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An attitude is an important thing, it can shape the way the individual sees an experience and how observers see the individual.

An attitude can entirely make or break an experience. This is as true in clinical experiences as it is in life. My experience in my senior year clinical preceptorship was without a doubt unique but I feel its uniqueness was in what I made of it, something every nursing student can do for themselves. If there is one lesson to gain from reading about my experiences it should be that the success of a clinical is entirely what the student makes of it.

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My first day I walked into the ICU and almost ran right back out, thinking “ Get me out of here” it was a 10 bed unit, the traditional glass ICU room doors, two crash carts at either end of the unit, patient charts seemingly everywhere, precaution carts, glucometers, IV poles and pumps, doctors running into the room at the end of the hall, telemetry monitors beeping and spitting out rhythm strips. Little did I know these sounds and sights would eventually become more calming than frightening.I kept thinking to myself how was I, a student going to handle a clinical placement on this floor? How I could remember the necessary skills of medical surgical nursing to be ok here? I met with my preceptor , a nurse with 30 years experience. I was intimidated.

She let me know I would work covering her patient load, with her supervision of course. I would also be expected to know my dosage calculations and all of my medication fact. We went through patient assignment board to receive report from the morning nurse.

My first patient was on a ventilator, in congestive heart failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome. We went into the room and my preceptor told me to get started, I froze. Then , suddenly it came to me, we always assess first and I did my head to toe assessment, I remembered this from one of my first nursing classes, Health Assessment. “ok” I thought I remember how to do this .

My preceptor let me know I forgot to check the pedal pulses, my preceptor reassured me, it was my first time doing a full assessment in a while and forgetting one thing is not a big deal.As the day went on she allowed me to complete more and more tasks. Little did I know that same day I would be performing most of this patient care. I learned quickly that I would need to adjust to the pace of the ICU, as I have to adjust to every floor I was on for clinical. In conclusion I found out that a positive attitude about learning and a little determination to succeed we can overcome certain fears, learn a great deal from it, and enjoy the learning.

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