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Health Sciences

Clinical Tips From First Year Nursing Students

December 10, 2020

I asked my students at the end of their 1820 clinical rotation to share some tips and tricks with their fellow students heading into clinical next term. I also asked them to share some challenges they have come across in clinical during COVID, and how they were able to overcome these challenges. They were excited to share their thoughts and knowledge, even at the end of a long clinical term, and at the end of our last day! Since these students had been through 1810 pre-COVID, they have a unique perspective to share.

This is what they said:

-Ask questions when you are unsure

-Remember to breathe

-Get to know your patients and tasks will become easier

-Trust your assessment skills

-Prepare by researching your skills ahead of time that you know you will be doing. For example, if you know your patient uses the Sara lift to transfer, go over that skill. Utilize your techniques knowledge; remember your steps.

-Make clinical fun: look for learning opportunities; enjoy what you are doing.

-Always but especially during COVID: remember to wash your hands. “If you think you have washed them enough, you haven’t”.

-Masks and eye protection make connecting with your patients more challenging, since your patient is not able to see your face or facial expressions. Enhance your communication; use more non-verbal techniques such as therapeutic touch, massage. For example, apply lotion to your patient’s feet in order to spend more time with them and provide therapeutic touch.

-Because you are not able to see your patient when you come for research, there is more of the unknown on your clinical day. So rely more on interprofessional communication, and talk with the nurse or health care aid caring for the patient that day. Also, this means it is even more important to complete a thorough assessment on your clinical day.

-Things can become stressful, so try to go with the flow, and practice self care.

Post by Kirsten Loewen – Nursing Instructor