Are you starting nursing school clinicals for the first time this semester and need some success tips? In this article, I am going to give you a list of 3 clinical success tips and what you should pack in your nursing school clinical bag.
Clinical rotations in nursing school are one of the most interesting parts of nursing school. You will get to work in various clinical settings and meet people who you may work with in the future. Therefore, it is crucial you are prepared for that first clinical day.
Video on Clinical Success Tips and What’s in my Nursing School Clinical Bag
1. Familiarize yourself with people!
This includes the staff and your clinical classmates. Typically during clinical rotations, you will be on a certain floor or unit and will be coming into contact with the same people during clinicals. So, don’t be shy and on the first day introduce yourself to other nurses, clerical staff, and nursing assistants.
The clerical and nursing assistants are very valuable people on each nursing floor because they can help you with finding supplies, charting papers, phone numbers etc. They are the “go to people”! I couldn’t do my job as a nurse without them. Also, form a relationship with the group of people you are in clinicals with because these people are reliable people you can usually depend on. Plus, you will form a friendship with them overtime.
2. Navigate yourself around the clinical site!
It is very intimidating during your first clinical rotation because everything is new and you don’t know how everything works: the place, how to find your way around, where certain supplies are, who knows what, how to find a bathroom or get to the lunchroom.
On the first day, journey around the place by yourself or with friends to learn how to navigate around the building (and don’t be afraid to get lost). Also, if your clinical instructor has a “scavenger” hunt take it seriously because although some students may think it is corny, it is for your benefit. You will learn how to find supplies, where the fire alarms are located, emergency exits, and resources etc.
3. Don’t be afraid of your patients!
As a student it is natural to feel timid when talking with patients. You’re afraid they will ask you something you don’t know or that you will do something that will cause them harm.
Many patients love having nursing students because they get more one-on-one attention than normal. Be confident, ask them questions, and let them know you are a student. Always be courteous and let them know you are interested in learning. You can learn a lot from a patient. Sometimes patients are better teachers about their disease process than the doctor or nurse.
What is my clinical bag?
- Pens: a must-have because you will be using them a lot. Try to have at least 2-4 in your bag (because they will run out of ink or get stolen) and remember to get blue or black.
- Penlight: this will help you practice neuro checks, assess mucous membranes, and is handy when you need an extra light.
- Stethoscope: very obvious to have, but don’t forget to pack it. Here are some tips when buying a stethoscope as a nursing student.
- Dressing scissors (also called bandage scissors): you will need these when opening packaging/medications or changing wound dressings.
- Clip board: this helps you keep your papers organized and in one place.
- Drug, Nursing Care Plan, and Medical Surgical Book: go with what your program recommends…these books will help you with developing your nursing care plans.
- Small spiral notebook: use this to write down things you need to remember while in clinicals.
- Chapstick: an extra thing to have if your lips get dry because in the hospital setting everything is very dry.
- Snack bars or dry fruit/nuts: a must have for those long shifts to help you keep your energy up.
You may be interested in: Complete list of Nursing School Supplies