Making the most of Clinicals Part 2: You're on stage-Make a good first impression

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The goal of this article is to help the student to be aware of their surroundings, to know that they may be observed by others as they go through clinical rotations. This can be used to the student's advantage for future networking and teamwork building skills.

by nursefrances nursefrances, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, Tele. Has 6 years experience.

Making the most of Clinicals Part 2: You're on stage-Make a good first impression

Have you ever been to Disneyland?

I know. What does Disneyland have to do with clinicals?

I enjoy going to Disneyland and have always been impressed with the excellent customer service that one will experience there. At Disneyland, all employees are "on stage" when they are out on the grounds, always performing, if you will, for the customers. It doesn't matter if they work as a janitor, work at the snack bar, or as one of the characters. All employees that are in the public eye are "on stage".

How can you use this information to help you as a nursing student?

By remembering that when you are in clinicals, you are on stage. This is your time to shine. This is your time to be a team player and work alongside the staff to help the patients, while you are learning and going through clinicals.

When I was in my last quarter of nursing school, I was on a telemetry unit. I already knew the above information and used this to my advantage. I worked hard and helped the nurses and CNAs when possible. I tried to go the extra mile and show that I wanted to be the best nurse I could be and that I was teachable.

I was fortunate to be hired on as a new grad nurse on this telemetry unit. I like to think that what I did in my last quarter of nursing school helped me to get this new grad job. Of course there is balance with this. You don't want to look like a kiss up or overly anxious. Then you will just look creepy or like a goody two shoes. (I'm joking.)

All kidding aside, you want the staff to know that you are dependable. Do your best and be a team player. All staff on the floor are important and have the same goal of caring for the patient: nurses, RT, PT/OT, dietary, cleaning staff, etc. During my clinical rotations, I would appreciate what they did for the patients and tried to show my appreciation.

For instance if I could help get something for the nurses or CNAs, I would. Occasionally, I would thank the cleaning crew for their services and compliment them. It is much nicer working in a clean environment. If you do these types of things for the staff, when possible, they might remember you too and if you need a favor they may be more willing to help you. This is a good habit to have wherever you work, having the "I got your back" attitude.

In conclusion, I want to remind you that when you are going through your clinical rotations, you are being watched: by staff, by patients, by your instructor. Perform with this in mind. Make a good first impression. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Remember, you are on stage. Shine on.

Making the most of Clinicals Part 1: Turn negative experiences into positive learning

Making the most of Clinicals Part 3: Building a good rapport with patients

nursefrances is an RN specializing in Telemetry and Opthalmology. She has been a Christian for 24 years. She is also active in her church as a worship leader when time permits.

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6 Comment(s)

kenyacka

Specializes in n/a. 91 Posts

Very true! I'm a CNA and students can be a huge blessing for us sometimes. Other times, they turn up their noses and act like they're better than us. Those are the ones I always reallllly hope don't get a job on our unit. Just fyi... on our floor, our manager always discusses the candidates with the staff... from RN down to housekeeper. He also values our opinions. Treat every time you step foot in a hospital like it's a job interview, because really... it is. :)

nursefrances, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, Tele. Has 6 years experience. 7 Articles; 601 Posts

Very true! I'm a CNA and students can be a huge blessing for us sometimes. Other times, they turn up their noses and act like they're better than us. Those are the ones I always reallllly hope don't get a job on our unit. Just fyi... on our floor, our manager always discusses the candidates with the staff... from RN down to housekeeper. He also values our opinions. Treat every time you step foot in a hospital like it's a job interview, because really... it is. :)
Well said. :up:

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience. 3,421 Posts

Whats funny is my brother works for disney and he taught me some of the stuff that he used to help the guests out. I still use what he taught me to this day

seanynjboy

Specializes in Medical-Surgical, Supervisory, HEDIS, IT. 224 Posts

This is pretty awesome! That is cool that you got hired on as a new grad! I am in my last 2 semesters of school and before every clinical my instructors always give us the "You're on stage" or "You're on a job interview" speech. Most of the students forget that but it is so true! One of my favorite med-surg clinicals I LOVED the CNAs/Techs. I helped them out at any chance I could. Even though we only had one patient each to assess and what not, I made sure I let each nurse I had tell my instructor if there was anything that I could do with any of her/his patients to help out. They really appreciated that. Some people on that unit ask how I am doing sometimes to the other classes on that unit.

nursefrances, BSN, RN

Specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, Tele. Has 6 years experience. 7 Articles; 601 Posts

This is pretty awesome! That is cool that you got hired on as a new grad! I am in my last 2 semesters of school and before every clinical my instructors always give us the "You're on stage" or "You're on a job interview" speech. Most of the students forget that but it is so true! One of my favorite med-surg clinicals I LOVED the CNAs/Techs. I helped them out at any chance I could. Even though we only had one patient each to assess and what not, I made sure I let each nurse I had tell my instructor if there was anything that I could do with any of her/his patients to help out. They really appreciated that. Some people on that unit ask how I am doing sometimes to the other classes on that unit.
It seems like such a simple thing to do right? But most people don't think about it. It's good to hear you made a good impression. They remembered you. Good job. :up:

cah2020, CNA

Specializes in CNA. 3 Posts

Good read. For context: I am a third semester nursing student and just had my first mother infant rotation. Not to mention, only covered one concept so far in class on infants.

I know how important first impressions are and I enjoy clinical very much, but I always get pre anxiety prior to starting my shift. I enjoy working with patients and working with a team but my issue is getting tunnel vision (usually at the start of the shift) so I can focus and understand what is going on. For ex: what my patient load looks like and what information I may need to recall/review prior to entering my patient's rooms. I know this a good time to establish a bond with my preceptor but I am afraid of missing key information that I may miss. So I am usually taking notes and lightly chatting and engaging in building rapport with the nurse, but sometimes I feel as if this "tunnel vision" gives me a strange impression to others. This is not a deer in the headlights look, its almost as if I am too serious or not super social, but its all for the greater good for myself (to recall any apply knowledge). I want to have good relationships with the people on my team, especially my preceptor, but I am not yet in the headspace to comprehend everything so quickly, so I am writing down things, asking questions as I go and proving that I do care by taking the initiative when necessary. I apologize this is almost like venting session for me.

As a student, I reflect a lot on my experiences and areas where I may need to improve. Do you think by what I just shared is a negative trait? I usually warm up after I meet my first patient and can be more of myself, but am I being too hard on myself? I guess I am working on a version of myself that I am not quite used to so I am being a bit too self aware but any insight on how I should deal with these emotions/relationships would be helpful.