Every nursing student wants to make a good impression during clinical. This is especially important so that they can maximize their learning experience and develop a good working relationship with their nursing instructors.
Since nursing is a multifaceted and often very stressful, sometimes it can be difficult for students to find common ground with their instructors and experienced nursing staff. Here are five easy steps you can take to make a strong and lasting impression:
Show up to clinical prepared
The best way a nursing student can make a good impression during clinical is to always show up prepared. This may include:
- arriving to clinical on time, every time
- studying material related to the clinical setting
- arriving in proper uniform with ID badge, stethoscope, pens, pencils, sharpie, dry-erase marker, highlighter, notepad, scissors, kelly clamps, pen-light and wrist watch
- reviewing patient history and relevant data, such as lab values, vital signs, diagnostic imaging reports, nurses notes, and doctors notes to gain a full understanding of your patients
Always ask questions
Asking questions allows your instructor and the nursing staff to better understand what your individualized learning needs are. Since everyone learns and retains information differently, it is imperative that you seek additional clarification if you do not fully understand something. Remember, most instructors and nursing staff will assume that you already know how to do something if you do not seek out their guidance and instruction.
Offer extra help to others
Sometimes your classmates and nursing staff may get very busy with their assignments. Be sure to ask what you can do to help. Lending a helping hand can be something as simple as grabbing water for a patient or assisting during an invasive procedure. Either way, by offering help when you have down time, you will surely become recognized as a team player. Just remember that pitching in where you can is always a very good idea.
Remain professional at all times
Professional behavior and expectations thereof is often clearly spelled out in the nursing student handbook, and can also be found in most facility orientation materials. It is very important that you remain professional at all times. Avoid using slang, profanity, inappropriate joking, and personal information during clinical time. This is a great time to be recognized by potential employers, so make sure you are always talking the talk, and walking the walk of a professional nurse.
Demonstrate an eagerness to learn
Finally, nursing instructors and experienced nursing staff love students who are curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn. There is a plethora of learning experiences to be had during clinical, and students who seek out these learning opportunities are most likely to excel in their studies. No matter how you may personally feel about the specifics of each learning experience itself, be sure to immerse yourself in all possible learning experiences so that you will gain more understanding of each patient care scenario.