10 pieces of advice you wish you’d gotten before your first clinicals
Kati Kleber, RN
A few pieces of advice from Kati Kleber (aka Nurse Eyeroll) for this stressful experience…
1. Get good sleep the night before. Take a Benadryl or something if you are so nervous that you’re not sleeping (common).
2. Eat something before clinical starts, even if you’re not hungry. Every semester we have a new batch of nursing students, and every semester, one of them always passes out.
3. Admit when you don’t know something. Don’t guess. They all hate that. If you don’t know what electrolyte to watch for a drop after you give 40 mg IV Lasix, then say you don’t.
4. Don’t kiss their butts. They can see right through it like they can see through your white scrub pants. (Wear nude undies, ladies!)
5. PAY ATTENTION DURING REPORT AND PLEASE DO NOT INTERRUPT. If you have questions, wait until they’re done.
6. Always volunteer to do things when they ask the whole group, but give other people chances, too.
7. Don’t complain about classmates, classes or professors to them. They don’t care.
8. Get your stuff done in a timely manner and if you don’t know the best way to prioritize, ask in a way that doesn’t make you look like you just want the answer. “I’m not sure about the best way to go about doing this, or what my priority should be. I was thinking of doing it (blank) way…what do you think?”
9. If you’re working with the staff nurses and techs, be nice. The instructor always comes back and asks us what we thought, and we are brutally honest. If you sat back and watched the tech do 90 percent of the bath, your instructor will find out.
10. View clinicals as on-the-job training. Don’t look any more into it. People get way too wrapped up in being right, proving the instructor wrong, doing things the best. It’s all really exhausting and pointless because once you get out of nursing school, you completely forget all of that. I’ve already forgotten all of my instructors’ names. Accept that some instructors are just jerks and want you to feel stupid, and some honestly care. It’s like that out in the field, too. So go to clinical, learn what you can, take advantage of learning opportunities and go home.
To read more, visit NurseEyeRoll.com.
Learning how to be a great nurse at the bedside while maintaining your sanity at home is no easy task. Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Take Care of Your Patients and Yourself talks about how to realistically live as a nurse, both at home and at the bedside…with a little humor and some shenanigans along the way. Get ready: It’s about to get real, real nursey. You can get your own copy at NurseEyeRoll.com, Amazon or Goodreads (ebook).