Scrub Tech Clinicals starting...nervous!!!


  • Specializes in ALF, Medical, ER. Has 4 years experience.

So Monday begins my first round of clinicals for the scrub tech program I am in. Although I am very excited about this, I am also scared to death! We have had a month off between semesters and even though I have been reviewing my instruments, positions, and anatomy I still feel as though when I walk into the OR I will draw a blank! Nightmares of handing a surgeon an Army-Navy when he wanted a Weitlaner, stabbing him with a scalpel blade oh dear heavens what have I gotten myself into?! I really hope I don't screw this up and I want so badly to do this right. So please someone tell me this is normal and that I can do this! Thank you!

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

Put yourself in the hands of your preceptor - hopefully you will get a good one. Nobody expects you to know everything the first day. You may not even get a chance to pass anything to anyone for the first day or so. Don't get frustrated if they want you to observe for a little while. You won't be scrubbed in alone, or shouldn't be, while you are still a student, so I wouldn't worry that you are going to do something horrible, you will always have back-up as a new student.

Try to get a good night's sleep before your first shift, eat something, try not to look terrified (it just freaks everyone out - look confident, even if you don't feel it inside), and pay attention. You'll be just fine.


8 Posts

Specializes in I can scrub and circ just about ANYTHING. Has 12 years experience.

This is completely normal. I have been doing this for 12 years, and I still get nervous. I am new to scrubbing CV, and today I femorally cannulated, which I hadn't done before. Just know that you will learn something new everyday, and no, your head isn't going to explode!

Have confidence, but don't act like you know everything. Even if you are being told something that you already know, just smile and nod, and say thank you. EAT BREAKFAST!!! And have fun!

Fun2, BSN, RN

5,586 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room.

I am a little nervous when I know I'll be scrubbing, but once I'm there doing it, I'm ok. I briefly look at the instruments as I go along, and name them in my head. It helps when the surgeon asks for something.

If you know your instruments like you say you do, even if you have to take a second to think about which one you're looking for every now and then, you'll start picking up the pace as you go along.

You're preceptor will be there to jump in if you need assistance.

As the person wrote before, more than likely, you will only watch the first day. However, if you feel comfortable, don't hesitate to at least ask to jump on in if you feel up to it. Show initiative, even if you are told "NO" the first day or so. :)

(Also, DON'T let the surgeons, preceptor's, etc attitudes get to you...sometimes some people are nice, sometimes they're butts.) lol

Best of luck, you'll do fine!!!


181 Posts

Specializes in CST in general surgery, LDRs, & podiatry.
so monday begins my first round of clinicals for the scrub tech program i am in. although i am very excited about this, i am also scared to death! we have had a month off between semesters and even though i have been reviewing my instruments, positions, and anatomy i still feel as though when i walk into the or i will draw a blank! nightmares of handing a surgeon an army-navy when he wanted a weitlaner, stabbing him with a scalpel blade oh dear heavens what have i gotten myself into?! i really hope i don't screw this up and i want so badly to do this right. so please someone tell me this is normal and that i can do this! thank you!

congratulations!! i remember feeling exactly like you are right now on my first day of clinicals 17 years ago. but - we spent a good bit of the first couple of days on orientation to the facility, and doing paperwork and taking care of preliminaries, so we had time to get adjusted just a little bit to the layout of the place, where things were kept, introduced to the staff members (don't worry - you probably won't remember a single name for a day or so!) and then we got to start scrubbing in on cases. but like some other respondents mentioned, you should never be scrubbed in alone as a student, so there should always be someone right beside you to coach you a bit if you need it.

remember, you know a ton more now than you did when you first walked into the classroom, so give yourself props for that - and don't worry too much. some degree of anxiety is unavoidable - and it should be. you are entering a whole new world where everything you do could be significant in the quality of life of another individual, so yes, it is important. but you wouldn't have made it to this point if you hadn't learned a thing in the process. it's going to be a great change for you - take it one day at a time. take your cues from the staff, anesthesia and the surgeons on how many questions to ask, and when. watch the mood in the room, and the tone of their conversations so that you can tell if it's ok to speak up, or better left alone for now. at the end of the day, sit down and review what you've done, and how well you think you did. if you had some gaps in knowledge, review the cases in your texts right away, take some more notes, and read them over again the next time you know you're going to have a similar case.

get to know your preceptor as well as you can, and use this person as the reference and resource they need to be for you. if you don't get a cooperative and useful preceptor, be prepared to speak up, either to your instructors at school, or the clinical educator on staff that is in charge of your clinical experience. be ready to get out there and scrub in - even if it's just to observe. expect to spend a lot of time at first observing, or perhaps holding retractors, and listen to the conversations during the case - you can learn a lot about what's going on. but - don't let that be the "be all and end all" of your clinical experience. you probably will have evaluation sheets that your preceptor will need to fill out for you for each case, or at least for the day. discuss the results of those evaluations with your preceptor too - the good ones and the not-so-good ones, if there are any.

always eat breakfast!! get there early, be prepared, try to find out the day before what cases or what service you might be working on the following day, and always be prepared for changes in the schedule. that's the one constant in health care of all kinds - things are always changing! be flexible, and take on all possibilities as potential learning experiences.

good luck, and best wishes on your new experiences!! :yeah:

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