8 Thoughts All Student Nurses Have At Clinical
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8 Thoughts All Student Nurses Have At Clinical

Taking vital signs one patient at a time.

8 Thoughts All Student Nurses Have At Clinical

Dear reader,

Whether you're a nurse and you already get it, a curious onlooker searching for enlightenment or a pre-nursing student awaiting the beginning of your program, you should know the life of a nurse is anything but glamorous. Clinicals every week will leave you dirty, tired and wondering how you made it out alive. These are some of the thoughts and challenges that students knee deep in nursing school are faced with on a daily basis as we explore the uncharted territory of clinical.

1. I have no idea what I'm doing.

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The first time you go onto the road in driving school you're pretty much put behind the wheel and just told to go (it's a miracle that not more new drivers are dead). Clinical is a similar process. You get oriented, then you're given a patient and told to go for it. Granted, you're plenty prepared and supervised and you can always ask for help, but it's still an extremely daunting task to be handed your own patient to care for all by yourself.

2. What is that smell?

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Hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, doctor's offices, etc. They all have one thing in common: a variety of smells. You're never sure on clinical days if you're going to leave smelling like roses or like urine. The best part is that until you desensitize and the smell is no longer so overpowering, you have to keep a poker face and act like nothing is out of the ordinary while your nostrils scream at you.

3. You want me to do what?

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F03%2F06%2F635929020823532917-446438178_Tim-Meadows-as-the-principal-in-Mean-Girls-I-cant-do-this-GIF.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=685&h=b8867a3737b4d40014bfa7061de05127abbf63d9edfa280f89f21ef8b1af88b3&size=980x&c=321430400 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F03%252F06%252F635929020823532917-446438178_Tim-Meadows-as-the-principal-in-Mean-Girls-I-cant-do-this-GIF.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D685%26h%3Db8867a3737b4d40014bfa7061de05127abbf63d9edfa280f89f21ef8b1af88b3%26size%3D980x%26c%3D321430400%22%7D" expand=1]

There are many times where nursing students are asked to handle a task that's simply out of their comfort zone. On these occasions, you learn very quickly how to ask for help and admit you don't know how to do something. Usually, the people around you are more than willing to help you out and show you what to do—and you get to learn a lot of new techniques and tips along the way!

4. I don't think that's normal...

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Perhaps the most important aspect of clinical is getting comfortable doing assessments, seeing new cases and learning what is to be expected and what is abnormal. You learn how to respond to health emergencies, how to keep calm and collected when faced with unsightly experiences and most of all, how to recognize a problem and act to fix it.

5. I think I'm getting the hang of this... I'm a real nurse!

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F03%2F06%2F635929022195110829848036944_tumblr_nixhcxzHh91t9va0vo1_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=755&h=7dec7bce15ddaf9e65c947e444fc830d6ac6adc2d86f9927867e768094121001&size=980x&c=2589124798 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F03%252F06%252F635929022195110829848036944_tumblr_nixhcxzHh91t9va0vo1_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D755%26h%3D7dec7bce15ddaf9e65c947e444fc830d6ac6adc2d86f9927867e768094121001%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2589124798%22%7D" expand=1]

The first time you feel like you're finally in control or you see something particularly interesting is a turning point. It's when a nursing student can step back and see how much they've learned in real time and take a moment to just say, "man, I'm awesome!" These moments are definitely one of the best aspects of clinical.

6. Just kidding, I still have no idea what I'm doing.

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Until inevitably, you're once again thrown into a crazy scenario and reminded of all the things you still have to learn. After all, you're just a student and you can barely remember to put on your name tag at 4 in the morning. You've still got a long way to go.

7. Five rights, five rights, hand hygiene...

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You've heard all the horror stories about medication administration gone wrong and nosocomial infections and you're determined this will not be you. You wash your hands obsessively, quadruple and quintuple check the MAR on each right and pretty much obsess over isolation precautions. You may seem a little paranoid, but you know at the end of the day that your patients were safe in your capable, student nurse hands. And hey, good habits now will carry over into your career!

8. This is so cool.

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At the end of the day, you wouldn't trade your clinical experiences for anything. The gross, the smells, the wrinkles and the exhaustion are all just a testament to how much you're learning every day. Your patients need you, and nothing compares to the feeling of being able to care for them effectively and get glimpses of the amazing nurse you're going to be one day.

Good luck, and happy clinical!


Bailey Konold, SN-BYU

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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