I just finished my first semester of an integrated masters program. While I don't have straight A's, I feel comfortable with my grades. I've been struggling with clinical and am hoping for some words of wisdom to help me improve/survive. We finished our first 3 months of clinical (2 days per week) and will be starting clinical evaluations two weeks from now. I feel childish for saying all of this, especially since my classmates all seem so confidant.
I don't know what's happened to me since starting clinical. I was a strong ICU nurse prior to this. I have never been the typical type A ICU nurse. I have always had anxiety with new people. It never was a problem while on the job, but now I feel I've psyched myself out. It doesn't show on my face. Instead I just freeze up. Once I step foot into the clinical site, it's as if I forget how to be a nurse.
I was a preceptor/charge and now have trouble with decision making/jumping in without being told. I still rely heavily on preceptors. I was a go-to for IVs and now I'm about 50%. I'm only about 40% after 30 intubation attempts and my technique doesn't seem to have improved at all. Focusing so much on what the staff thinks of me and a fear of mistakes is causing me to screw up even more. Even though it is frustrating dealing with various techniques of different preceptors, it's not their fault. Compared to my classmates, I lucked out with my clinical site. They've all been great. Instead of telling me to suck it up, they've actually pulled me aside to try and talk through it. I'm the only one to blame for my performance.
I've done many things to help but have only noticed a slight improvement in my clinical performance. Seeing a therapist/starting propranolol has helped with the anxiety/fear of failure. Talking through each step of the cases while driving to/from clinical helps to keep me on track intraop. I always ask to review what went well/bad with the preceptor at the end of the day. I go over their advice in my head, but can't seem to follow through in the moment. I do feel I can identify my own weaknesses pretty well, but can't improve them. I've gone through many forums on here/reddit/head of the bed podcast.
The preceptors say I'm doing fine. I feel the complete opposite. No preceptor or instructor will give me a timeline of expectations. I don't know where I'm supposed to be at this point. I don't know when I'm expected to stop relying on the preceptors. I've heard and read that many students go through trial by fire and it seems to work. At this point, I am 100% certain that wouldn't work for me and that I would fail without the frequent help from the preceptor. I know I need to be better.
Sorry for the rambling post and thanks for getting through all of that.