The first clinical day is not always a success but it can be

The first day of the clinical

Throughout my time as a Licenced practical nurse, I have experienced new student come in and do everything they should not to send a good signal. It is with that in mind i want the best first impression on my clinical as i expect you would like.

I will help you get a good start on your clinical with my simple and useful advice on how to get the best first day. I have just had my first day become a success thanks to these simple steps.

Showing up to your clinical

In the first meeting with your instructor, 1000 things can go wrong, but it does not need to if you just think a little and follow some principles.

First of all, you need to remember if the first impression is good, then you don’t need to spend energy on changing the perception of you afterwards.

Changing a wrong first impression can be a fierce battle, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it’s just energy being spent on it. Energy that could be used to get the most learning out of your clinical.

The way you look is important

It’s a well-known fact that the way you look has an impact on how people judge you. Still, it is not as superficial as it may sound, what you usually decide is what you do with the way you look if you do not make enough of yourself or too much.


If you come and look like someone who has not taken a bath for 14 days or smells like sweat, then you will inevitably be judged negatively by your clinical instructor.

The thing you can and should do is make sure you do not smell with a good deodorant that covers all day, however, make sure it is not too potent in the scent as you should preferably be neutral in your odour. In addition, you should have been in the bath the same morning or the evening before.

Another good thing to remember is to have a spotless set of clothes, you probably think it is a common knowlagde, but you will be surprised how many people show up with stains on the clothes, messy hair and smelling of sweat.

Choose your outfit

Choose the right outfit to present you. If you are not to show up in scrubs on your first day, then choose some everyday clothes that you feel comfortable wearing and think of what casual clothes you look best in. The tranquillity you get from comfortable clothing makes one shine and shows that you are resting in yourself.

However, you must focus on the clothing not to offend others and not to be inappropriate for work, so no tummy tucks, no miniskirts, and no clothes with condescending words. On the other hand, you can wear clothes with a little colour, so you don’t get grey and dreary to look at.

No one wants a nursing student to show up for clinical untidy
If these two people show up at your place of work, do you think that they are there to learn?

What to say on your first clinical day

It can be challenging to know what is right to say on one’s first day in the clinic and especially at the first meeting, here it is okay to stay brief. Say no more than you are comfortable with. Furthermore, you must be humble towards your new colleagues and instructors.

Be humble

Being humble in the clinic is a great way to show your instructors that you are there to learn, look at what is happening, wonder what is happening but never say “you just have to …”, it is essential you show you are there to learn not to change their workflows.
Ask about the workflows and get explanations, it is excellent to ask how things work, so you are sure you understand how their workflows are and how they are connected.

Be yourself

You can be humble and yourself at the same time, you have to show who you are without exaggerating it. Show that you have respect for your instructor’s knowledge and you want to learn.

My best advice for your clinical is to be yourself
For you to succeed in your clinical is it essential that you are true to yourself

How i prepare for my clinical

I almost always send the good first-hand impression by having a clear plan for the things I need to do until the first meeting. Before I can make the plan, I need to know how long it will take me to get to my clinical placement.

I make sure that I am there 15 minutes before the meeting time so I can show up between 5-10 minutes before the meeting, so as not to seem overeager or uninterested. Then I calculate when to leave. My good morning plan includes:

  • Time to take a bath
  • Time for a relaxing breakfast
  • Time to be delayed

When my simple plan is in place, I know that I need about an hour to get ready, so I put the clothes out on the day before, set the alarm to 1½ hours before I have to leave so there is time to be delayed.

When I show up, I focus on being positive, welcoming and having a small notebook ready to go out if there is something to remember.
When i meet the staff at my placement, i make sure to have a natural smile, since a forced smile only discourages an op dialogue and serve to alienate you from your placment.

Hopefully, you are getting a good first day and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and i will answer as soon as possible.

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