Clinicals: The good, the bad, the ugly

I remember my first clinical I was absolutely terrified and thought that everything I did may kill the patient.  What if I take the BP and he loses feeling in his arm?  What if i take their temp and they start aspirating?  What if they stop breathing while i’m in the room?  Now days I am much more comfortable, but their are still days I leave feeling very inadequate.  Recently I received some advice from an amazing nurse that I was working with.  He told me that if you look at the days when you go home feeling upset or bummed it usually is not the events, but the way you reacted to them.  I think that there is a lot of truth to this statement.  However if you go home feeling like you need to change careers you are not alone.  In fact A LARGE PART OF YOUR CLINICAL EXPERIENCE IS BASED ON YOUR 1. INSTRUCTOR AND 2.YOUR ASSIGNED NURSE.  I had an instructor one semester of nursing that absolutely belittled everyone.  Including me for absolutely no reason.  I would get yelled at on the floor, I was told how inadequate I was numerous times and at one point I was told I smelled bad.  (I was probably sweating so much from her breathing down my neck).  Anyway I have always been a person with a kind of resolve to not quit, not this semester though.  I called my grandma and best friend and told them both that I was quitting nursing school and going back to business school.  I ALSO CRIED. I am a man and never cry.  My friend reassured me I was a good student, but every clinical that semester I literally dreaded going.  I had no confidence in myself to even hang a bag of fluid.  I ended up receiving a B instead of the A I was told I had 2 weeks prior to grading.  Going in to the next semester I was absolutely terrified about anything to do in the hospital BUT THIS TIME… GOD SENT AN ANGEL.  In the form of the best clinical instructor I could ask for.  She continually reassured me how great I was with patients and how great of a nurse I would be.  One particular day after I confided in her about some previous experiences she said this, “Never let anyone take your confidence from you again, you are an amazing nurse”.  What that did for me, she will never know.  MY POINT IS THIS: WHAT CHANGED IN BETWEEN THE SEMESTERS?  Nothing really except for my instructor.  I learned never to put too much stock into the opinion of one person.  The truth is that this is extremely hard to do when the comment comes from someone in authority or someone we look up to.  So I say if you are having a bad clinical don’t let it get to you.  There are many factors besides you that control your clinical experience. You will be a great nurse one day.  It’s not always your fault, hold your head high and press on.  You will encounter a thousand nurses and superiors in your life they all may not like you.  The important thing is that you like yourself and react in a way that you maintain your dignity.  Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.  Whatever you do don’t run away.

-dontRNaway

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