Slow Clinical Days

  1. Any ideas for activities for slow clinical days? I teach peds clinicals and with parents providing a lot of the care and pretty bland peds cases (it's a small hospital) such as gastro, dehydration, moderate RSV the students easily run out of things to do. Sometimes there aren't even enough peds pts for each student to have their own! I'm used to being in a large city ped hospital rotations with LOTS going on, and this has been a somewhat difficult change for me.

    I always make sure they do vitals, offer the parents "baby-sitting time" so they can get off of the unit for a break. But the majority of these kids aren't critical. There is a very limited opportunity for procedures. Finding another placement for my students is impossible, since this is the ONLY hospital with decent (20 bed) peds floor around. Some other local hospitals have a peds floor as well, but we're talking 5-6 ped pt and the rest is adult overload.

    We're barely half way through the semester and I can already see the glazed look of boredom in their eyes.

    Any advice on how to work with what I've got available would be GREAT!
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    About scribblerpnp

    Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 359; Likes: 528
    Pediatric Nurse Practitioner & Nursing Instructor
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in Pediatrics


  3. by   nurse4theplanet
    Case studies are really great! During our slow times (esp. in OB and Psych), we would go over case studies as a group. They usually pertained to the lecture material that we would be tested on...also group careplans (orally, not written).
  4. by   navynurse06
    Its always good for the students to research meds and disease process. I know some times when its just slow on the floor we'll let the less experienced nurses and corpsmen practice their lab sticks and ivs on each other. I don't know you school's policy on that but that's always good practice!
  5. by   scribblerpnp
    Thanks for the ideas! PLEASE keep them coming!

    I have been thinking about doing case studies, the main problem is the unit we are on doesn't have a place for us to go where we won't be in the way of the nurses. Our conference room (that we use for pre and post clinical conference) is on the other side of the hospital! And I need to stay on the unit to remain accessible to the students who actually have a busy patient.

    And our school's malpractice insurance won't let us pratice IV's on each other! Double !!!

    *SIGH* Sometimes I feel the Clinical Gods are against me!
  6. by   indynurse#2
    Hello - I graduated 3 years ago, so those many days spent in clinicals are still somewhat fresh in my mind It sounds like you are a little short on resources - but a few ideas - If anything interesting does happen, make sure everyone gets to see it if possible and then discuss it....Have some nursing journals/magazine articles that relate to the common cases they are seeing on the floor - or even peds in general for the students to read...Is there any "makeshift" conference room like a break room or empty pt room that you could use for some case studies or group discussion?...If nothing else, let them leave a little early, I promise you'll be the favorite teacher
  7. by   fgoff
    Are this students at least half way though the program? I ask because there might be some extra leadership &/or team building activities that could be started during this down time....

    1) have a 'student leader' that helps with rest of the students priorize/coordinate task, be available of assistance with 2 person task (priorizing can even be completed even if they are task that might not be completed by the student, ie paper exercise)

    2) Chart scavenger hunt (It an audit exercise but don't use that word on the floor) I do pain management, nurse assessments like I&O, VS & physical & PT/family teaching. I'm trying to complete a tool that will help the students with medication recogciliation. Have th estudent follow the documentation in the records theirs & others MD, RT, PT & staff nurses to see how complete the picture of the patient is or not in the record. Use the info to encourage planning of care and proper documentation of the care provided.

    3) Patient/family teaching moments... Planned very short 5-10 minutes that cover a disease, treatment, follow-up care, diet, drug that the patient is on etc.... or a general health topic, toddler safety, immunization , G&D, safe sex ed for teens,.....This may need to be cordinated with staff be usually goes over well when presentations are made as fun as possible and don't interfere with unit 'flow'. not somthing that would be a 'grade' but would require thought & planning. 2 to 3 students per topic is good size group vs each doing thier own. If the the hospital doesn't buy into this you can have the students present to each other....or another clinical group...

    4) Role play. have topic that the students act out upset parent while the child gets an IV started.... what would you do... what would document... student look for therpuetic communication, trust building, issues......... A kind of "WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF....?????"
  8. by   JBudd
    Is there an ER in your hospital? We usually have several kids in at any given time. Could a few students float down and just shadow in the ER (since you aren't there to oversee), then come back and present what they saw?
  9. by   mamason
    Don't know if this helps, but here goes: We would have down times also with our peds rotation. My clinical instructor asked us to bring in nursing articles. We would discuss them as a class. Also, she would go over NCLEX questions. Kind of made a game out of it. Also, we would sometimes have a scavenger hunt, as long as we didn't get in the way of the unit. Our class enjoyed these things as a whole. And it kept us busy and we were still learning.
  10. by   puggymae
    I always keep a supply of pretty complicated math problems in my lab coat pocket. I also have some scenarios on index cards that I call "What would you do? that I let them work on. My post confernces are student led and they must do an activity for the group so I let them work on those. Is their wound nurse that sees in-house patients that you could let one of them follow? Or in-house inservices that they can attend? Does the hospital have a nice library with nursing resources that they can use? How about farming them out to work with some agreeable ward clerks for a couple of hours?