1st semester clinicals..........more than I expected & can handle


I'm in my 1st semester of an ADN program and had my first clinical yesterday. Yesterday was basically orientation and my instructor laid out what she expects of us. Keep in mind that I have only been in nursing school 8 weeks. We are to do a complete (JVD, muscle strength, cranial nerves, cardio, pulmonary etc.) head to toe assessment on our assigned patient , memorize several lab values (my fundamentals teacher told us that was 2nd semester) and are to be ready to do Foley caths, would care and trach care (those 3 will be supervised). Also we have to do charting, prioritize nursing diagnosises and make goals. She said we're not ready for interventions yet which is funny when I think about how much she thinks we are ready for. I'm terrified. Is this typical for 1st semester clinicals? I thought I'd be helping with ADL's and observing.


131 Posts

Im 8 weeks in today as well and I just finished my second complete care plan. We're passing PO meds and we check off for injectables in two weeks. I've done three head to toe assessments and charted vitals. We're not checked off for wound care or Foley insertion yet, but we'll have a full day with the wound nurse and we've been emptying Foley bags since day one. We're transferring and lifting patients, doing blood sugar checks and giving showers and bed baths. We're out on the floor doing things and gaining confidence.

Memorizing common lab value is easy! No one is asking you to make decisions based on that info!


40 Posts

I am in a BSN program so I am not exactly sure how the programs compare...but yes that is what to expect in clinicals. Once you are checked on skills you should be able to go out and do what you learned. Your program should build on the skills as you go, so you will have more experience along the way. Clinicals can be overwhelming, but keep in mind you have the resources of the nurses on the units and your instructors should be somewhere in the area if need be (at least our's try to be). There are several sites to give you templates for shift reports and head-to-toes, try memory notebook it might help with labs and such.


382 Posts

I'm also in my 1st semester of an ADN program and our clinical is the same. We do head to toe assessments everyday, ADLs, vital signs, blood sugars, pass PO medications, do injections, charting, and skin treatments. We are expected to look up any lab values in the chart that pertain to our medications and we need to know about them. We also just finished our 1st care plan and have another one due in a few weeks. My first day of clinical was my first week of nursing school, and we have been doing all of these things from day 1 besides medications/injections and skin treatments, which we started doing 3 weeks ago.

It's stressful, but you get into the swing of things. And honestly I don't feel like I learn much by just observing. Sometimes it is better to just jump right in and start actually doing it. You can observe all you want, but it's very different to actually do something than it is to observe it.


2,723 Posts

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

Sounds about right!

Take a second and think about all the things nurses know and the skills they perform.

They have to train us to be responsible for the lives of others in two years (technically only 19 months in my case). That is a LOT in a short amount of time. There's no time to waste. Things are going to move fast and keep moving fast until you've been a nurse for a year or two. Welcome to the ride!