5 Things Nurses Need to Know Before Starting Clinical Rotations

Picture of nurse holding patient's hand under words 5 Things Nurses Need to Know Before Starting Clinical Rotations

Insider tips for student nurses about to start clinical rotations

You’re about to leave the classroom and start clinical rotations. It’s both a huge accomplishment and a source of anxiety for many nursing students. While there’s no magic formula that will make this transition seamless, we’ve gathered a few helpful tips from experienced nurses for starting clinical rotations right.

Carry a notebook that fits in your pocket

You will spend a lot of time writing things down on your clinical rotations. Things happen quickly and it’s important not to forget essential information. Whether you’re noting instructions or writing things down for your case presentations it’s good to have a place to keep it all. A small notebook like this one is a student nurse essential.

Know your normal lab values before you begin

The internet and NCLEX study guides are full of tips and tricks for learning your normal lab values. Whatever method you choose, you’ll have a huge advantage if you memorize your labs (and what they mean) before you start clinical rotations. Of course, thanks to technology you can look these up if you’ve forgotten something. Still, it will save time and make you look competent and professional if you know your normal lab values by heart.

You’re living in the fast lane now

Things move quickly in the hospital. You’re going to have to do everything you learned how to do in school faster, while still providing quality care. It may be overwhelming at first but remember that every nurse has gone through the same thing. It takes time to learn to chart quickly and pass your medications in the most efficient order. With persistence and practice you’ll get there in the end.

Start clinical rotations with your best foot forward

We’ve talked before about the importance of choosing the good footwear. Before you start your clinical rotations invest in few good pairs of shoes. Having several pairs to switch between will help prevent bacteria and odors becoming trapped in the foot bed. Like Cinderella, you may have to try a few brands before you find your perfect fit but we like this pair from Reebok.

Be prepared for your clinical rotation

Before starting a new clinical rotation deal with any potential logistical details well in advance. This means confirming any important details, like location address and hours. It also means purchasing the appropriate attire. If you don’t have a student uniform, place an order for scrubs and make sure that they meet the standards set by your school and your clinical placement. After you’ve taken care of these practical matters, spend some time reading and reviewing any relevant medical literature.

Enjoy the experience

There are some great things about doing your clinical rotations. As a student nurse you’ll only a have few patients at a time, something you’ll appreciate later when you’re working a whole floor. You’ll also get to experience many different medical disciplines and you might be surprised to find out where you fit. Your clinical rotations can be an exciting period of exploration and professional development. Enjoy it while you can.

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