Be Prepared for Clinical Rotations
It is important to make a good first impression during clinical rotations. Be sure that you know where you have to be. I always suggest taking a trial run and getting familiar with either the public transportation route and schedule or the driving route and parking options. You want arrive a few minutes early in the proper attire with all required equipment and a positive attitude. Also, take some time to become familiar with the population you will be caring for and the most common diagnoses and medications. Professors and mentors will appreciate you dedication and remember it throughout the semester.
Seek Out Opportunities
Usually, you professor will assign you to either a nurse or particular patients. Get to know the staff and let them know you are there to learn and willing to assist in any way possible. When a preceptor sees an ambitious student, they are more likely to offer to teach and seek out training opportunities for you. If another nurse is performing a procedure, ask if you can observe or assist. Nurses are usually glad to have an extra pair of hands to help out and most enjoy teaching. Making a positive impression can also increase your potential for being hired on as a nurse once you have completed your training and passed the NCLEX-RN exam.
Many new nurses have difficulty managing their time and prioritizing care. During your clinical rotations, you have the opportunity to work on these skills with guidance from trained nurses and your instructor. Take the time to ask them how they would manage their day or which tasks they would focus on first.
Respect Team Members
You are here to learn, and so always make sure that is your priority. Sometimes you will have to deal with difficult personalities or complete a task that you do not feel is as important, but remaining respectful and positive is essential. For example, one of the nurses on my unit asked a student to make a bed and the student replied, “I already know how to do that we did that last semester.” The student walked away and did not assist the nurse. We were all shocked at her poor attitude and lack of care. We stepped in and helped the nurse as did another student, That other student was respected by the staff and offered many more opportunities to assist with procedures. That one action can really make or break your opportunities, so always think about how you can be helpful. If you find yourself standing or sitting around, get up and find a way to help or ask the staff some questions. You have a limited time on the units so be sure to use every minute to enhance your skills and knowledge. If you develop bonds with the staff, they will gladly assist you throughout your training and in the future.