3 Tips for Surviving Your Nursing Clinicals

NursingJuly 17, 2014

Nursing clinicals are hands-on practical sessions in a hospital or other health care setting that are guided by a nursing school instructor. You get to put what you've learned into practice, and it will open your eyes to many interesting experiences. Your instructors will inform you who your patients are prior to going on the floor. It will be your responsibility to research the diagnosis and find out what needs your patients have.

Here are three tips for making nursing clinicals a bit easier:

1. Research and Organize

Research your patient's diagnosis ahead of time. Your instructor gives you time to do this, and she expects you to come to the floor prepared with a plan. This plan should include what the diagnosis is and what it means, what you need to do for the patient, patient teaching points, and more. It's a good idea to have some questions to ask the instructor, as you are not expected to know everything right away. Make sure to keep all of your research and work well organized. Being a disorganized student makes it more difficult for you and does not make a good impression with your nursing school instructor.

2. It's OK to Be Nervous

Almost any nursing school student you ask will tell you about her nursing school jitters. It's completely normal to feel nervous as you begin your clinicals. You learn new things every day, and your care affects your patients' health and well-being. You may put pressure on yourself to be perfect, which will likely only increase your nerves. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and try to relax.

3. Take Care of Yourself

The best way to provide high-quality care to your patients is to remember to take care of yourself. It can be stressful to work directly with patients for the first time. Take the time to relieve your stress by eating healthy, getting some exercise, sleeping well and taking the time to enjoy some things other than nursing. Making sure to take care of yourself right from the beginning will serve you well as you embark on this highly rewarding and busy career.

The clinical portion of nursing school will become more involved as your studies advance. These three tips will help make sure you're off to a great start.