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Clinical rotation jitters


Jochen Sands | Digital Vision | Thinkstock + Scrubs

So, it’s official. This week I became a nursing student doing clinicals (again). This week was my first week walking the halls of a hospital system as a ‘Nurse Practitioner Student’. I must say it was a very eerie feeling (to say the least). I felt like I was back in my diploma program! Here I was (again) sweating bullets over every little detail concerning my participation in nursing ‘clinicals’. The really scary part is the NP program I am in is nice enough to slowly introduce us into this new role by taking baby-steps. This week I simply started an observational experience. So it wasn’t like I was actually required to ‘perform’ any role-specific duties… although it sure felt like it!!!

We are told to wear business casual and our lab coat – what do I wear??

Shoes – I need comfortable business casual shoes! I can’t spend all day on the floors in my tennis shoes or my crocs!

Holy crap! My lab coat. I have to wear a lab coat. Call me crazy, but it was quite surreal to wear the long lab coat.

My name badge – what should it say? What shouldn’t it say? Credentials? No credentials?

These are just some of the ridiculous things I think about. Like I said, it’s only going to get more stressful (readers beware -this is my preemptive warning).

It was also quite surreal to rub shoulders with the physicians, surgeons, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. I honestly had to train my brain to step away from the rigors and responsibilities of bedside care (while rounding on patients) to focus on the decision-making and thought processes of my preceptor (a physician). I need to learn how to start thinking beyond the bedside and develop my advanced assessment and diagnostic skills. I probably expect way too much out of myself this early on, but I feel so overwhelmed with fear it’s honestly indescribable.

How in the world do these advanced health care providers do what they do, in such split-second timing is just awe-inspiring to witness first hand. I never really ‘got it’ when I would round as the bedside nurse. I was focused on my responsibilities and my duties as the bedside nurse (not that there is anything wrong with that!). I didn’t have a real appreciation for the bazillion-and-one things that they have to process in order to make the decisions that need to be made.

Did I mention how terrified I am?

My hope is this fear will turn into gnarling dedication to improvement -otherwise I’m going to fail and fall flat on my face (cynically joking) .

I definitely have to not only step up my ‘game’, but I need to bring my ‘A game’ at all times.

This is going to be a fun semester!

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