Every university and/or facility will be different from what my recommendations are below. But I have gathered input from my own school and different students that have shadowed me to make up these universal rules for your nursing clinicals.
"As nursing students, you have fresh, nursing knowledge so be proud of it."
But first, let us understand: Why are professors strict during our nursing clinicals?
When you enter an institution, you are the guest. You are a representative of your school and you must represent with pride and confidence. It is also important to remember that in order for you to learn under a hospital/facility, your school has a partnership with them. This means that they have a mutual contract that allows nursing students to learn the ways of the institution and its paid for!
You might be wondering why I added ‘it’s paid for’ from my previous statement. Statistics state that the average cost per new graduate hire is $41,624 (Nurse Economic$, 2007). A facility will cover these costs for a new grad nurse because it benefits them in many ways… the main reason is that they get a new nurse to work for them! Now as a student, you get to learn from a facility as if you were a new grad hire and it may or may not benefit the facility, so the expenses of teaching you is covered regardless. Long story short, as students we should be grateful that we have these partnerships in place.
In no particular order, let’s get started…
Know your Student Nurse Handbook
- Every facility is different and have specific rules. The handbook usually includes what is expected from you, maintaining school integrity, scrubs, etc.
This is so important. Remember… you are a representative of your school! Here’s the run down:
Don’t be scared to do your make-up.
Fix your hair up, not down.
You can get a manicure, but no acrylics.
Murses… keep your beard nice and tight.
Keep your scrubs wrinkle-free and appropriate.
All nature of body cracks should be covered appropriately.
Be on time!
You should never be late. This is pretty self-explanatory.
This is self-explanatory as well. Be respectful to the patients, staff members, and to each other.
Be mindful of your tone and voice. I’ve come across a particular group of nursing students who came into the unit arrogantly yelling as if they’re coming to party, making their presence known so loud that it woke up our patients. This is rude and disrespectful. Don’t do this!
Know what you can/cannot do!
Schools are very particulate and your clinicals are driven by what skills you’ve been checked off on. Some schools will let you do IVs, some won’t. Before getting excited to do particular skill, go to your instructor first! Get it approved and your instructor may do it with you.
Be an advocate!
- Let’s face the reality… As students, you have fresh nursing knowledge so be proud of it. If you come across a questionable nursing practice, bring it to your instructor’s attention. Be confident on what you’re questioning, explain your reasoning, and your instructor will report it to the chain of command.
- This is the perfect opportunity to import what you know into clinical practice. It is during clinicals where you can make correlations and rationales for medical diagnosis. This is the only place where you can practice and understand what you’re doing before you get into the field.
- Let’s face another reality… some nursing students thrive and some do not. Help each other as much as you can.
Finish on time!
- You should never be late with turning in your assignments and required paperwork.
Nursing Economic$ (2007). A Magnetic Strategy for New Graduate Nurses. [PDF] pp.6-11. Available at: https://www.nursingeconomics.net/ce/2009/article020612.pdf [Accessed 27 Mar. 2018].
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