Students often get nervous. It can be intimidating to have to demonstrate techniques in front of critical instructors and fellow students. Techniques are often scored. A missed item can lead to missed points. We struggle to keep all the details in the right order so we can check all the boxes on the instructor's clip board. Students wonder: if it's this hard in the classroom, it's got to be even harder in the real world.
Not necessarily true. I've seen students go both ways: good in the classroom and bad in the real world - and - struggling in the classroom but good in the real world. The important thing is to understand what you're dealing with in both environments and to keep your confidence up. The two environments are very different. Here's why:
I recently found myself performing a physical assessment on a student in front of a classroom. As an instructor, I had done this many times before, but as a student I found the experience more difficult. As an instructor, the scenario - to include all signs and symptoms - were clear in my mind (as clear as they are in real life). As a student, I had to guess as I went along.
The technique I was asked to demonstrate (a 90 second rapid trauma assessment) was something that can be done two ways: with implied consent on an unconscious patient (in which case happens very quickly), or with explanation, clear patient communication and a more focused approach (the emphasis in the second case is on getting through the assessment with maximum patient comfort).
I had a hunch the instructor wanted me to show the class how this assessment looks in real time without the patient interaction, but I had a conscious patient who was alert, in good shape and smiling. I ended up doing half of a rapid assessment on an unconscious patient and half an assessment on a conscious, alert patient with a smile. The blend of the two techniques was awkward.
It didn't help that this instructor (a very good instructor) wanted to simultaneously demonstrate how to take a SAMPLE history from the C-Spine position. The SAMPLE history is something I usually do myself as a way to establish rapport with the conscious patient while examining him or her. We ended up talking to the patient at the same time - something that would confuse a real patient and doesn't usually happen more than once between partners in the real world.
If you are a student and you're worried about having issues in the classroom, don't be too hard on yourself! The classroom offers unique challenges that you won't find in the real world. Make no mistake, there will be challenges and learning to deal with them in the classroom is a great way to start.
If you have classroom challenges, I suggest engaging your instructor directly. If they've been around for a while, they'll understand what I've described here & should be able to help you deal with them. Don't allow classroom challenges to shake your confidence. Use them to motivate you to practice and to master techniques.