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Nursing School Clinical Tips (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ

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    00:01 Welcome to the section of the playlist where I just spout off random advice about clinical. In no particular order.

    00:08 But these are the things that I wish every student knew before heading into clinical.

    00:13 Like I said, just a compilation.

    00:14 Ready, set, go.

    00:16 At some point during the day, preferably on one of the first days of your clinical experience on that particular unit, I want you to ask your nurse if they can walk you through how they go through the chart to gain information on the patient.

    00:31 If they literally just talk out loud while they are actually looking up their patient in the computer, that is perfect.

    00:37 Electronic records are...

    00:40 They're really immense and confusing, and there's a million buttons.

    00:43 But there is usually a method to the madness of sorting through the details that every unit has and every nurse will have.

    00:49 And this is going to be different.

    00:51 Everyone does it their own way, but ask them to help you or talk you through the process that they go through when they are reviewing a chart.

    00:58 This will make it so much quicker for you when you go to actually look up the patients that you have that day or the next day because you kind of know what you're looking for based on that flow.

    01:09 Tip number two.

    01:11 Group your questions.

    01:13 Or at least ask your nurse if that would.

    01:15 .. That is something that would make life easier for them.

    01:18 I often found that it was easiest to give my students a really good, thorough response if we were sitting down together later having a chat versus in the moment.

    01:29 Because usually in the moment I have a running list of things that I need to go in my head and it's like 12 things long and I'm already thinking three steps ahead.

    01:36 So I was rushing through explanations just so that I can kind of get to my next task.

    01:41 So when you have questions, just jot them down on a piece of paper and save it for later so that if it's, I mean, if it's something super small, you can just kind of like... If you're like, "Hey, how do I tell this IV went bad?" Then, for sure, just ask that then, it's in the moment.

    01:54 But for more complicated questions, like "What is TPN and why does this patient even need it?" Those are going to be likely better saved for a less chaotic moment when you'll get a much more robust thought through answer.

    02:08 Three.

    02:09 Ask why your nurse chooses to do things in the order that they're doing them. Why did they go to this patient first when they came on their shift versus another? Learn about how they prioritize and ask them how they make those decisions.

    02:25 Learning the internal process of how to choose what takes place next is so, so important and is something that you cannot learn in school.

    02:35 It is something that only comes through experience and clinical judgment, and this is going to be the exact same thing for communication.

    02:43 Even if you are having a day that is, like, mostly shadowing, you can learn a ton from how nurses communicate with each other and how they are prioritizing tasks.

    02:54 Communication and communicating things to other members of the team.

    02:58 Pay attention to that.

    03:01 Pay attention to how they're giving report? What information do they prioritize when talking to other people? What order are they going in? What do they include? What do they not include? What do you like about their presentation when they're giving report? And what would you maybe do differently as you develop your own style? Soak it all up! You will be introduced to so many different ways of prioritizing and communicating in clinical, which will help you hone in on how you want to do it with your individual style.

    03:28 And the sooner you start paying attention to this, the better.

    03:31 Four.

    03:32 Do not get bullied into being the tech.

    03:36 Now, do not get me wrong.

    03:37 I have learned some of the most helpful things in the world from techs and CNAS, and I am very firmly in the opinion that you can learn something from absolutely everyone in the healthcare system, probably in life in general.

    03:50 But I have often seen nursing students on some units become like a nurse's personal tech, right? Cleaning the patient, emptying the drains, helping feed and bathe them.

    04:00 But doing absolutely, like, no med passes or other skills that they should be learning as a nursing student in clinical.

    04:08 All of those skills, all of those skills that you're learning as a tech, are crazy important. But if you find yourself only doing those tasks, it's a good time to speak up and revisit wanting to learn those one or two things that you prioritized in the beginning of the day.

    04:23 You are your advocate here.

    04:25 Advocate for that well-rounded experience.

    04:29 I know that's kind of hard to wrap your mind around, and it can be hard to do, but I promise you can do the hard things.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Nursing School Clinical Tips (RN) by Elizabeth Russ is from the course Succeed in Clinical (RN).


    Author of lecture Nursing School Clinical Tips (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ

    Elizabeth Russ


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