Published Mar 18, 2014
Hello! I was just wondering if there was any way to reduce clinical anxiety? I remember talking to some older nursing students when I was a sophomore (now a junior) and they just blinked backed at me and started dying laughing as if there was no hope for a stress free clinical. I feel fine at work, (PCA) but that's because I know I have the job and I don't have an instructor breathing down my neck. I've gotten excellent work evaluations, which boosts my confidence. I've only been excited for one clinical, and that was back in medsurg when I had an instructor who loved it when we asked questions and would always make a moment a teaching moment. There was never the fear of getting in trouble for not knowing something, and if she wanted you to research something, she would simply tell you to sit at a computer, review the information, and then report back to her. I only heard of her ever giving a clinical warning if you did something horrible (like leave the bed rails down). Essentially, if you violated a major safety rule.
Half my class is on anti anxiety meds, including me. Is there anything you guys out there do for reducing stress?
Retired APRN, MSN, RN, APRN
Remember: this too shall pass! You're more than halfway there.
Practical measures to reduce stress: eat a balanced diet in sufficient quantity and at regular intervals, even if you're busy. Get enough sleep. Get some exercise (hiking, biking, running, aerobics, volleyball - something to work up a sweat): endorphins are our friends. Focus more on your patients and on the material and skills you are learning than on your feelings during clinicals. Consider that dealing with a difficult instructor is giving you experience in dealing with difficult charges, managers, supervisors and colleagues. It's an entire skill set on its own.
As soppy as it may sound, try to find a few positive things that happened during each clinical. It's an exercise in changing the focus.
I love to make lists and charts, so that is what I do. I list everything that I need for clinicals. This is not just limited to materials, but also any readings or information I need to look up before hand, such as my patient's meds or condition so I can have a better grasp on it. My charts consist of a brain sheet with a schedule, any additional info that the nurse has given me and whatever pathophysiology or medication information I looked up the night before. I know that Esme (a user on this site with excellent resources) has shared her brain sheets before.
These are just suggestions for clinical organization, which is often a source of anxiety. But your situation sounds like you are more worried about asking questions. Could you possibly approach this with your clinical instructor by setting up a meeting?
Do you know what your anxiety is related to? I know I had a lot of anxiety in the beginning of school related to talking to patients.
So I made up some scripts and used them when talking to patients. It helped relieve some stress because I always had something to say to my patients.
I do find it a little alarming that you and half your fellow peers are on anti anxiety medications while in clinicals and actively taking care of patients.
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