Experienced Nurse gives 5 Tips for Clinicals.
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
One of the challenging experiences of nursing school is clinicals. The clinical experience can be very stressful, and if you are not prepared or make a serious mistake, you have the possibility of failing your program. When you are at clinicals, you will be with a preceptor who is already a nurse, and has a lot more experience than you do.
Below is a section written by an RN who has thirty years of nursing experience under his belt. Odds are, if you were with him during a clinical, he has been a nurse longer than you have been alive. He has detailed five tips that he believes are important during your clinicals.
5 Tips for a Positive Clinical Experience
When thinking of a nursing students first day of “clinicals” it’s rewarding that the English language has an appropriate word to describe it—terrifying! Learning from a textbook is one thing, but when you’re required to converse one on one with people who are feeling sick and at their worst, instructing them on the painful things you’re going to do to them, and then poke them with pointy objects, terrifying is wonderfully appropriate.
I’ve been employed as a registered nurse for nearly three decades, and have taught and mentored hundreds if not thousands of students. With this experience, I have formulated five step approach for the new student.
Okay, so you’re petrified. I get it. I was too, thirty years ago, but here’s what we’re going to do.
1. If you’ve never done the procedure before, or if you’re uncomfortable, watch me do it the first time.
2. Second, tell me what you’re going to do, then run through it with me. I’ll tell you if you’re leaving something out. Then do it, and know that I’m right there with you, and if you fail, that’s fine. We all fail at times. The key is jumping back up and trying again
3. Show genuine care and concern for your patients. When they see and feel your heart, they will be receptive and grateful for your care.
4. Be cheerful. Enjoy what you do. You’ve studied hard and your financial livelihood depends on you learning these skills. So find joy in your interaction with your patients and their families. Make the patients experience as positive and beneficial as you can. When they see you enjoying your work, they're a thousand times more likely to react positively to their hospital experience.
5. Lastly, take every advantage of your time to learn. Look for opportunities in every way you can. Learn to see the whole picture of the patient and their family’s needs. Reassure yourself frequently, and approach every patient interaction with a pleasant, positive nature.
Now for my part as your preceptor, here are the obligations I have to ensure you have a positive clinical experience.
1. I am going to be right there for you. If you falter, I will pick you up—no worries. I’ve likely done each of these procedures several thousand times.
2. I’m a positive person. You are going to have a positive experience. Take confidence in this each time you approach a patient.
3. You will see that I enjoy what I do. I would not have stuck with it 30 years if I didn’t.
4. You will finish your shift a better student nurse, happy and fulfilled. If you don’t, I failed.
With all my heart, I wish that all nursing students could have a solid, rewarding, joyful education. Great job on your career selection. When you look back 30 years from now, you will be profoundly grateful for your decision.
Rhett is also a published writer. His website is www.writtenbyrhett.com where you can find other nursing related posts. He has written a novel called "I'll Point to Heaven."
You can buy the book on amazon by clicking here