Your first 'bad' clinical day

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I'm not sure if you all remember your first really bad chaotic unorganized clinical day where everything seems to go wrong. I have a feeling I'll never forget today. It was such a mess. I did things today that were so dumb I never plan on fessing up because I'm so embarassed. I didn't harm the patient or even come close...I was just a complete disaster.

So anyway...I think it would be amusing for us all to fess up to the goofiest things we have done in clinical. I'll go ahead and start by listing mine...

-took oral temp with a rectal thermometer

-dropped one of the pt's pills in the garbage can as i was about to hand i to him... (instructor was not happy)

-spiked my ivpb with primary tubing and primed it

-pumped up my blood pressure cuff all the way before realizing my stethoscope was not on his arm (still not sure how this was even possible for me to forget)

Ok so that's enough for me...let's not be judgemental here :) I'm sorry if this post has been done before.



z's playa

2,056 Posts

My pt had MRSA and CDIFF isolation and we had precautions.

I took her milk carton and walked out of the room with it a few feet. I felt AWFUL! :uhoh21:


Imafloat, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,289 Posts

This is so embarassing. There was no change in something, I can't even remember what. It looked like the nurse ahead of me had charted no D. I assumed it meant no difference, you know how everyplace has their own way of charting. My instructor was checking my charting and she said "what is no D?" I said, I think it means no difference, because it is the same as it was last time. My teacher then laughed at me and said that it wasn't a D it was a triangle for Delta. I felt like a dummy, LOL.

My worse clinical day had nothing to do with me though. It was a patient who had VRE so I had to do the mask, gown, and gloves everytime I went in her room. She thought it was fun to make me run errands for her, more cream for her coffee, etc... Her sister was also there who thought she knew everything about the medical profession. The patient needed her meds fed to her with pudding. The sister told me that I should mix all 8 pills into the pudding and feed it to her that way to make my job easier. I told her I wasn't allowed to do it that way and she got all huffy and said she was only trying to help me and she didn't understand why I couldn't do it her way. I explained to her that if something happened and I had to leave, or if I spilled the pudding that I needed to know what meds her sis had taken. She still wasn't satisfied, but she finally started being nice to me towards the end of the day. I was proud of myself for making it through that day, because keeping my cool is something that I am working really hard on.

z's playa

2,056 Posts

This happened today. I was sitting with a pt during my volunteer duty today and since we arn't allowed to look at the chart as volunteers..I had no idea if he could drink unassisted and no nurses in sight except for a PCA who said he could. So I gave him an apple juice with straw...I looked over 5 seconds later and he was sputtering with apple juice coming out his nose ! :o

Ends up the PCA was wrong. Lesson: Wait for the nurse...even if the guy is BEGGING for juice.

Not a clinical but man did it touch home.



215 Posts

In psych placement (community) I had a pt who was needing help to remember what day it was so he could remember to take his meds each day. Basically he was not taking enough meds to keep him out of hospital and was getting to the end of his supervised medication period. So I suggested that he go to the store next door every afternoon and check the date on the newspaper, and then come directly home and take his meds from the right bay in his dosette box. I said that not only would this be helpful to help him remember the day of the week, but it would also give him a great opportunity to exercise everyday.

WELL...*seemed* like a good idea! But the next day when I arrived to check on him he said, "great idea about going to the store! I found the liquore

store and now I'm DRUNK DRUNK DRUNK!! Yipeeeee!!"

Sigh.... back to the drawing board :rolleyes:


1,062 Posts

Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections.

I was very lucky not to have a horrible day in clinicals until the end of my program! But it was horribly embarrassing. It started out by the charge nurse having a problem assigning the 3 of us nursing students to nurses on the unit that day. They were short staffed (gee, imagine that) and had a lot of floats and travelers they wouldn't put students with.

I ended up being assigned to the old bitty that HATED and DESPISED nursing students. Even the day and noc charges were looking at one another with regret and shaking their heads. I had been warned about this particular RN by a student who had been unfortunate enough to have been paired up with her the previous semester.

So the day starts out terrible. We are supposed to take 4 patients all on our own and be responsible for all care, while the RN shadows us. She starts out by telling me that she will GIVE me ONE patient and then I can "help" with her other 6. Nice. So I go to give Nystatin later that morning and I'm shaking it up like a good little nursing student because that's what the directions say. Well, I guess whoever used it prior to me didn't replace the cap very well because the cap came off and the medication flew all over the room, including the little old lady who was to receive the Nystatin, her roommate (who was not supposed to get the medication...LOL) and all over my whites.

It's all over the floor, dripping off the little old lady's which she stated, "Dear, why is it raining in here?" (yeah, she was a tad confused and very hard of hearing and seeing). Her roommate is ticked off because she had just cleaned up in the shower in anticipation of her discharge home. As I'm wiping it up off the floor, the patients, my head, the beds, etc. the nasty RN walks in and just looks at me with utter disgust. I kind of laughed (I am VERY clumsy and have learned to laugh at myself) and she just snorted and walked out of the room.

Then, sometime later, I was supposed to give a patient morphine IV. I drew it up and then took a saline flush in with me just in case I needed to flush it. The patient had NS running at TKO so I didn't need the flush. I administered the medication after doing my checks and then walked out. I bent over to adjust my shoe and felt this wetness on my leg and pocket. I realized that the plunger on the saline flush had been depressed and the fluid had leaked out on my uniform. All of a sudden, I smelled this weird smell and realized that I had given the patient saline and the morphine was now all over my whites....UGH.

So I had to go back to the RN and explain the situation. It sounds horrible reading over it but it was such a chaotic day on that floor with nurses taking 8 patients, etc. I didn't do things as I should have because I was flustered, etc. but I learned my lesson. Now I take a deep breath and think things through no matter who is around me and what kind of day I'm having. I'm lucky I realized my mistake and that it wasn't something life-threatening.

Everyday in my LTC clinicals was a bad one because I felt helpless to change the way things worked around there. Not enough help and too many residents. It was sad. I became very attached to my two little patients and kept going back for a visit all through my second semester of school.

Melanie :uhoh21:


583 Posts

On my very first clinical day, I brought my patient's dinner tray out and as I was trying to get it on the cart, it spilled all over me and the tray and plates crashed to the floor. So loud. Every stopped and clapped.

Turns out he'd eaten everything but the fish chowder and coffee. I almost cried!

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