How will I know what to do in Clinicals when it's my first week of school??

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I'm starting my first week of nursing school next month, and my clinicals start that first week. They said that for the first week we aren't going out to the location (a nursing home...) but we will be the week after. I don't understand how I'll be able to do clinicals with only a week and a half of nursing lectures--how will we know what we're doing?? What sort of stuff do you do in your first weeks of clinicals? Maybe that's the part I'm confused about....I was just thinking, I don't think we'll have too much 'nursing' knowledge in that short period of time....:confused:


Specializes in PCA.

The first time we had clinical we did things like bed making, baths, vitals, and just learning how to interact with the patients. I wouldnt worry too much, whatever you'll be expected to do in clinical im sure they'll let you know and go over before you get there. :)


25 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

Yeah pretty much what Strawberry said. Basically do basic nursing skills. Things you learned in your CNA classes. Anything above and beyond that they tell you and help you out if you need it.


81 Posts

Don't sweat it...first clinical rotations are easy. Do what you are told, ask questions, talk to patients and staff, and relax. You will not have another clinical this easy again!!


134 Posts

Those first couple of clinicals are fun. Remember, all the other students are in the same boat as you!


151 Posts

If you deal with any patients that are wheel chair bound or that have any type of bed alarm, make sure it is tranferred to the wheel chair because sometimes things can get hectic and no one may tell you about the alarm info. It is important to know so that the patient doesn't fall.


15 Posts

"You will not have another clinical this easy again!! "

Haha ok I'll try to appreciate it while it lasts!! Yeah I keep trying to just tell myself that no one else is going to have some expert nursing knowledge in my class that I don't have, and that's making me feel better :D


91 Posts

In my first couple clinicals, us students just interviewed patients and worked on therapeutic communication, which is what our first few lectures were on. We had to do progress recordings (basically just a record of what we spoke about and whether our conversation was therapeutic or not).

Your instructor will provide you with some guidance, and it's okay to be nervous for the first time (or the first couple of times!) I went to an assisted living facility for my first 3 weeks of clinical just to practice therapeutic communication with patients. We were allowed to do patient care but everyone in that facility was basically just up w/ assists so for the most part we just communicated and provided companionship. After that we switched over to a LTC where we started passing medications and doing basic (AM) patient care - meeting toileting needs, giving bed baths, oral care, changing linens, etc. You won't be expected to start IV's and hang IV bags/IVPB's your first week! lol Don't worry! It's nerve-wrecking at first but you'll get the hang of it :)

Oh yeah and how could I forget vital signs? Silly me :chuckle You have things to deal with that other classmates will not; for example, my patient in the LTC had a PEG tube, which is a feeding tube, and none of the other students had patients with that. I got to practice administering medications through the tube (which is kind of tedious especially with pills/tablets because everything needs to be crushed...) along with flushing the tube and how to check for placement. It was a good experience for me :) You might end up with colostomy bags (and let me tell you, those are FUN to drain...depending on the location of the ostomy the "contents" in the bag can be "quite" potent, but changing the bag for the first time is always exciting because it is something you have never done before)'ll probably work on calculating I/O's, practicing turning and positioning (generally Q2H unless otherwise indicated), assisting with meals for patients who need it...very basic but very critical stuff. You will keep building on from there. Good luck! :)

Specializes in HH, Med/surg- liver & kidney transplant, ortho, ++.

That pretty much sounds like what we did too. Follow your primary nurse, get as much exposure as possible. If a nurse is inserting a catheter or IV ask to watch. Just ask tons of questions. If you are unsure about what you are allowed to do during clinicals ask your instructor first. You will have some limitations as what you are allowed to do.

It wont be long before you are looking back and thinking how far you have come in just a few short months. Good luck and enjoy clinicals.

chuckz, BSN, RN

165 Posts

Specializes in CVICU/ER.

The best advice that I can give to you is to go in and try and learn everything you can. Be assertive and dive right in. If your patient has a colostomy, ask your instructor to walk you through how to change it and change it. If your patient has some depression, talk to them about it. Sit down and talk to the patient assigned to you and learn about them. It will facilitate your learning and communication skills. Talk to other patients. Go down for tests with your patient. If a special procedure like an Arterial Line or an MRI is being done, make sure to watch and ask a million questions.

A lot of people shy away from the stuff like cleaning up poop and bathing, but do it. The better you get accustomed to it, the better of you are.

Good luck.

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