You have read the books and practiced in the clinical labs, and now the day has finally arrived for you to take care of your first real patient.
This may be a time of excitement for you, or one of dread and fear, but there are tips to help you get the most out of each nursing school clinical experience that you have:
Student Nursing Tips
- First and foremost, be kind to the patient. Remember, most patients are not in the hospital because they want to be; they are there because they have to be. Student nursing is all about the patient.
- Have an air of confidence about you even if you do not feel it. Some patients love to have people from student nursing programs taking care of them because they get extra time and attention that the regular staff does not have the resources to provide.
- If a patient begins to question a medication or a procedure that you are about to give, make sure that first you have the right patient by checking the patient’s armband and then graciously say “Mr. Jones, give me a moment to double check on that for you and I’ll be back with you in a few minutes.” This gives you time to double check the chart or consult the correct resources, such as the procedure manual or your clinical instructor.
- If the patient really seems to be uncomfortable, it is OK to ask the clinical instructor to come along with you to make the patient more at ease. It will show the patient that you care about their well being.
- Most importantly, never perform a clinical procedure for the first time without consulting with your clinical instructor. Patient safety is always a first consideration.
- Another tip that can help you get the most out of each clinical experience during student nursing is to briefly read about the patient’s disease process and their medications before you begin your day. This will only take you a few moments, but will be worth your time. Never be afraid to ask the patient questions, say, “Mr. Jones the disease that you have can affect people in a variety of ways, tell me how it affects you.” Or “When you do your bathing are there any special ways that you have that make it easier for you?” The patients will really appreciate the fact that you cared to ask and it gives them a measure of control, which can be important to them.