To become a nurse, you need a lot more than just a classroom education. This is why nursing programs require students to go through a nursing clinical in which they will gain experience dealing with real patients.
Going to your first clinical can be extremely nerve-wracking; you don't want to make any major mistakes, after all. Not to mention that you'll probably feel your instructor judging your every move nearby. The following are a few tips that will help you get through your first clinical and to make it a less stressful experience.
Your Instructors UnderstandDon't forget that your instructors were once students just like you. They too had to go through their first clinical at some point in time, which means that they can likely relate to the nerves and stress that you're no doubt experiencing. This means that you shouldn't be that worried about being harshly judged and you shouldn't be afraid to ask them questions.
Don't Be Afraid of Not Knowing EverythingYou're not expected to know everything yet; after all, you haven't passed your NCLEX yet. In fact, you probably haven't taken your first test at this point. The clinical is not a test, it's a way to challenge you and help you learn.
Use Your Resources
You don't need to remember everything off the top of your head. Bring your normal lab values, head-to-toe assessment cheat sheet, and drug book with you throughout the day. This will allow you to easily look up the medications and normal values of your patients. It will also make it easier for you to understand why certain medications and procedures are being used and what a patient's changing lab values indicate.
Don't Be Afraid of Your PatientYou're there to help the patient, so keep that in mind. If you need to wake them up so that you can take their vital signs, then don't feel bad about doing so. Make sure that you talk to your patient as well. Introduce yourself and explain why you are there. Ask them questions about their day, how they slept, how their family is, etc. This kind of conversation will help put patients at ease with you and they'll appreciate it as well -- hospitals can be boring places to be and most patients will enjoy the attention.
Be ConfidentWhen it comes to dealing with your patients, don't let on how nervous you might be. It's normal to be nervous your first few times -- but patients don't want to know that, especially if you're treating them. If they ask you if this is your first time, redirect the question and act confident.
Work Together With Your ClassmatesCertain tasks can be tough the first time you do them. Be sure to ask classmates if they need assistance throughout the day. Don't be afraid to ask them for assistance as well. Working together is perfectly acceptable as long as all tasks are safely completed.
Remember Why You're There
As nervous as you might get and as unpleasant as one of your patients may be (not all patients are going to be cheerful, after all. Don't be surprised if you have to deal with someone who's in a grumpy mood), remember that at the end of the day, you're there to help people to get better so that they can go back home.
These are a few tips that will help you as you go through your first clinical. To find out more about our nursing program, be sure to visit us at Athena Career Academy to request more information today.