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Complete Your RN Program

Complete Your RN Program

Share your nursing school experiences.

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Nursing Clinicals

Nursing clinicals are what really get you ready for working in the health care setting. During clinicals, you will spend time working side by side with actual nurses, so you can get a feel for what it is they actually do. Many students find clinicals to be stressful at first. You worry about whether you will make a mistake that could actually harm a patient. Nursing students joke about this (“I made it through clinicals today with out killing anyone!”) but the truth of the matter is that you can find yourself in some very stressful situations.

Mental Preparation
Be prepared for an adjustment to this pressure. It does get better as you build your confidence! Your best approach is to use your common sense. Don’t do anything that doesn’t appear to be safe or that you do not understand completely. Never be afraid to ask questions. If you feel like you are at the bottom of the totem pole and people are looking down on you, don’t. Every single person in the hospital from the Director of Medicine to an X-ray technician started out as a student at one point in their career.

Clinical Skills You Will Develop:

No matter what RN program you enter, the essential core skills will be similar.

Assessment
You will learn to collect and analyze data about a client, the first step in delivering care. Assessment often involve collecting information on a patient’s physiological status, but also may include psychological, sociocultural, spiritual, economic, and life-style factors as well. For example, a nurse’s assessment of pain includes not only the physical causes and features of the pain, but the patient’s responses to the pain—such as an inability to sleep, difficulty eating, social withdrawal, anger directed at hospital staff, fear, or request for excessive pain mediation.

Diagnosis
The diagnosis is your clinical judgment about the patients needs and progress. The diagnosis should involve a holistic view of supporting recovery. In addition pain status, a diagnosis may also include that the pain has caused other psychological, social, or nutritional problems, or has the potential to cause complications. The diagnosis is the basis for your care plan.

Outcomes/Planning
Based on the assessment and diagnosis, you will set measurable and achievable short- and long-term progress goals. This might include moving from bed to chair at three times per day (observable, measurable goal); maintaining adequate nutrition by eating smaller, more frequent meals; resolving conflict through counseling, or managing pain through adequate medication. A follow up assessment plan and goals are written in the patient’s care plan so that all health professionals (including other nurses) caring for the patient can access it.

Implementation
Nursing care is implemented according to your care plan. Care is documented in the patient’s record.

Evaluation
Both the patient’s status and the effectiveness of the care must be continuously assessed, and the care can be plan modified as needed.

Many nursing students worry about whether or not they are getting enough clinical skills. These days, many nursing schools are using clinical simulation labs to teach nursing skills. In the lab students can practice their skills on mannequins that have been specially designed to simulate actual medical conditions.

Next: Step 6 >>

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