Tips for the first day of clinical?

Students General Students


Well it's finally arrived - my first day in a real hospital for clinical. I really don't know what to expect or how I can make the most of my day. I'm going to a surgical ward (mainly urology). Any tips for me?? Thanks!


1,078 Posts

Specializes in Trauma ICU, MICU/SICU.

Hi Kathy,

Congratulations!!!! I Love clinicals.

What to bring? It depends if you have a place to keep things like books (drug guide, taber's etc. or not). If you have someplace to keep you could bring Taber's and a Drug Guide. If not, there's always a drug guide and you can ask someone if you don't know a med term. I have a PDA w/ Tabers and a Drug Guied and a few other Nursing programs and I absolutely love it.

Also a stethoscope. A lot of people bring scissors, but I didn't have much use for them in my first clinical rotation. Now that I'm in Med/Surg 2 and do more, I'll bring them. I hate having too much junk so I travel light. Oh, also RN Notes is great and will fit in your pocket.

Relax and enjoy.

not now, RN

495 Posts

Specializes in LTC, med-surg, critial care.

1. Relax

2. If you're not assigned to any one particular nurse or client ask a nurse if you can latch on to him/her and ask questions.

3. Jump right in, if possible. My first day of my first semester our clinical instructor told us "Go help the CNA's" (this was in LTC). If she caught you not helping she pulled you aside and chewed you out. This semester my new instructor walked us through the hospital, told us what he expected from us and let us go.

4. Relax


215 Posts

Well it turned out to be better than I ever hoped -- I worked my buns off and tried not to get underfoot. It took me about an hour to realise that nurses really appreciate students who jump in and do stuff that they are just too busy to do.

Highlight of the night was gaining the trust of a very confused lady who had refused baths and thrown the last two dinner trays at the staff! She reminded me of my Dad who is mentally ill and who gets that way sometimes, so I tried to use some of my old tricks with her. By the end of the night I had her bathed and fed, and I even got to pass her meds because she would only take them from me. Talk about a thrill for a little novice like me! Of course her parting words to me were to tell me to "go and drown myself!", but hey...I saw some progress! lol

I'm so pumped - have sore feet but a real big heart. I know that THIS is what I want to do for the rest of my life!!

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych.


Congratulations on a succesfful first clinical day. Sounds like you did a great job! Keep up the good work!

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