4 Rules of Nursing Etiquette During Clinicals

February 18, 2014 in Nursing TIps

Nurses and Doctors

The clinical portion is perhaps the most exciting part for students in online nursing programs (and offline) because it means finally getting to be around actual patients and surrounded by medical professionals in a real world environment. This phase of a student’s nursing education is a great way for them to find out whether or not the field really is their calling.

Because clinicals are all about learning, there is room for error but one mistake that shouldn’t be made is failing to practice proper etiquette. Demonstrating proper etiquette during clinicals can make all the difference in a student’s overall performance, experience and interactions with the medical professionals they’ll be receiving instruction from during this time.

Know When to Listen

During clinicals there is a lot of new information being thrown at students. It is natural to want to begin a round of “20 Questions” at every turn. But proper etiquette means knowing when to simply listen and absorb the information. This is why it is advisable to bring note taking materials. In addition to taking a lot of notes on what is being told, it is a good way to jot down questions, thoughts and concerns that may crop up along the way. Doing this will ensure that students get the answers to their questions later on without interrupting what is happening presently.

Know When to Ask Questions

There is a difference between playing “20 Questions” and asking pointed questions for clarification in the moment. Are you observing a nurse’s demonstration on the floor but need more details about something they did or said? Then it is acceptable to inject a question at that point in time. Keep the question brief and try to not follow up with a bunch of other questions if they are something that can wait until later.

Respect Patient Privacy

It is exciting to be on the floor of a hospital and interacting with patients but maintain composure and remember that you’re there as a student who is working towards one day becoming a real nurse. Do not gossip about patients’ situations or medical histories with fellow students. Even if it is outside of the clinical environment, a patient’s privacy should be respected at all times.

When discussing anything related to a patient, it should be done for educational purposes, such as during class to explain what you learned and steps you performed in treating a patient or when asking for assistance/advice from an instructor.

If patients can’t trust you during your time as a student in clinicals, how can they expect to trust you in the field as a licensed and practicing nurse?

Don’t Be a Snob

Nothing is worse than a nursing student who thinks they know more than their peers and even the medical professionals at the hospital. The best clinical experiences are those where students actively engage in learning the ropes, while interacting in a positive way with their classmates, instructors and by understanding the importance of operating as a team.

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