What To Expect During Your Nursing Clinicals

NursingJune 14, 2021

The nursing programs at Denver College of Nursing will prepare you to take the appropriate licensing examination. But there’s more to becoming a nurse than passing a test. An important in-the-field portion of your education is your nursing clinicals, where you get to take what you have studied in the classroom and apply it in real-world situations. During this critical phase of your education, you will put your classroom knowledge into practice with real patients under the supervision of your clinical instructor in a hospital or healthcare facility.  
Although schedules may vary and depending on your program, a typical clinical rotation usually takes place once or twice a week and lasts between five to eight hours. Nursing students are assigned to a single patient, enabling them to focus on applying the skills they have learned. 
Clinicals give you exposure to different specialties through a step-by-step process. You will often start clinicals in a nursing home or long-term care facility where you will learn necessary nursing skills like bathing and moving patients as well as checking vital signs. Students should prepare by reviewing materials related to their clinical setting. 
Each rotation will depend on the clinical site. If you are doing your medical-surgical clinical, for example, you will review a patient’s chart and create a nursing care plan. Prepare by researching your patient's diagnosis ahead of time and come in with a plan. You may also want to make note of the questions you have for your instructor. Your instructor will supervise your work to ensure you are doing everything correctly, and you will be evaluated on your performance. No one expects you to get everything right from the start; this is your time to practice, learn and make a good impression with your nursing school instructor. You will always have an instructor (sometimes called a preceptor) available to supervise, guide and ask questions.  
Clinicals will become more complex as you continue through your program and as you master more essential skills. You will typically rotate through critical care, medical-surgical, labor and delivery, pediatrics, geriatrics, emergency, and psychiatric. Clinicals often correspond with your class lectures. If you are studying pediatrics, for example, your clinical experience would be in pediatrics. By the end of nursing school, you will be amazed at your progress and your comfort level with newly acquired skills like calculating IV drip rates and interpreting EKG readouts. 
Nursing clinicals are an essential part of your education and can help provide you with the knowledge and experience that will make you a better nurse. Your clinical supervisor is there to guide you and help you as you apply your knowledge and skills to real patients.  
If you are not yet enrolled and are thinking about entering the rewarding field of nursing, the Denver College of Nursing can help you get started on that path. Click here for more information or call us today at (800) 600-6604 and speak to one of our career counselors.