How to Get the Most Out of Clinical (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 One of the biggest complaints I had about clinical when I was in nursing school was I felt like I was learning the exact same thing over and over and over again, and I wasn't expanding my knowledge base very much, making it feel, like, honestly, kind of useless sometimes.

    00:14 But here's the thing I didn't grasp.

    00:16 Nobody knows what you need to know at your clinical experience other than you. Even your clinical instructor has no real idea of the experiences that you have had or need to have because they're in charge of, like, fifteen people, and that is just way too many to keep track of.

    00:33 And if you want the most out of your clinical experience, you are going to have to start advocating for you and your own learning experiences, which very fortunately sounds a whole lot scarier than it actually is.

    00:48 I promise you can do this.

    00:49 And here's how you're going to start.

    00:51 First, I would recommend writing down all of the skills that you are required to learn in your current rotation and all of the things that you see happening around you that you would love to be able to learn from, right? Those are going to be your unit based experiences.

    01:06 We're like, "Oh, you do a lot of that here.

    01:07 I want to learn that" even if they aren't necessarily on your list of check-offs you have to do this semester.

    01:13 And then, when you are assigned a nurse, show them the list and ask if there's any of that that would fit in with the assignment that you guys have that day.

    01:22 There's no need to spend time relearning how to put meds through a g-tube twelve times if you have never hung an IV piggy back.

    01:28 Right? But they don't know that you've never done that unless you show them.

    01:32 And they might think, like, "Wow, I'm going to teach them how to use a g-tube." And in your head you're like, "Oh my gosh, I know how to do this." By showing them the list of "I want to learn these things", it lets them choose new things that are available from your patient pool that you actually want to learn.

    01:48 But don't overwhelm yourself or your nurse.

    01:50 See if you can pick one to two skills a day , so it's not feeling, like, a crazy burden or too much to learn.

    01:57 And hopefully it's, in the perfect world, a recurring task so that you can observe the first time in the morning, right?, and then repeat it throughout the day, maybe try and get a second time when you can actually do it.

    02:07 Because practice really does make perfect here.

    02:10 And when you have done that skill a few times, and you feel a little bit better about it, cross it off.

    02:14 Will you be a master of this skill at this point? Heck no. But you have been introduced to it .

    02:20 And the goal of clinical is to introduce you to as many things as possible.

    02:25 Another thing that you can do is you can ask the nurses if there is something that is unique to this unit that you really should witness.

    02:33 Remember when we were discussing always saying yes to getting pulled into these random "cool" situations? Sometimes you have to ask and advocate to actually get those experiences depending on the unit culture, but it can often be as easy as asking, "Hey, what should I see while I'm here? What should I take advantage of?" And that, kind of, gets the process started and that gets that nurse thinking, "Oh yeah, cool.

    02:55 Let me see what I can find for you." It's not as easy with just going with whatever the flow is to use this type of method where you're being really proactive. But I promise when you are taking charge of your own learning and advocating for new experiences and you're inquisitive and clear with what skills you still need, you will get so much more out of clinical and the nurses that are working with you will appreciate it so much because then they can focus on teaching you one or two things a day versus trying to, like, think, "Oh my gosh, I have to explain everything to this student", which is exhausting.

    03:28 In the next section, we're going to go over a bunch of my favorite clinical tips.

    03:31 I'll see you there.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture How to Get the Most Out of Clinical (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Succeed in Clinical (RN).

    Author of lecture How to Get the Most Out of Clinical (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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