that introduce the subject of therapeutic communication. it will give you an idea that what you say to people does not necessarily have to be random words. the trick, however, is that it does take a lot of time and practice to learn how to perform this communication skill. but, then again, that's part of what nursing school is about--learning and practicing new skills.

    http://www2.nemcc.edu/rlansdell/web/...iles/frame.htm - a really nice slide show on therapeutic communication. includes techniques, scenarios and blocks to communication.

    http://academic.luzerne.edu/nfruscia...iles/frame.htm - a slide show on therapeutic communication. talks about the components, goals, therapeutic and non-therapeutic techniques.
  5. by   firstyearstudent
    Here is something so simple that can help so much -- smile!
  6. by   CrystalClear75
    Remember, it's VERY normal to be anxious and nervous at clinicals, I don't know one person who said that they weren't unless you have worked in a hospital and had some experience in the clinical setting. So you are not alone, everyone feels that way, I know I did but I realised to myself that this is normal and I'm not wrong for feeling this way and thinking like that actually helped. Good luck and try to review everything that you are going to do the night before clinicals. Also, confidence develops with practice and how can a new student have confidence? just think to yourself, I made it in this program I can do this.
  7. by   Purple Princess
    I too get nervous at clinical and I graduate in 3 months. Imagine that! But I just remember that the person is sick, scared, and needs my care. I walk in say my name, the school and that i'm a student nurse. i open with how are you feeling, how did you sleep, i acknowledge why they're there and then explain what i'm going to do and just do it. I used to be so scared just to walk in let alone talk to them or touch them. Most are receptive but others will be mean don't think it's your fault or that you did something wrong. i go to report look at the kardex and chart review meds and then go get vitals, blood sugars, and assessments. am care breakfast then meds, rest of am care more meds lunch meds vitals last checks and report off. I'm actually most intimidated talking to the nurses. but my anxiety used to be so bad that i couldn't sleep the night before clinical, sometimes would have nightmares. and i would go there feeling nauseous, sweaty heart racing cold clammy hands and feel like i might pee/ poop myself or both it was that bad. but give it time it will get more manageable. I'm close to graduation, still not perfect but take effective care of my patients and report pertinent info to their nurse. it will be hard at first because nurse aides will try to recruit and overwhelm you and make you into go fetchers! it's true. oh the students aren't doing anything lets give them a list etc. but it will get better. trust me.
  8. by   BIGBLOCK472
    Quote from daytonite

    http://www2.nemcc.edu/rlansdell/web/...iles/frame.htm - a really nice slide show on therapeutic communication. includes techniques, scenarios and blocks to communication.
    oh my gosh! that's dr. lansdell's slideshow on therapeutic communication! her lectures were amazing.
  9. by   MidnightTang
    I think everyone's nervous at first. The important thing to remember is to "appear" confident in front of the patient. The first time I had to do any procedure (ie IM, sc, foley) I was terrified. I went to my instructor before we went into the room and explained what I was going to do and asked any questions I needed to and then I took a deep breath and put on my "confident face". I knew what I needed to do and I knew my instructor would be near by to stop me if I was going to do something wrong, so my job was to make that patient comfortable. The worst mistakes I saw classmates make was when they went into a pts room with the instructor for a procedure and then asked before every step of the process. That's got to be terrifying for the pts. Be confident, you know your stuff.

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