Success in Clinical

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Prepare the night Before

I feel this is one of the most important things you can do! If you have to be at the hospital at 0630 for clinicals, you are going to be getting up early. The last thing you want is to be trying to find a pair of white socks at 0500! The night before, I lay out my full clinical uniform including socks and shoes. I pack my bag and make sure I have all my supplies. Also, I pack my lunch if needed, have a water bottle ready to go, and have something light for breakfast prepped. I even have my coffee pot ready so all I have to do is turn it on. Having everything ready to go will make for a much smoother and less stressful morning!

Eat Breakfast

I am personally not a fan of eating early in the morning! However, I have found that you are busy and it may be several hours before you eat lunch. You do not want to be hypoglycemic at clinicals! A yogurt and banana give me the protein and vitamins I need to start my day and make it to lunch, as well as a big cup of coffee! ūüėČ It also is not to heavy on my stomach and I can manage to eat it early in the morning. If you end up in the OR or seeing a major procedure, you definitely want something in your stomach!

 Arrive Early

If you can help it, you do NOT want to ever be late for clinical. Obviously, life happens, but I always leave early for clinicals. Make sure you know where you need to park before you go to the clinical site. Most places have specific places for students to park. Always factor in possible traffic and the possibility of getting lost finding where you are going if it’s your first time.

Ask Questions

If you don’t know understand a procedure, medication, disease process, whatever it is, please ASK! YOU have to make the most of your clinical hours and try to learn as much as possible. The nurse doesn’t know what you know and don’t know. This is especially important if you are asked to do a procedure you haven’t done before. It’s important that you learn the right way to do things, and also important that you protect the safety of the patient. If you don’t know, ask! If you do know and are feeling nervous, tell your nurse and ask them to stay close. There is no shame in not knowing or feeling uncomfortable! If you don’t feel comfortable with the nurse you are with showing you how, go find your instructor. You are not expected to know everything, you are still learning! So please, ask questions. You will be glad you did.

Be Friendly

Remember to be polite and friendly to everyone you meet. Yes, being a nursing student is ROUGH! We are tired and have a million things on our plate. However, no one wants to listen to someone complain all day, so keep the negatives to your self. When you are done for the day, make sure to personally thank the nurse you worked with. I always make a point to thank my patient as well for the learning experience and allowing me to work with them. Having good manners goes a long way with people.

Hopefully your clinicals will be filled with kind nurses who are excited to teach, but most likely you will encounter at least one nurse who does not want a student. Check out my post on dealing with difficult nurses in clinicals for some ways to make it through! Good luck with clinicals and please let me know if you have a questions! I plan to do a second part to this post where I will share what I bring to clinicals, it will be up soon!

Have a great week!

Check out my posts on OB and Mental Health Clinicals for more clinical information!:

OB Clinical Rotation

Mental Health Clinical Wrap-Up