I still have a lot to learn, but for being in my first semester of nursing school, I’d like to help out the incoming nursing students going into their nursing school this upcoming Spring semester! Here are my top 5 tips to being successful in clinical while in your first semester.
1 – Time Management
Please ALWAYS wear a watch. There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the time and needing to ask someone. You need to be prepared, and usually being in complete uniform includes wearing a watch.
Your professor should give you an idea of when you should be completing your charting and when you should be getting your work done with your assigned patient(s). For example: bathing, ambulating, oral care, turning, feeding, emptying foley’s, procedures, etc. If you are on top of those tasks, then you will have more time to chart and do any paperwork you need to finish before your shift is over with. I also like to have extra time to help out my RN or CNA with any help they may need with their other patients.
2 – Clipboard/Binder
I was using a clipboard that would fold in half to keep information confidential, but I have found it to not be as useful for me. One, the clipboard would fold my papers, and two, it was hard to keep track of my papers. I switched over to a 1″ binder to hold my medication references, and to hold other documents I need to fill out to turn in to my professor.
Some of the upperclassmen still use their clipboard, and don’t have a problem with the papers folding, and still feel organized even with more than 1 patient. I will soon be taking on 2 patients, so I feel it would be best if I switched over to a binder
3 – Pen/Pencil/Penlight
Just have these… you need them for recording information, and you will need your penlight to complete your head-to-toe. You can buy disposable pen lights online. I started off using a pencil to complete paperwork that was to be turned into my professor just because I was still learning, and I could erase my mistakes. I also just recently bought erasable pens because writing in pen looks neater.
4 – Eat, Hydrate, and Pee
Not so much an organization tip, but more so time you should be dedicating to your own self care. Nurses are notorious for holding their urine, and notorious for UTI’s. Also, drink something and eat something, because you need to be awake and ready for whatever patients you will have that day and you have to be completely alert.
5 – Always prioritize
Your patient comes first, not your charting. If you are on a tight schedule to get your charting done, it is important that you let your professor know you had to help your patient, and that your charting might be in a little late. They will be understanding. Safety always comes first. Although, it is okay to say “no” to certain tasks because your charting is a priority. You are not the only one on the floor, and there are plenty of other people that can be asked. Don’t be taken advantaged of!
Hopefully these tips help you going into your first semester. It definitely is a nerve-wrecking experience, but with practice, and more experience, you will learn to organize yourself with ease. Also, I can’t stress this enough… get your CNA certification before entering your nursing program… knowing those CNA skills really helped me!
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