Our very first clinical was interesting to say the least. It was a mix of emotions of being excited that exams have been passed, and nervous to put everything we had learned to work. First off, our clinical instructor was one of the most kind and helpful people I have ever met. She made the experience, in my personal opinion. Secondly, things are completely different from lab, which was almost a shocking adjustment.
Term one, you are expected to know how to give a partial bed bath, change and dress your patient, use the maxi lift and the sit to stand lift (as well as any other mobility aids), have top notch bed making skills while using body mechanics, & help your patient go to the washroom. Basically, you are taking on the role of the care aid as you start out working under their supervision and work your way up to working with them. Our clinical instructor assigned us one resident for the first week, added a second for the second week, and a third for the third week. As we gradually got better and faster with technique, we also practiced time management, and developing plans of care, with new tasks arising by the minute. Some days were extremely busy, especially in the third week with three residents, so we also practiced delegation, and working with the staff as well as working with other students. Fortunately enough, our clinical instructor exposed us to much more than just these basics. Our busy moments were all done before the residents breakfast at 8:30am, as we had to manage to get all 3 residents up, dressed and ready for their day. After breakfast we got a breather & our instructor liked to introduce us to things we would be seeing in future terms. For example we got to watch a catheter change, learn how to work accu-checks and test blood glucose levels, take the monthly vital signs for the residents in our assigned halls, help our patients use nebulizers under the supervision of the LPN, & watch an ostomy change.
We also got to experience our first death, as well as our first fall. The death was something I was not prepared for, and had no idea I would handle it the way that I did. It made me feel very uncomfortable. The facility let us “bag & tag” as they call it, (which I still think is awful to say) as well as clean her up, and watch as rigor mortis sets in. For the other students it was fascinating and “cool” almost, but for me, though it was fascinating, it made me feel very uneasy. It’s something to get used to & I’m glad it happened for the first time while in clinical, as I now know what to expect. The first fall was so sad. A lady from a different facility was getting her hair done at our facility and went to get up from her wheelchair to check her new do in the mirror, & tripped. From a science perspective it was interesting to watch how fast bleeding and bruising can set in to an older adult, but in any case its hard to watch someone get injured in the way she did.
Overall I feel as though our INP instructor prepared us very well with technique, but no one could have prepared us for what it is actually like in the real world. You wont fully understand until you’re actually hands on and in the moment. Clinical really puts your knowledge to the test, and I really enjoyed my time at the facility.
Check out this video of our Practical Nursing Program.