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New Clinical Nursing Instructor


Hello Everyone,

I recently accepted a position as and adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor and will have a group of 5-6 students. We will be on a Med-Surg floor. I want to stay organized and give students the best possible experience. Please share your tips, tricks or documents on how to keep yourself organized as well as students.

Any suggestions for a new instructor are greatly appreciated. My first clinical is Sept. 21st.

everchangingRN, ASN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in All. Has 20 years experience.

I have 10 students in my clinical for 2 days a week. My first piece of advice is do not be afraid to ask other clinical instructors for Direction. Second piece of advice make sure you have the correct paperwork to fill out. Also I always write down what each student did that day for example passing medicines, putting in Foley's, going to Radiology to observe if that's allowed for your college. And one last bit of advice keep track of your clinical hours spent at the facility.

Thank you for the comments, I sincerely appreciate it!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 9 years experience.

My advice would be to investigate techniques on giving feedback. It isn't helpful for it to be all good or all bad, but learning to give effective feedback is a skill. The more you do it the better you will get at it, but having a blueprint to follow can be helpful until you have practice at it. Students need the confidence boost but also need guidance and direction. How you give feedback can make a big difference in their educational experience and future practice as a nurse!

Congratulations on the new position!


Specializes in Medical-Oncology, Nursing Education, Family Med.

Maintain structure and organization. I've worked as a clinical instructor for about 2 years, and I think the one thing I found students need more than anything is structure and uniformity. I'd make a little syllabus or "clinical expectations" print-out to give to students so that everyone is on the same page and they have something to reference; this is also important as each clinical instructor and clinical site tends to have slightly different expectations. Also if it's a clinical site where you don't have eyes on every student all the time (I worked several sites where students were on multiple floors), I found that giving them daily assignments (daily care plans, chart reviews, short essay, etc.) helps to give me something more on which to base my evaluation.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 9 years experience.

After a recent issue here at our hospital, I also recommend you talk to the managers of the floors your students will be on to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding what the students can or cannot do and how the management expects the students to conduct themselves while in there for clinical rotations.

I suggest that you have other options available for students, especially if the unit/floor you are on has a low census or not a lot of things going on. Suggestions would be maybe a worksheet related to the type of patients on the unit/floor. The more active students are, the more they identify that the experience was good.

Another suggestion, that I have found helpful is to help students bring together the concepts learned in class into the clinical setting. Find out what they are learning during that week or what they recently did in class and incorporate that into post conference or in activities.

Help students to critically think about what they are doing. Critical thinking is difficult for students, especially when they are struggling in course content.

One more suggestion, help students to use the nursing process, not on a paper, but how to think like a nurse. There is a resource online that helps nurse educators to assist students to think like a nurse, KeithRN.com. I have skimmed the book and used it in class to help with patient scenarios. It is focused on clinical experience.

All the best in your new position.

I made a expected schedule of the day. You should be doing your first assessment and vital signs at this time. Your med pass at this time. Your second assessment at this time. A list of expectations of the day. I also made a charting check list. It gave them what they should be charting and when and tips on how to do it.

The students have a sheet that they have to be checked off prior to clinical. The students I work with can be in clinical before formally checked off on all skills. They are checked off on all meds and IVs before clinical but other procedures are learned throughout the semester.