5 Things to Know About Nursing School Clinicals

Nursing school clinicals provide nursing students with the chance to work directly with patients and to get feedback from practicing nurses. Every nursing program in the country requires that students do clinicals multiple times before getting a nursing degree. Before your clinicals start, you may want to look at what happens during those clinicals and what the school expects of you.

You’re Responsible for Your Supplies

As with other college programs, you are responsible for all the supplies you need while doing your clinical rotations. Those supplies include scrubs, shoes, notebooks and pens. You’ll use the notebook and pen to keep track of the tips that practicing nurses give you and to make a list of what you need to do every job. Retail stores that cater to professional nurses have everything you need in stock. Make sure that you purchase scrubs in the appropriate pattern or color and that you buy shoes that will still feel comfortable after hours of standing and walking.

Working with Patients

Nursing school clinicals mark the fist time that you work with patients. Though you might imagine yourself walking into the room, chatting and taking vital signs, you may find yourself working with some problem patients. These are the patients who yell and scream and those who never seem satisfied with anything done by a medical professional. Make sure that you understand that you cannot please every person all of the time and that you can always turn to one of the nurses on staff for help working with specific patients.

It Takes Time

Even students who excel in their nursing classes need some help when it comes time to do their nursing school clinicals. Students sometimes think that transitioning from the classroom to the field is easy and that they’ll know how to do everything instantly. The nurses watching over you may ask you to put in an IV line more than once or to double check the orders given by a doctor. Instead of feeling frustrated or even angry, keep in mind that these professionals want you to improve your skills and that the more time you spend practicing, the more experience you will gain with those steps.

Long Hours

Nursing school clinicals require that you work long hours and that you maintain a professional attitude at all times. Some professional nurses recommend that students wake as early as three hours before a scheduled shift, which gives them time to shower, get ready and even have a cup of coffee before getting to work. Depending on where your rotations take place, you may find that the facility expects you to arrive and check in 15 to 30 minutes before the shift starts. You may spend up to eight hours working in that facility too.

Several Days Each Week

A common misconception that some nursing students have is that they only need to do clinicals once a semester or that they only need to spend one day working in the field each week. Most nursing school clinicals actually require that you work up to three or four days a week and work shifts that range between six and eight hours. In addition to the time you spend working in the field, you will still need to attend classes on campus too.

Clinical rotations, also known as simply clinicals, serve as work experiences for nursing school students. You’ll have the chance to learn from real working nurses and to work in medical complexes and facilities. Nursing school clinicals typically take place a few times a week and start at the end of your first year or beginning of your second year.