Guidelines for Student Clinical Experience

Patient Assignments

  • Instructors and/or students consult with the unit charge nurse prior to making patient care assignments. If there is a large volume of students on one unit it works best for assignments to be made by the instructor.
  • Patients have a right to accept or decline being assigned to a student. The instructor or student requests this approval from the patient. If the patient is unavailable or unable to provide approval, approval is obtained from the charge nurse.
  • Students introduce themselves to the patient, explain their role and that they are working with the unit staff.
  • Patient care is not be compromised by delaying care in order to grant a student a specific learning experience.
  • Know and describe your objectives for clinical to the RN assigned to your patient(s) each day you are on the unit. This expectation also applies in observation type experiences. If you come to clinical without a sense of what you want to get out of the time you may be asked to leave the unit/area. Print and fill out a Clinical Objectives Communication form and present a copy to the staff nurse responsible for your patient(s) each day.

Dress Code

  • Wear school uniform when providing patient care.
  • Wear uniform or professional attire with a lab coat and school photo ID badge when on units "off duty" (to look at charts, make assignments, participate in orientation class). Students who are inappropriately attired will be directed to leave the unit.
  • Click on the link to read the Personal Appearance standard.

Patient Care Restrictions for Nursing Students

Undergraduate students may not:

  • Witness and sign the wasting of controlled substances.
  • Perform "waived" lab tests such as hemoccult, gastroccult, pH, pregnancy, nitrazine, ISTAT. You may do blood glucose tests after you have completed the orientation competency.
  • Check blood for the purpose of identifying correct patient/correct blood. (Two RNs must check blood prior to administration to a patient.) Students may not administer blood components but may assess and monitor patient, as well as document these actions and data.
  • Participate in an independent double check (i.e. high risk medications or blood administration).
  • Administer inhaled medications without consulting Respiratory Therapy. Respiratory Therapy Practitioners administer inhaled medications at Swedish.
  • Administer investigational (research protocol) medications.
  • Administer medication into epidural catheters.
  • Manage epidural infusions or continuous subcutaneous infusions, even under the observation of their instructor or a staff R.N.
  • Administer chemotherapy medications, i.e., any medication in the Chemotherapy Manual.
  • Take verbal or telephone orders or acknowledge orders.
  • Insert IVs unless in a precepted senior clinical practicum and only after completing required orientation and competency assessment.

Nursing students in their senior year or quarter may manage PCA pumps for intravenous (not epidural) medication administration. The clinical instructor is responsible for ensuring the nursing student's competency with PCAs. Discuss changes in dosage or intervals with the registered nurse responsible for the patient before making changes on the pump.

Nursing students are responsible for coordinating meals and insulin administration with patients who have diabetes.

Operating Room (Perioperative Services) Observations

OR Orientation will be arranged by your clinical instructor before the start of the clinical term and must be completed prior to any operating room experiences.

Personal Electronic Devices

Click on the link to read the Use of Personal Device standard.