My Clinical Orientation Experience

I had my clinical orientation Tuesday, October 2nd. And, it feels so surreal now. I can’t believe it’s already October. Or, that we’ve reached the middle of the semester. My first semester of nursing school is really flying by.

Orientation day started off as a very busy morning for me. I took a shower the night before, so when I woke up at 0600, all I had to do was brush my teeth, wash my face, and get dressed.I was required to wear the red clinical scrubs for orientation. It was honestly pretty fun being able to wear them for the first time.

I met my classmates for breakfast at Chick-fil-A for 0650. From there, we (a group of 5 including me) carpooled to the hospital because we weren’t quite sure what the parking situation would be like. It turned out that we didn’t need to because there was so much parking available, but it lead to some good chatter anyways.

When we walked into the hospital lobby, we were immediately greeted by our clinical instructor. When all of our classmates arrived to the lobby, we moved as a group to the conference room to start our orientation.

Orientation lasted about four and a half hours long, and it could be broken down to clinical and preclinical information.

My class has 3 different clinical groups, each group goes to the clinical site on a different day. And, one group goes to a different hospital for their clinical site. While all three groups were required to attend the clinical orientation, only the two groups using this hospital for their clinical rotation were required to stay for the preclinical portion of the orientation.

Clinical:

For the clinical portion, we learned how to use the EMR (Paragon) to pull up patient records, medications, and lab results. We were also taught how to use and calibrate the Accu-CHEK. We received our EMR student login information along with the Accu-CHEK scanner login. 

I think that while the clinical portion useful, especially the hands on demonstration of the Accu-chek, it could’ve been handled a little better. We had 17 students and only 3 Accu-chek readers, it took well over 30 minutes for everyone to get hands on experience with the machine when it only took each person 5-7 minutes to run through the actual tutorial.

Lastly, the projector was not focused for the EMR demonstration, and no one knew how to resolve this issue. I thought this was the biggest waste of time. We spent well over an hour and half for this demonstration, and everyone had difficult following along because we could not see what was actually going on in the screen. A lot of people were just falling asleep or getting distracted on their phones.

And, although they were nice enough to provide us with print outs of the different EMR screens and a key of the different menu options, it was impossible for us to follow along with the screen as far as where the menu options were actually located, what secondary options to press, and how to actually access the information (single click, double click, vs right click). We also couldn’t tell which screens were being used for vital information, nor could we follow along for accessing patient prescription. 

I wish that they would’ve provided extra computers like the Accu-cheks, so that we could break into smaller groups for more personal instruction. But, I understand that certain resources are not always readily accessible. 

Preclinical:

I was required to stay for the preclinical portion since this hospital was my clinical site.

I personally found this part to be very important, albeit initially confusing partly due to my clinical instructor’s tendency to go off topic. During this portion, we also receive our clinical instructor’s contact information for emergencies.

From there, we talked about all the preclinical paperwork that would need to be completed and turned in before the start of each clinical day.

Honestly, I was so surprised by the amount of paperwork required for clinicals and the time frame it needed to be completed by. We are required to come in at 1100, at the earliest, on the day before our clinical, to begin our preclinical paperwork. The latest we could stay to complete our preclinical paperwork information is 1600. We need to have our patient’s admission history, past medical history, current hospital and home medication list, clinical log, nursing care plan, and patient pathophysiology paper all filled and completed before 0630 the next morning.

We were also told how to format and organize all of the paperwork into a binder for our instructor when turning it in.

Any preclinical paperwork not finished before the clinical would result in an unsatisfactory. And, for my class’s clinical grading policy, two unsatisfactories would result in a failure of the clinical portion which would then result in a fail for the course.

We were told were to look for the list containing who our patient and nurse would be, and how to find who was on med pass for each clinical day. 

All in all, at the end of orientation, I felt weirdly overwhelmed and excited. 

The amount of paperwork and timeframe to complete is ridiculous. But, I’m very excited to finally be able to meet patients one on one and start the interactive portion of my nursing education. 

Here’s some important take aways that I got from my orientation:

  1. Stay organized with your clinical worksheets and make multiple copies
  2. Set up your clinical binder or folder as soon as possible
  3. Share your clinical instructor’s contact information to your emergency contacts
  4. Eat breakfast and drink coffee before you go to orientation

I hope that my clinical orientation experience gives you some insight on what to expect for yours. :’)

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’m enrolled to take my prereqs in the spring and hoping to apply to nursing school. I’m a very non traditional student with a previous degree and children at home. Could you give me an idea of the time frames for the nursing classes and clinicals. I’m assuming they start pretty early in the morning but I’m wondering what is the latest they will end? I’m trying to figure out if this will even be possible for me. Thanks for all of your info. It has been helpful!

    1. Hi Brandy,

      I’m not sure which schools you’re looking into but the lecture and clinical times will probably change school to school. For my program though, the earliest lecture class starts at 8 AM and typically lasts for two hours, and I will never have to take more than 2 nursing courses at a time due to the way the program is laid out. As far as clinicals though, for this semester, clinical labs were Thursday and Friday from 8AM to 12PM during the first 6 weeks to learn basic skills. Then from there, when we actually started clinicals, I was scheduled Friday 0625 to 1425. Next semester, my clinical schedule is showing 0625 to 1200 (med surg), and 1330 to 1800 (mental health).

      If you can, I would call or email the programs you’re interested in to see how their previous clinicals hours were set so you can have a better idea. Some of my friends in their programs were at clinicals for 12 hours a day.

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