From the blog

How to Survive Clinical Rotations

How to Survive Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are an exciting time. You get to shadow doctors and residents at teaching hospitals, interact with patients, and apply everything you’ve learned in classrooms, labs and libraries. This is when you get hands-on experience, deal with real-life medical situations, and truly learn how to become a doctor.

Clinical rotations can also be grueling and stressful. You have to learn workflows and electronic record systems. Your knowledge will be tested by both patients and doctors. The experiences may not be what you expected. You could run into personality conflicts. Clinical rotations can also serve as informal interviews for the physicians and administrators who you eventually ask to write recommendation letters.

Although you know the stress and frustration will be worth it, there will be times when you’ll just be happy to survive the day. Here are some tips to help you get through your clinical rotations.Stressed nursing during clinical rotation

Talk to Those Who Have Been There Recently

Pick the brains of students who have already gone through clinical rotations. What are the schedules like? What are the expectations? Is there a resident who will be particularly helpful? The better prepared you are, the less surprised you’ll be, and the more you can focus on learning, contributing and making a strong impression.

Know Where You’re Going. Literally.

Is there anything more stressful than being lost? Familiarize yourself with the hospital. Learn the fastest way to get from point A to point B, from the bathroom and the supply closet to radiology and the emergency department. Knowing the lay of the land will make you more confident and productive during clinical rotations.

Keep Learning

You can only learn so much in a classroom or lab, which is why clinical rotations are so important. Be curious. Ask as many questions as you can without being disruptive, even if they involve simple tasks like labeling equipment or adjusting oxygen levels. When caring for a patient, research their condition and learn as much as you can about causes, symptoms, treatments and outcomes. This information will help you in the short-term and long-term.

Remember the Basics

Show up on time. Dress appropriately. Work hard. Volunteer to help. Carry notebooks, pens and snacks. Be respectful of everyone – physicians, residents, nurses, administrative staff and, most importantly, patients. Never forget that you’re in a hospital, and patients who are sick and often scared have placed their lives in the hands of the people in that hospital – including yours.

Don’t Let Clinical Rotations Control Your Life

It’s okay to blow off steam at the end of a long shift as long as you do it responsibly. Laugh, cry and do whatever you need to avoid becoming physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed. Clinical rotations can seem like they consume your life, but you need to enjoy life if you’re going to enjoy medicine. Make time for people and activities that make you happy.

Clinical rotations can be giant rollercoaster of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, success and disappointment. Make the most of this critical part of your journey and take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow.

Related Articles

CentraState Celebrates True Heroes During National Nurses Week 2018

There’s a reason why nursing has been rated by the public as the most honest, ethical profession for the last 16 years. As Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, once said, “The greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening […]

A Day in the Life of a Registered Nurse in 2018

Most registered nurses will tell you there’s no such thing as a typical or average day. Every day brings new patients and new challenges that push nurses to their limits in different ways. Even if patients have similar conditions, each has a different emotional state and life situation. These experiences, while often difficult to navigate, […]

Will Nurses be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence?

Although the term “artificial intelligence” was coined at the 1956 Dartmouth Conference, the idea of intelligent computers goes back nearly 100 years. In fact, the term “robot” was first used in the 1920s. Artificial intelligence used to be the stuff of science fiction – think The Jetsons, R2D2 and The Terminator – but is now […]