4 Things You Should Know Before You Start Nursing Clinicals

Nurses who are about to begin their clinicals have a lot to look forward to. This is the culmination of a great deal of work. But, in order to avoid getting overwhelmed, they should know exactly what to expect going in. These four things you should know before you start nursing clinicals will hopefully prepare you for the difficult yet rewarding road ahead.

1. How Nursing Clinicals Work

You will shadow nurses and assist them as often as you can. At the beginning of most programs, you will be assigned one patient at first; then, a second will be added once you get more comfortable. You may be tasked with studying their cases, completing a summary of any abnormal lab values, and writing a nursing care plan. A clinical professor will visit you throughout the day while they make their rounds. They will want to be present if you are trying a task for the first time.

2. Your Potential Rotations

One of the most important things you should know before you start nursing clinicals is what rotations are available. A good nursing program should offer a range of clinical specialties, including:

  • Acute care
  • Emergency room
  • Long-term care
  • Mental health
  • Obstetrics
  • Oncology
  • Public and community health

Depending on your school’s program, you may be able to request a specialty.

3. What You Will Learn

You will learn a lot during your clinicals. All the material you have learned in your studies will transfer over into real-life practice. You will walk away with a far better understanding of the concepts you learned in school. You will eventually learn how to give medications, assess patients, change dressings, give families care, fill medical charts, and juggle several patients during one shift.

You will become familiar with the pace of working in different units. Through this experience, you will grow a better understanding of where you want to take your nursing career.

4. The Length of Your Clinicals

The length of your clinicals will vary based on your school. However, you can typically expect them to be between 120 and 140 hours per semester. You will usually be at the hospital twice a week for up to six hours at a time. Students often say that between lectures and clinicals, they dedicate way more than 40 hours per week to their education.

This is a truly exciting time for nurses, but they also must know how to protect themselves in case they run into legal trouble. Contact Baxter & Associates to learn more about malpractice insurance plans for nurse practitioners.