Tips for LPN Clinicals | Remington College


  • LPN: How to Get the Most Out of Your Clinical Experiences


    If you are thinking about going to school to become a licensed practical nurse, you may feel confident in your ability to learn the necessary nursing information to pass your classes and the national boards, but may be nervous about actually applying your skills when you begin your first position.(1) All programs are required to include clinical experiences, along with classroom and lab experiences as part of the curriculum. Clinical experiences offer students the opportunities to apply what they have learned in the lab and classroom in a clinical setting.

    It is important that you get the most out of your clinical experiences and take advantage of each time you provide nursing care to a client and his or her family members. Here is a list of five tips to help you succeed in your hands-on training as a while a practical nursing student.(1)

    Listen to the Client

    During your clinical experiences, you are responsible for listening to the clients' concerns and possibly discussing the plan of treatment under the supervision of a registered nursing or a physician. Make it a point to talk to your client about his or her concern regarding their medical condition treatment, goals, and any situations that may be problematic once discharged home. It is important to get to know your client and what his or her needs are as you provide nursing care.(2) 

    Perform a Careful Observation 

    As you are actively listening to your clients, you should be observing him or her for signs of distress, alterations in vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate and blood pressure) or misunderstanding of directions or diagnosis. One can never be too observant, as the subtle changes in a client can quickly deteriorate in to a more serious situation. Observations should always be carefully recorded, as well as reported to the nursing supervisor. 

    Jump at the Opportunity to See and Do New Things

    All health care facilities are busy places where no day is the same, providing the practical nurse with a variety of clients, situations and solutions on a daily basis. As you are work in each of your clinical experiences, you should always expect the unexpected and be ready to observe and learn from new and different experiences. You will want to do your assigned work to provide the best client care, but if your clinical instructor has an unusual case and asks you to shadow him or her then do not miss the opportunity to observe. Always ask questions to clarify anything you may not understand, as your clinical instructor expects you to have many questions!

    Take Careful Notes

    It is important to always write accurately and document everything carefully, and always at the time of the procedure. Do not rely on your memory at the end of the day, since critical details may be forgotten or missed. Many health care practitioners will say that if something isn't documented, then it can't be proved that it was ever done. You also have to be careful with documenting certain clinical details as you are not allowed to copy specific client information and bring it off-site, however, if you had an experience that you want to discuss with your classroom teacher, take notes when you get home so that you can jot down any questions that you might have or any areas where you feel confused. By keeping a log you'll know which subjects you need to revisit and be able to get answers to your questions as they arise. 

    Offer Assistance Wherever You Can

    One advantage of being a student nurse is that everyone expects you to ask questions and to seek as many learning experiences as you are able to find. Look for opportunities to help others, including nursing assistants, lab technicians and other allied health professionals, to learn about the various types of health care services. Be attentive, and let your clinical instructors know that you are ready and willing to help wherever you can. Volunteer to help anyone who needs help, even if they are not somebody you are assigned to assist, because there are learning opportunities everywhere.  Remember, becoming a licensed practical nurse requires more than book work; it requires accurate clinical skills, careful observations and great verbal interactions. All of these skills and techniques are practiced constantly when you are enrolled as a practical nursing student at Remington College. 

    (1) Employment is not guaranteed for students or graduates. State certification/licensure may be required.