My First Clinical Day

August 15, 2015

Hi friends,

I am going to dig deep in the memory vault for this post and talk to you about my very first clinical day. **Please note that any personal information has been changed in this post to protect the privacy of my patients.**

The way my school sets up our clinicals is as followed: you are assigned a group with approximately nine other students, one clinical instructor, and one hospital which you will attend for 8 hours one day a week for 12 weeks. Your assigned clinical day is either a tuesday or a thursday. 

Prior to your day, you will go to the hospital to "pick out" a patient to take care of. The student will need to go into the patients room and introduce themselves as a student nurse and ask if it would be alright if they provided them care alongside their nurse tomorrow. The introduction was the scary part for me because my hospital was predominately Spanish speaking and I am very much White. I had no problem knocking on my patients door and introducing myself, but if they did not understand English I would have a minor freak out. Luckily majority of my patients had English speaking family in the room or I unwillingly just butchered Spanish. 

Following permission from the patient, the student would access the medical record and gather all pertinent information to provide care for them. My school has us write up all medical diagnosis with potential risk factors, any surgical history, pathophysiology on the admitting diagnosis, all medications and interventions, and what our 3 main assessments are for that day. Following the day of care we also write 3 care plans. 

From what I can recall, my very first patient was very kind. They had a great sense of humor and was willing to let me give them a bed bath (a bit awkward when it came to washing the private areas. My patient did not want me to and I of course respected their wishes). The write up for my patient was also not too bad which allowed me to get adequate sleep the night before. 

I think the most difficult part from my first day was keeping up with my nurse and charting an assessment. My nurse was very willing to let me do stuff, but he often would leave without me. I had wanted to see his other patients and experience what it was like, but just gave up and focused my attention solely on mine. 

Charting an assessment for the first time was confusing. I fumbled to complete my head to toe knowing that I had missed parts of my neruo and psychosocial. After re-entering my patients room for what felt like a million times, I sat down to chart. I felt like I did not know correct vocabulary to describe things. I had also noticed that other nurses were charting regular sounds when I had irregular ones. My instructor advised me to chart what I heard and never concern myself with what others are doing. 

The rest of the day went smoothly. My patient was post-op day three and going to be discharged the next day. He/She focused her/his day on gathering belongings and calling family to pick them up. I was fortunate to get a patient who was entirely independent. 

I left my first clinical feeling very confident. My patient and I had gotten along well. Although I stumbled through my assessment, I knew I would get the hang of it eventually. 

What was your first clinical day like? Or what are you most nervous for?

1 comment

  1. Hii. 3rd yr nursing student here.
    My first clinical was in 2nd yr, 1st sem and it was an OB ward. We didn't do charting or any procedures yet, although we did q4 VS and nursing history.
    It was damn scary haha, I mean my hands were shaking a little bit while doing my VS and it took me a little more than 5 mins to complete my VS in one patient. The patient, a middle-aged postpartum mother, asked me about symptoms of fever. I answered and advised her about what to do when someone's having a fever. She was kind to me. I did my nursing history on an 18-year-old PP client who was stuck in hospital due to financial restraints. Her baby was already home but she remained in the hospital.

    What was funny about my first day was that taking VS took reaaaally long since it was all our first time having a patient. Our clinical instructor also found it funny.


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