Clincials serve multiple purposes for student nurses. On one hand, you’re there to learn and make a grade for your class, but on the other hand, you are also making an impression on potential future employers. Even if you don’t intend to work on the floor you’re doing clinicals on, you may be able to gather good contacts and references to help you later.
So here’s some advice for student nurses completing clinicals:
If you’re on time, you’re late. Seriously though, if your instructors tell you to show up 15 min before the start time, or even if they don’t, show up a little early. Being late can get you dismissed from your clinicals and possibly fail you. Even if it didn’t, showing up late will make you look unreliable to the nurses working on the floor you’re doing clinicals on, and you won’t get hired there because of it.
This is also a good habit to form early on. When you have a job you’ll likely want to show up at least a few minutes early before the start of your shift. You don’t want to be the person everyone has to wait on to give report and go home.
It’s likely you’re not a perfect nurse at this point, and that’s okay. You’ll want to make up for your lack of perfection with being professional, polite, and performing with gusto. Make it appear like you aren’t miserable to be learning your future profession.
Everyone despises laziness, even lazy people. If anyone needs help, offer your assistance. If you aren’t busy at the moment, see if other nurses or students have anything you can help with. This will go a long way and the staff will love you for it, and it could help you get a job when you graduate.
You’re here to learn, and asking questions when you’re unsure is the only appropriate option. If you don’t, you could make a horrible mistake and hurt your patient, or you could come across looking arrogant and ignorant at the same time. It is expected that you will have questions since you are learning, and it will also make you look interested, which is a good thing.
My instructors used to make us research our patients the day before we arrived, and we had to know all of their medications including side effects, and form a plan of care, etc. etc. That might seem ridiculous but it will help to cement knowledge for you as a learner. Plus, this way you won’t show up without a clue of what is happening.