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How Much Study & Prep Time to Allow for 1st Year Clinicals?

Posted

Specializes in None yet..

I'm juggling how to fit school and work together. I'll start my first year of nursing school in September.

People who have experienced the first quarter of nursing school, I need your experience and advice.

So here's the situation: My first clinical rotation is at an LTC facility. I need to get up at 5 am on Monday to drive an hour to be ready to start work at 6 am. I finish at 11 am. Then another hour to drive back home. Same thing the next morning, leave home at 5 am except I get off clinicals a half hour earlier.

I've heard that writing care plans is a BIG part of clinicals. How much prep time will I need for the first day of clinicals? How much follow up time after I work on the first day and how much time to prep for the next day? At what point are we writing care plans and what else will we need to do? I need to know how much time I need to allow to do a good job, not just to get by.

(As an aside, I'm not seeing how I can work Sunday and Monday from 2 pm 'til 10:30 pm as my supervisor would like me to do and still have time to get the necessary prep and follow up work done for my clinical classes. The fact I'll have two nights in a row with 5/12 hours to sleep and do everything else seems... undoable. Is it?)

Thank you for any help you can give me.

Edited by SeattleJess

For my clinicals, we had to go to the facility the night before to get their patient info. Then we'd have to organize the info we got, understand their medical diagnose inside and out, and look up all the drugs they were taking and write down the info. The first few clinicals it took 1-2 hours to get patient info, then 1-2 more hours to organize and look everything up, but once we got the hang of it it was more like 1-2 hours total. So if you have to do that, your job definitely wouldn't work for that. I've never had to do care plans before seeing the patient, it was always after. So I'd see my patient at clinical on Tuesday, for example, and my care plan would be due Sunday. Depending on the complexity of your patient, it can take 1-4 hours to complete one (some LTC patients are very complex and just looking up all the drug info can take so long!). That being said, we only had to do like 3 during my first semester. For my med-surge clinical during second semester I have a whole lot more to do!

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

For my clinicals, we had to go to the facility the night before to get their patient info. Then we'd have to organize the info we got, understand their medical diagnose inside and out, and look up all the drugs they were taking and write down the info. The first few clinicals it took 1-2 hours to get patient info, then 1-2 more hours to organize and look everything up, but once we got the hang of it it was more like 1-2 hours total. So if you have to do that, your job definitely wouldn't work for that. I've never had to do care plans before seeing the patient, it was always after. So I'd see my patient at clinical on Tuesday, for example, and my care plan would be due Sunday. Depending on the complexity of your patient, it can take 1-4 hours to complete one (some LTC patients are very complex and just looking up all the drug info can take so long!). That being said, we only had to do like 3 during my first semester. For my med-surge clinical during second semester I have a whole lot more to do!

Thank you, IffyInklings! Your comments put the last nail in the coffin. There's no way I can do the proposed schedule and do justice to my patients and my education. I have a dangerous tendency to attempt the impossible. Thank you so much for tipping the scales to the "no way!" side.

There really isn't much to prep for your first day of clinical except to show up in time with a pen and paper and a huge heart to help on the floor. Your big test will be wanting to write anything and everything from your pt's medical record. But with time you'll learn to write info that you only need. Pay close attention to doctor's latest orders when you read the chart. As for care plans, each person works at a different pace. Granted the first few care plans will take longer than usual.

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

I spent all day researching and writing a letter of resignation and then girding up my courage to walk into my supervisor's office to resign face-to-face like a professional. Before I finished, she interrupted to tell me that she'd spoken to her boss about creating a per diem position for me and it would be available for me if I wanted it. No benefits, but hubby has the ones we need and I can continue to work during nursing school so I'll have that critical one-year-of-continuous experience on my resume I keep hearing is so critical, not to mention the chance to improve my skills and get to know nurses. Yay!

Thanks for helping me to get the courage to do the right thing.

Edited by SeattleJess
Grammar

Everline

Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

We didn't have to prep before clinicals. We did not have to go in the night before. We came in early and got our assignments and then got report from the nurses and proceeded with our day. A lot of work needed to done after the clinical day when we had to do charting and care plans. I know some people breeze through that sort of thing, but there were times when it took me several hours to complete my clinical work.

A lot depends on your clinical instructor, what they requires and how much time they give you to turn it in. My rotation in LTC was not particularly hectic. Med surg was a different story...

afterseason, ASN, RN

Specializes in Peds PACU & Peds Psych. Has 1 years experience.

When I was in school, we had to do a care plan and a concept map for one patient per day (so two of each per week). Our care plans included listing out ALL of the meds our pt was on, and then writing out what exactly that meant for us as a nurse (i.e. what adverse effects we'd need to watch for, how we'd safely care for a pt on said med, etc). All this paperwork took hours upon hours because you had a ton to fill out and then you had to research meds, etc. We would turn them in the first day of clinical each week, so that gave us the weekend and stuff to complete things. BUT, it really depends on your school and specifically what information they're going to want from you in regards to completing care plans and other paperwork. I will say that during school I also worked and cared for my two young kids (with the help of my wonderful man). Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

This is really helpful, Everline! Thank you. I can pretty much count on needing at least 50% more than the recommended study/follow-up time. Relieved to hear that LTC was not particularly hectic. (I still don't think two hours between basically two full-time days is enough time.)

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

When I was in school, we had to do a care plan and a concept map for one patient per day (so two of each per week). Our care plans included listing out ALL of the meds our pt was on, and then writing out what exactly that meant for us as a nurse (i.e. what adverse effects we'd need to watch for, how we'd safely care for a pt on said med, etc). All this paperwork took hours upon hours because you had a ton to fill out and then you had to research meds, etc. We would turn them in the first day of clinical each week, so that gave us the weekend and stuff to complete things. BUT, it really depends on your school and specifically what information they're going to want from you in regards to completing care plans and other paperwork. I will say that during school I also worked and cared for my two young kids (with the help of my wonderful man). Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

Impressive! Not just the thoroughness of your schooling but that you did it with two youngsters. You had it way harder than I will since I don't have any babies needing my care. Congratulations on making it through.

I just wanted to throw this out there... I just started an entry level masters program and I am consistently putting in 22 hr days between class, reading, quizzes etc etc... I would compare it to 2.5 times the preparation of an undergraduate comprehensive final exam every day ... And if you think for one second I am exaggerating, you are absolutely mistaken!!!

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

I just wanted to throw this out there... I just started an entry level masters program and I am consistently putting in 22 hr days between class, reading, quizzes etc etc... I would compare it to 2.5 times the preparation of an undergraduate comprehensive final exam every day ... And if you think for one second I am exaggerating, you are absolutely mistaken!!!

I don't think you are exaggerating at all. Sounds like my first year of law school. But I was younger then and the body tolerated sleep deprivation. I hope the time you need to work at this level is short.

Safe to assume your experience isn't relevant to first-year nursing school clinicals? Or that to prepare for my clinicals, I'd need 1/2.5 the time for all my courses that you need for all your courses?

Just trying to glean an answer to my question about how much time I'll need to budget for first-quarter nursing school clinicals. Thanks for any clarification you can give. And best wishes on your program!

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

It truly depends on your program and the careplan/documentation requirements for clinicals.

My 1st semester, it took 6 hours to complete the required documentation in order to be able to turn it in the next day. On weeks where clinical documentation was due the same day as an exam, I was stressed to the max.

You really won't be able to know the work load unless you speak to students in your program.

Our documentation has gotten more complex each semester and it takes even longer until you get used to the new formats.

So, keep in mind that you may have to factor in lots of extra time!

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

It truly depends on your program and the careplan/documentation requirements for clinicals.

My 1st semester, it took 6 hours to complete the required documentation in order to be able to turn it in the next day. On weeks where clinical documentation was due the same day as an exam, I was stressed to the max.

You really won't be able to know the work load unless you speak to students in your program.

Our documentation has gotten more complex each semester and it takes even longer until you get used to the new formats.

So, keep in mind that you may have to factor in lots of extra time!

Wow, this is actually about what I was suspecting I'd need, based on previewing the text on "nursing diagnosis." (What a confusing topic.) Though you're correct, no point in panicking until I get to the actual class. Thanks for the data, SopranoKris!

Stephalump

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

It really, really depends. I never once did prep work for clinical, because I never once went and picked a patient the night before. Some students in my cohort did, but it just happened that my 1st year instructor didn't want us to, and by 2nd year we were expected to develop our time management by looking things up day of (since as nurses we don't go the night before to get our patient list 😊).

We did do clinical logs during/after clinical during the first year, and it maybe took me 4 or 5 hours? And then second year there were concept maps. Oh, the concept maps. It would take me anywhere between 12-20 hours to do one of those monsters. And then I still wouldn't get a good grade 😂. But they weren't due until the next clinical day a week later.

Point being...it all varies!!!

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

It really, really depends. I never once did prep work for clinical, because I never once went and picked a patient the night before.

We were never allowed to pick patients the night before. We got our assignments the day of clinical (we have clinicals 2 days in a row), did our shift and tried to get as much paperwork done as we could during the shift so we had less to do at night. The whole documentation packet was due by the start of clinical shift the next day. The second day, we had the same patient (if they were still on the floor) and just did assessments, vitals, hourly rounding and med passes for our assigned pt. We were also expected to help answer call lights & do Accuchecks for the entire unit, so it was a very busy 2 days. It really got us to focus on time management skills. In 2nd level, we had to add in documenting on the EMR and doing our clinical paperwork. Very busy!!!

It amazes me when I hear of programs that allow the students to get a "head start" with their patient the day before!!! Then again, I'm glad we didn't have that. I completely agree with you, it forces you to be organized and prioritize from the get go. :D

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

It really, really depends. I never once did prep work for clinical, because I never once went and picked a patient the night before. Some students in my cohort did, but it just happened that my 1st year instructor didn't want us to, and by 2nd year we were expected to develop our time management by looking things up day of (since as nurses we don't go the night before to get our patient list 😊).

We did do clinical logs during/after clinical during the first year, and it maybe took me 4 or 5 hours? And then second year there were concept maps. Oh, the concept maps. It would take me anywhere between 12-20 hours to do one of those monsters. And then I still wouldn't get a good grade . But they weren't due until the next clinical day a week later.

Point being...it all varies!!!

Twelve to twenty hours... HOLEY MOLEY! I should probably just quit my job now....

SeattleJess

Specializes in None yet..

We were never allowed to pick patients the night before. We got our assignments the day of clinical (we have clinicals 2 days in a row), did our shift and tried to get as much paperwork done as we could during the shift so we had less to do at night. The whole documentation packet was due by the start of clinical shift the next day. The second day, we had the same patient (if they were still on the floor) and just did assessments, vitals, hourly rounding and med passes for our assigned pt. We were also expected to help answer call lights & do Accuchecks for the entire unit, so it was a very busy 2 days. It really got us to focus on time management skills. In 2nd level, we had to add in documenting on the EMR and doing our clinical paperwork. Very busy!!!

It amazes me when I hear of programs that allow the students to get a "head start" with their patient the day before!!! Then again, I'm glad we didn't have that. I completely agree with you, it forces you to be organized and prioritize from the get go. :D

That's a wonderful idea to try to get the paperwork done during the shift. I didn't expect I'd be allowed to pick patients and I'm surprised that any program lets you do that. I was thinking that prep would be reading assignments. Four and twenty blackbirds baked in to an ADPIE kinda stuff....

afterseason, ASN, RN

Specializes in Peds PACU & Peds Psych. Has 1 years experience.

That's a wonderful idea to try to get the paperwork done during the shift. I didn't expect I'd be allowed to pick patients and I'm surprised that any program lets you do that.

My program did not let us do the paperwork during the shift. They wanted clinical to be spent focusing on getting hands-on experience.

We were allowed to pick our patients to an extent, especially toward the end of school. Our instructor would give us a list of patients they felt would offer good experience, and then allow us to discuss amongst ourselves who wanted which patient. This was so that students who still hadn't had the chance to work with a certain types of patients or get to perform certain procedures could speak up and have the opportunity.