How To ROCK Your Nursing Clinical

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Nursing school clinical is your opportunity to learn as much as possible. This hands-on-experience will provide you with practical knowledge and skills that you can’t learn from a textbook or classroom. Below are my tips to ROCK your nursing clinical:

Be On-Time

Before your first clinical day, take a trip to the clinical site so you know the exact location and amount of time it takes for you to get there. Don’t forget to account for any traffic. Oh, and your Starbucks run! Remember, it’s better to arrive early than late. So, give yourself ample time to get there. This will help make sure you make it on-time for all your clinical days. If you arrive early, use that time to study. Some instructors may send students home who arrive late so make sure you avoid that at all cost.

Do Your Homework

Review content that relates to the clinical site and patient population that you’ll be caring for. For example, if you are doing clinical on a cardiac floor, make sure you have a basic understanding of cardiac conditions, procedures, medications, assessments, etc. Don’t just do this for you, do this for the patient(s) that will be in your care.

Bring Your Nursing Equipment

Be prepared. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment: penlight, stethoscope, shears, drug guide, etc. There is nothing worse than walking into an assessment with your instructor and not having the proper tools to assess the patient. Set out all your equipment the day before your clinical so you’re not scrambling the morning of.

Ask Questions

Clinical is one of the best places to get hands-on, practical experience while under the guidance of instructions and preceptors. This is your chance to ASK questions, literally, ANY questions. If you think there are no questions to ask, then think of the term why. When a patient is going for a procedure, ask why? If their medication dose has been changed, why? And if you can’t come to the conclusion on your own, that’s ok, just ask your clinical instructor or preceptor.

Stay Engaged

It can be tempting to just “hangout” and pretend like your charting to pass time (Trust me, I know). But, this is your opportunity to learn as much as you can. Ask if there are any procedures planned that you can observe. Tell nurses on the unit to get you if there is anything interesting for you to see or learn. If your professor asks for a volunteer, take that chance to challenge yourself and learn as much as you can.

 Show Thanks

If you have a really great clinical experience, I highly recommend writing nice thank you cards to your clinical instructor and the nurses on the unit. This is just a nice gesture that will make their day. It may even make their week. It’s extremely important to show appreciation to those individuals who take time to help guide and mentor you. And remember, each clinical is like an interview, especially on the units you want to apply for after graduation. So, writing a nice thank you card will help you stand out and can benefit you down the road when you’re applying for jobs.

Have a great clinical!!

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