You're not going to be expected to know everything; nurses with years of experience will tell you they still don't know everything. Keep your patient safe! That is always priority. With this being your first med/surg clinical, I suspect you will be focusing on ADLs, vitals, head-to-toe assessments, and connecting the nursing process to your patient's current health condition (the creation of care plans). This is a great opportunity to sharpen your assessment skills. Also, although it seems elementary, this is also an opportunity to learn best how to perform ADLs. What are some tricks to change the linens when you have a bed bound patient? How can you give a bed bath of great quality while shortening the process so that the patient isn't freezing?
Talk to the patient- I mean TALK to the patient. Get to know him/her. The more experience you gain with this task, the more comfortable you will become. If you don't know- always ask! More than likely, you will have one patient. Tend to that patient. You should check on your patient at the very least hourly (hence, hourly rounding). Remember the 4 P's: pain, position, potty, and possessions. Check on your patient's pain level. If your patient is in pain, let your nurse know your assessment findings including the patient's pain rating. If your nurse gives the patient IV push pain meds, do a follow up assessment within 30 minutes. If your patient received PO pain medications, follow-up within an hour and communicate your findings with the nurse. If your patient requires turning, turn your patient. If your patient does not require turning, see if the patient needs anything for comfortâ€¦perhaps another blanket or pillow. Does your patient need to go to the restroom? If so, help the patient to the restroom. Remember though- if your patient is assist X 2, get help! You may want to get help the first time as you may be juggling an IV pole while assisting. Never forget the gait belt! Remember, safety first. Finally, ask the patient if they need any belongings closer to them. Perhaps the phone needs moved or the patient needs his glasses.
Be proactive. If completing vitals is part of your clinical duties, do them and on-time! In fact, it would be a good idea to start 30 minutes early so that the machine is available to the floor nurses when they start taking their vitals. If you follow these suggestions, it will make for a good clinical experience. You will be of great help to the nurse with whom you are working and I am certain you will meet your clinical instructor's expectations.
Good luck Sunday!