How do I get over the discouragment of not doing skills in clinical?


So first let me clarify there are skills to be done. However I just haven't be chose to do any. Just the larger ones such as start an IV, NJ tube placement, foley, etc. A lot of my classmates have either done all of the above or attempted and failed. I'm feeling very discouraged because I want to work with children and I fear that I won't get to. I currently have my foot in the door at the local peds hospital. So it's wonderful my dream job is literally right in front of me. I worry if I leave to go work at an adult hospital to get experience I will never get rehired at my current workplace :(. I am definitely in the dumps right now because clinical is where you get to practice and I'm getting none of that. I understand I just need to speak up and say can I do it when the opportunity arrises. However I'm very shy and allowed my instructor to take the pick. The same students always got chose though.. so any advice on maybe just get my mind out of the dumps or suck it up buttercup or do blah blah blah..


174 Posts

Speak up!!! Maybe they are being chosen because they are displaying confidence. Or maybe they are asking for skills. Don't let these opportunities pass you by. There aren't many opportunities in clinicals to do the 'good' skills. Ask the nurses if they have any skills for you to perform. Getting any skill during clinicals is like the hunger games!!!! Every man for himself!!

I'm beginning to realize that's my issue! Confidence isn't my strong point... I'm working on it. Slowly but surely!! My last instructor really didnt give me a lot of confidence so I'm working at gaining it back!


709 Posts

I would definitely either bring your concerns to your instructor in a respectful way or volunteer when they are selecting people to do skills.

Specializes in Telemetry, Primary Care. Has 8 years experience.

I never got discouraged about not being able to do skills during clinical. I did ONE NG tube in my program, like 3 IV's during OR/advance med surge rotation, and like 2 more IV's during precepting/last semester. Keep in mind that's over a course of the entire program, 2 years so you're not alone. Honestly, I would say nursing skills are actually hard to come by as a working RN, it just depends on the patients and if you're there at the right time. Of course speaking up will get you to do them, but I don't think you need to rush. You'll eventually learn that nursing skills (NG tube, IVs, etc) isn't what makes you a nurse or a better one. Unless you are "forced" to do each skill on a real patient and be checked off as a "pass" in order to move onto the next class, I don't see any worry for you. Also, I fail to realize how not being able to do nursing skills will not get you into a peds job position in the future. If anything, you would be doing a lot less nursing skills, or rather, a different set of nursing skills for peds that you won't learn in a regular nursing program, but rather on the job.

Ackeem, BSN, RN

380 Posts

I also did one NG in my 4 years, alot of dressings and IVs though, i was always scared to do NG.


389 Posts

I'd just add that it's never "too late" in your program to start volunteering to do skills (or to see proceedures done) until your very last day of clinicals. My last semester & preceptorship was by far the best of them all - the nurses I worked with & the instructors I had were all much more willing to let me practice in the last block.

During my last few clinicals I got to spend a day in the neuro OR - I watched a brain surgery before lunch, a spinal fusion after lunch & a transphenoidal tumor resection at the end of the day. My next-to-last clinical day I spent in the endo-OR & got to see a couple of post-lung-transplant bronchoscopes, pancreatic stents placed & a cardiac cath. My very last clinical day, I got to see a cabg on a beating heart & the surgeon dragged me to the head of the bed & spent about an hour explaining what he was doing & why. So your clinicals aren't over till they're over!

Specializes in ER, Trauma, Med-Surg/Tele, LTC. Has 13 years experience.

For any job that needs these skills, you'll get plenty of practice once you're on the job. For any job that doesn't need these skills, well, it doesn't matter if you ever practiced them or not [emoji12]

Kuriin, BSN, RN

967 Posts

Specializes in Emergency. Has 7 years experience.

I didn't do many if any skills until my preceptorship. Then I got to do an OG, NG, Foley, and IV (x10/day) multiple times. Heck, a lot of my classmates had never even attempted a blood draw in their ENTIRE schooling. Don't feel bad! Just ask your instructor that you'd love to do the skills.


1,761 Posts

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

You will get over this when you finally realize that nursing school is not meant to master skills. It is meant for learning theory and basic skills. Anyone can be taught these skills you are so worried about. You will be getting paid for your knowledge and ability to critically think.

The purpose of clinical is not to master these skills either. The entire point is to get comfortable with patient care and learn how to manage your day and think like a nurse by following your nurse and watching what they do. If you get to do a few "cool" skills along the way, then that is icing on the cake.

Any skills you need for a future job will be learned while on the job. Not having had the chance to do them in school will not hinder your ability to get a job later. I never had a new grad interviewer ask me about the skills I got to practice. Only the knowledge I had to use.

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

Tell your instructor. At the beginning of each clinical rotation I tell my instructor what I have and haven't done in clinical and how confident I feel doing it. Then when something comes up the instructor will hopefully remember that you asked.

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

Our instructors kept fanatical records of who got to do what, no reminding required. Are you still doing clinicals as an RN now?

Tell your instructor. At the beginning of each clinical rotation I tell my instructor what I have and haven't done in clinical and how confident I feel doing it. Then when something comes up the instructor will hopefully remember that you asked.