Tips to Succeed During Nursing School Clinical

These are some tips I wish someone had given me before I had started my nursing program back in August 2014. We jumped right into clinical, there was no waiting period at all. The school I attended has changed this and allows students a little time to get accustomed before clinical rotations begin.

  • Have a positive attitude, no matter what. There will be days when your nursing instructor, the staff at the hospital, a patient, patient’s family, or even your peers make life seem unbearable. Plaster a smile on that pretty little face of yours and get through it. It usually doesn’t matter in the bigger picture.
  • Be prepared. Being prepared helps avoid tire fires. Do all of your pre-clinical work and do not rush through it at the last minute. This is a big confidence booster.
  • If your clinical instructor tells you to do something, just do it. It may seem silly, it may make no sense to you but if you shut your mouth and do it, life will be easier. Oh and do not under any circumstances argue back and forth with the instructor. Just say, “okay” and move on.
  • To go off of my last comment, if it’s something you do not feel comfortable doing (for various reasons, maybe it’s a skill you haven’t learned or you are not supposed to do yet) it’s okay to say that you don’t feel comfortable.
  • Listen to your instructor, do not do any skill you are not supposed to – even if a nurse on staff requests it of you. Oftentimes they are unsure of what you can and cannot do. If you are unsure, get input from the instructor.
  • Be professional at all times. You may have down time to where you can talk to your fellow students, make sure its appropriate. You may work with these people in the future, or you may go for a job at the location in the future. Make sure the staff only remembers favorable qualities.
  • If there is down time, do not stand around if you can help it. Help your peers, help the staff, (STNA, Facilities, ect.), pull trash if you can (yes I have done this). This helps build relationships at the facility, you never know who you may need help from in the future. Make sure they would jump at the chance to help you.
  • If there is an opportunity to learn, take it. You may never get it again. We only see so much during the clinical rotations so make sure you are making the most of it. Remember, in the grand scheme of things… you aren’t even a volunteer. You are paying money to be there. GET YOUR MONIES WORTH!!!  
  • I cannot stress this enough, REMAIN POSITIVE. You will be tired, you will be annoyed, you may even want to cry sometimes. Your attitude is truly everything.

What are your tips and ticks to make it through nursing school clinicals? Do you have any concerns or fears about nursing school clinicals?

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