Clinical rotations are always exciting and something that every nursing student looks forward to. It is really nerve-wrecking at first but trust me when I say that you get a boost in your self-confidence by the end of the rotation.
When I started my clinical rotation in the medical-surgical department, I was beyond terrified. I did not know how to approach patients and speak to them let alone take their vital signs. But by the end of the 5-week rotation I was confident. I knew what I had to do and I wasn’t nervous or anxious to go see my patients. I loved that I got to learn so much every rotation and the interaction with every patient was a very humbling experience.
So here is what you need to keep with you during clinicals:
Stethoscope– I use Littman classic and I love it. You can heart the heart and lung sounds crystal clear.
Foldable clipboard– this one is a must. While on rotation, you cannot keep a backpack with you all the time and so a foldable clipboard comes in handy because it fits perfect inside the scrub pocket.
Comfortable shoes– since you will be on your feet most of the time, invest in a good pair of comfy sneakers. I love memory foam because they help relieve the pressure off my feet.
Pen light– as students we are expected to know how to do a full physical assessment and a pen light will be used during visual assessment of the eyes.
Shear scissors– they come in handy especially when administering oral medication and you cannot open those medication wrappers (speaking from experience LOL). But they’re used to cut clothing quickly and safely off a patient.
Apart from all that, remember to get a good nights sleep before the rotation. Have a high protein breakfast and stay hydrated. Go over any objectives that needs to be completed before the rotation as per your course syllabus. Review concepts and don’t worry if you don’t know everything because we are all learning and most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions!
I have compiled 10 test taking strategies after practicing HESI quizzes to prepare myself for the exit HESI exams. Most of them were taken from the HESI test-taking tips and strategies on evolve that have helped me.
Usually your first answer is correct. Do not change your answer or look too much into the question. Have confidence in your initial response to an item because it more than likely is the correct answer.
Read the question carefully before looking at the answers and eliminate all the incorrect answers to narrow your choices.
After you have eliminated one or more choices, you may discover that 2 of the options are very similar. This can be very helpful, because it may mean that one of these look-alike answers is the best choice and the other is a very good distractor. Test both of these options against the stem. Ask yourself which one completes the incomplete statement grammatically and which one answers the question more fully and completely. The option that best completes or answers the stem is the one you should choose.
Because few things in life are absolute without exceptions, avoid selecting answers that include words such as always, never, all, every, and none. Answers containing these key words are rarely correct.
Look for answers that focus on the client or are directed toward feelings.
Be alert for details. Details provided in the stem of the item, such as behavioral changes or clinical changes (or both) within a certain time, can provide a clue to the most appropriate response or, in some cases, responses.
Begin studying by setting goals. Make sure they are realistic. A goal of scoring 100% on all exams is not realistic, but scoring 85% may be a better goal.
Anxiety leading to an exam is normal. Reduce your stress by studying often, not long. Spend at least 15 minutes every day reviewing the “old” material. This action alone will greatly reduce anxiety. The more time you devote to reviewing past material, the more confident you will feel about your knowledge of the topics. Start this review process on the first day of the semester. Don’t wait until the middle to end of the semester to try to cram information.
Rest is essential to the body and brain for good performance; think of it as recharging the battery. For most students, it is better to spend 7 hours sleeping and 3 hours studying than to cut sleep to 6 hours and study 4 hours.
Read every word of each question and option before responding to the item. Glossing over the questions just to get through the examination quickly can cause you to misread or misinterpret the real intent of the question.
Time management is very important. Pull out the planner and write down all the deadlines for assignments, tests, exams, etc.
Try to limit going out on weekends if it is not necessary and instead catch up on readings and assignments.
Go into class prepared which means do the required readings before attending the lecture.
Do not put off any assignments till last minute. Make sure to take 5-10 minutes break after every 40 minutes.
Take some time for self-care even if it is one hour a day. You need your sanity.
Do not try to learn everything the day before the exam. YOU WILL FAIL. Review material after every lecture and start studying a week before the exam dedicating at least 1-2 hours a day with breaks in between.
Use the Saunders NCLEX-RN Examination review book. Even if you have not covered the topics, read the Q&A and the rationales. Spend 15-20 minutes few times a week or more depending on your schedule.
Learn to prioritize and stop procrastinating.
You need sleep. Try to sleep for at least six hours a day. Give your brain a break!
Go to tutoring or hold group study sessions with your friends.
This is what got me through my first semester and hopefully will get me through my entire nursing program. Of course everyone has their own way of learning and doing things so as always feel free to leave a comment down below with whatever worked for you 🙂