There’s always a certain element of anxiety when you, as a nursing student, are about to step onto a hospital floor for your clinical. You feel like you’re walking onto it with limited knowledge and ZERO experience. Last year I had to go in the night before my clinical to prep on my patient and the whole time I would be thinking, “don’t die on me tomorrow…PLEASE, don’t die during my care tomorrow!”
During clinical today, my group started talking about all of the bad things that have happened to nursing students in OUR class over the last year. Here they are:
(The first three that I’m going to list happened to one girl in her first year of nursing school.)
1.) The very first patient that she took care of in her nursing school career had a heart attack within the first hour of her care. Thankfully her clinical instructor was in the room with her. But she spent the rest of the day in the corner of the room as doctor’s screamed questions at her that she had no idea the answers to.
2.) A couple weeks later this nursing student was in the room when the doctor of her patient came in to give her her diagnosis (the patient had come in because of a clot in her leg with no expectation for any big diagnosis). The doctor, who was not even this woman’s regular physician, gave her the diagnosis of her terminal illness, 4th stage ovarian cancer, very quickly and left without saying another word other than they were not going to treat it because it was too late. The nursing student said she spent the rest of that day in tears as she hugged this woman before her family arrived.
3.) The very next week this SAME nursing student witnessed a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) physically abuse a patient. After telling her authorities she spent the rest of her clinical days being verbally abused by this man (who had been fired) who had abused the patient.
To say the least, this girl hates going to clinical and never plans to work in a hospital for the rest of her nursing career.
4.) Another nursing student was heading into a nursing home to do an health interview with an elderly client. She had been told by the client to go ahead and come in the room when she got there so that the client wouldn’t have to walk to the door to let her in. On the day of the interview, she opened the door only to find her patient had passed away in her sleep the night before. She was the first one that had found the patient.
Before today, I thought all of my fears were ridiculous and that they would probably happen to me some day, but not all at once. I guess that’s not even guaranteed. Today was a reality check for me for the world of nursing. We’re dealing with lives here, not just bumps and bruises.