How to survive clinicals

  1. Hey everyone,
    I have recently been accepted into an LPN program in my state. After talking to some people who have been in nursing school or even people who want to go into nursing school they always mentions clinicals. Whether they love them or they don't want to do them because they are nervous every nursing student will do them at one point or another, for experience and knowledge. Of course everyone who has chosen this career for themselves realizes that after school is over they won't be 'clinicals' anymore and they will be a part of your everyday life as a nurse, but doing clinicals in school is much more nerve racking. why? because all pressures on us, we don't know everything and could be put on the spot, its all really personal opinion. I'm nervous for my first few clinicals because the first one is only 16 days into school, even though we will probably only be shadowing a nurse and seeing how things are run in a hospital and going over the basics i'm nervous and I'm sure almost everyone was nervous for their first few clinicals. I KNOW that I will end up loving them once I get to know more and get the hang of things.

    I decided to make this thread for students going into nursing school this year or in the future to ask questions and talk to other students about their schooling and clinicals and also for current/former nursing students to answer questions, tell stories and/or give advice!

    I hope everyone finds this useful!

    So I guess I'll be the first to start My main worry is I don't want to be thrown on the floor with not much experience I feel like 16 days into school is kind of early for clinicals but other schools have probably done it much earlier. What were most peoples first impression of clinicals? What did you do the first day of clinical?

    Last edit by Sjsmith92 on Jul 29, '10 : Reason: spelling error
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    About Sjsmith92

    Joined: Jun '10; Posts: 52; Likes: 10
    from US


  3. by   chickapea
    I love clinicals. It's where the true learning begins for me. The first day can be scary because of the unknown, but just jump in. Know what you are and aren't allowed to do, always stay within your scope of what you've been taught/signed off on. If unsure of something always ask questions. Learn from your instructors, nurses, patients and fellow students. Be proactive in your education and you'll learn tons from your clinical days. Enjoy your nursing school experience!! Good luck
  4. by   O'SheaRN
    My first day was on a medsurg floor. I basically did vital signs and ADLS. They tend to start you off slowly. As you progress, be sure to be prepared everyday. Know lab values, procedures, common drugs, etc. Never be afraid to ask questions. You are there to learn. Make the most out of your time there. If you have never done a foley and one comes up, jump at the opportunity. Good luck
  5. by   Sun0408
    First day for us was always orientation. We walked the unit we were on, maybe had a scavenger hunt. We were introduced to the staff, learned where everything was. The second day at clinicals we were paired and did VS, bed baths, ADL's, basic nursing, nothing too heavy. By the 3rd week we were giving PO meds on our one pt.. They went slow at first.
  6. by   CBsMommy
    I agree. They should start you off slowly with vitals/ADLs. It's a good idea to jump in and help when possible. Remember to always be respectful of the staff at the hospitals (this has gotten me farther than anything) and ALWAYS act as if you want to be there, even if it's 5 in the morning.

    Try to have fun! It's stressful, and you are right, your CI is looking over your shoulder, but there is nothing more fun and more rewarding than completing a task correctly!
  7. by   not.done.yet
    First day of clinicals everyone was nervous, one girl cried when told to get into her patient's room, wake the patient, introduce herself, do vitals etc. By the end of the semester, its all so much easier. Just accept the first few days of clinical just have to be muscled through. It gets easier. And if you bond with your classmates, you will have one another for support. Good luck!
  8. by   9livesRN
    Clinicals were awesome I loved them so much! I have learned so much and dome it all and all of it!!!

    The first weeks though actually, the 1st semester nothing more than CNA scope to us, turn change make beds feed shower and wash butts! And we loved it all

    Take it easy be prepared study your patients condition and learn as much as you can with all the healthcare team you have access to!
  9. by   beauti516
    Wow! This is all very, very useful information. I'm glad this thread was started. I'm about to start my first year in the RN program. I am so excited but I am reading up on alot before I begin. I will definently use this to ask plenty of questions! Thanks!
  10. by   healthstar
    I find clinicals much easier than lectures....I don't know how some people fail clinicals, I really don't. Practice is the best way for me to learn, yes you can master all the theories but if you don't know how to use them in clinicals they are worthless. You need both to succeed but I just feel more confident during clinicals.
  11. by   healthstar
    Quote from 9livesRN
    Clinicals were awesome I loved them so much! I have learned so much and dome it all and all of it!!!

    The first weeks though actually, the 1st semester nothing more than CNA scope to us, turn change make beds feed shower and wash butts! And we loved it all

    Take it easy be prepared study your patients condition and learn as much as you can with all the healthcare team you have access to!
    When I first started clinicals I was told to give a bed bath---I was like YaY here goes my 1st bed bath and it is a real patient. A nurse said to me," honey you are not going to say yay a couple years from now" lol
    It's funny how excited students get when they get a chance to do something--even when they find it disgusting.
    My instructor always said, " when you wash someones back and you assume they can't see you and you are making faces behind their back ..please don't underestimate the power of reflection---( window,mirror, wall etc)
  12. by   Tyler77
    On my first day of clinicals, a student absolutely refused to help a patient with a bedpan...Hello...we all signed up for this....were taught about bedpans n' stuff in lecture so how could she NOT see this coming???? Well, she gets into this nervous breakdown/crying mode and the instructor had to bring her into an unoccupied room for what seemed like eternity to calm her down. Instructor pretty much told her that this would be part of her profession, so if she couldn't handle bedpans, she was in the wrong profession. All the rest of us were like zombies on the floor...we took vitals, gave bedbaths, but we could still hear the student wailing in the room with the instructor. So since the instructor wasn't around, out come the cell phones and the texting. I could not believe it. (The charge nurse told our instructor what had happened and we all got clinical warnings--on our first clinical day! We desereved it!)

    Said student went to the program director the next day and claimed that the instructor "had it in for her" and was "going to fail her" because of what happened the previous day in clinical. The student sent e-mails to everone in the group asking us to step forward and back her up. No one stepped forward.

    Needless to say, the following week in clinical was awkward. No one would speak to her, and needless to say, her bedridden patient needed to have a bedpan because he felt a bm coming on....the student then runs to the instructor and asks her if another student could help the patient with the bedpan because she had "flu-like symptoms" and didn't want to make the patient sick. Yeah, ok. The instuctor then hands the student a gown, mask, and gloves and pretty much demanded that she go back in her patients room and help with the bedpan. The student then walked off the floor, never to be seen again.

    Welcome to clinicals!!
  13. by   BanoraWhite
  14. by   Sjsmith92
    Quote from BanoraWhite

    wow what?