So your loved one’s a nursing student….

Here are some tips for those of you who are lucky enough to
know a nursing student:

(I put this list together from listening to my classmates and from comments I have received on here- this is not directed at my friends or family!!)

1. One day we will hate nursing, the next we will love it.
We are allowed to have mood swings like this, so please don’t point out our
inconsistencies.

2. When we complain about our evil teachers, just listen to
us and give us sympathy. There are some things we know we can’t change, but we
still need to vent.

3. When we are upset by something that happened with one of
our patients, don’t just tell us to get a thicker skin. Every day we see nurses
with skin that is way too thick, and we never want to be like that.

4.  It won’t hurt you
to let us practice some of our new nursing skills on you. Well, once we get
good at them it won’t hurt you… (Sorry about the blood pressure cuff incident,
Michael!)

5. Most of us are broke. So please don’t invite us to
go do expensive things and then act offended when we say we can’t go.

6. Please realize that we have a lot of reading and homework
to do every weekend. I know for non-students, the weekend means relaxing. But
for a lot of us, the weekend is our chance to attempt to catch up.

7. Although we have a ton of work, we do need the
opportunity to let off some steam. So if we told you on Friday we couldn’t go
to a bar because we needed to study, don’t get upset if you see us watching a
TV show or at the mall on Saturday. That might be our only break for the day,
and we would probably lose our minds if we didn’t take an hour away from the
books every now and then. And unfortunately, we often do have to weigh things
against studying- “Should I go spend money at a bar and stay out until two AM, or
get fifty pages of reading done and then relax and watch movies tomorrow?” Please
don’t be offended if we choose studying.

8. Don’t ever use the line, “Well is your school more
important than ME?!” You might  accidentally be volunteering your arm for IV
practice the next time you fall asleep. You wanted attention, right?!

9. If we are stressed out about a test don’t just say, “You
always say that and then get straight A’s. You should quit studying and go out.”
Maybe your statement is accurate, but had we stopped studying earlier, as you were suggesting, we would not have done as
well. You are always welcome to say you think we will do fine, but don’t try to pressure us to quit studying when we don’t feel prepared.

10. Don’t compare what we are going through to what you went
through in school unless you majored in something in the medical field. If you
are an accountant and you didn’t fully understand something in school, you
might mess up someone’s finances. This is a big deal, but your mistake will not
kill someone. Ours might.

11. Bring us plenty of chocolate, especially Reese’s peanut
butter cups.

 

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16 thoughts on “So your loved one’s a nursing student….

  1. Do you know a nursing student? Give them this book: Love Your Patients! It will affirm for them all the reasons they chose this most noble of careers. It is easy to read, instructional and enjoyable. It will help them through the tough times, too. Tell them to visit the site, http://www.LoveYourPatients.org, too.

  2. regarding thick-skinned nurses, also known as \’hard-asses\’ . . . . those of us that are like that have become that way thru necessity . . . compassion and caring is great, and a requirement any nurse, but if you \’care too much\’ you will not last in this profession: its easy to take tour patients and what happens to them to heart, but not a good idea. . . the burn-out rate for nurses is incredible because we see so much pain, suffering and ugliness . . . i\’ve learned after years of nursing that its best to leave the work at work – its tempting, but don\’t even start the habit of ranting or venting about patients. etc. at home . . . it can become very destructive if you let it . . .

  3. Katie,After my recent hospital stay and now my daughter\’s (C Section so she got a couple extra days), I know that nurses can and do make what is usually a painful or miserable stay much better. Unless you\’ve had a baby there is no fun reason to be in a hospital and those thick skinned nurses can be very disenchanting. Please try as you can to stay compassionate and caring within the perimeters of your professionalism that you can. It does matter. It makes a difference.Vanita

  4. Hi Katie,Funny list. Almost all of those held true of my wife when she was in nursing school too. I truely dont know how you guys do it! You should have a lot of pride in what you accomplish. Also, that was a funny story about "Go Nad" Those kids are very creative. 🙂 I remember learning about gonads in Biology class in 10th grade. Every time the teacher would say it he would have to wait a few minutes for all the giggling to stop. I guess i havent come too far since then. ha ha. ;-)Oh, I was going to ask you……are you having to work while in school, or are you one of the lucky ones like me who dont have to work and go to school full time? Just curious. Good luck this week.Dustin

  5. re: "#3….too many nurses burn out and they do have thick skin," NOT TRUE . . . you are making it sound like nurses burn out because they have thick skin! If any of you believe this, then you really don\’t understand what we (i say \’we\’ in reference to myself and those i work with, being a nurse myself) nurses endure each day we go to work. I am not saying don\’t have compassion . . . i would not be in this profession if i were not compassionate . . . but we don\’t have to \’bleed\’ (using this term figuratively) everytime our patients do . . . this compromises our objectivity and its not really professional to take all of our patients\’ suffering to heart . . . we can certainly be compassionate and empathetic, but we don\’t have to carry that suffering with us, and in fact should not. I am a nurse, and have worked in the darkest, ugliest corners of acute care . . .i have personally experienced burn-out and watched my colleagues do the same. In none of these cases did being thick-skinned have anything to do with burn-out. What did was (1) seeing incessant suffering, pain, loss, dying, bleeding, fear and – aside from giving morphine iv push, holding a hand – being a helpless witness to this suffering as well as (2) feeling so empathetic about this suffering that we hang on to it, carry it around with us . . . this is UNHEALTHY, and that is what i meant when i said that many nurses become hard-asses exactly to prevent just that kind of melt-down from occurring. I believe that we can maintain a professional distance and still be compassionate, caring and pro active nurses. Our role demands that we be the voice of reason and objectivity when everything around is falls apart in chaos . . . this means we have to find a way to step back (call it thick-skin, or whatever else you want) and peel away the emotional charge from the situation.

  6. I have to weigh in here. "Thickening of the skin" to me is allowing yourself the ability to be human, but adjust to those things you can impact. I give the "thicken your skin" talk to new nurses that are taking everything to heart. Especially when it comes to the older nurse that just has to punish everyone else because they\’re unhappy.Take these nurses with a grain of salt, nothing will satisfy them and certainly not the presence of your youthful energy. I don\’t believe in "burnout", but that has been a catch phrase in nursing for years. I feel that when you become disenchanted with your profession and it affects your objectivity, move on and stop punishing everyone else! Sorry for jumping on my soap box, but I can\’t pass up the podium. Nursing and healing the sick has become increasingly difficult in this the decade of "managed care" and our ailing healthcare system. Keep plugging away maybe it will be your energy and determination that will someday bring about the reform that is so desperately needed. Sincerely Bill T. RN

  7. I have to weigh in here. "Thickening of the skin" to me is allowing yourself the ability to be human, but adjust to those things you can impact. I give the "thicken your skin" talk to new nurses that are taking everything to heart. Especially when it comes to the older nurse that just has to punish everyone else because they\’re unhappy.Take these nurses with a grain of salt, nothing will satisfy them and certainly not the presence of your youthful energy. I don\’t believe in "burnout", but that has been a catch phrase in nursing for years. I feel that when you become disenchanted with your profession and it affects your objectivity, move on and stop punishing everyone else! Sorry for jumping on my soap box, but I can\’t pass up the podium. Nursing and healing the sick has become increasingly difficult in this the decade of "managed care" and our ailing healthcare system. Keep plugging away maybe it will be your energy and determination that will someday bring about the reform that is so desperately needed. Sincerely Bill T. RN

  8. I think that when people tell you to get \’thicker skin\’ they\’re not actually telling you to stop being compasionate (neither are they telling you to literally make your skin thicker) they mean gain control of your emotions. in a stressful situation you not to be able to keep your calm and this can\’t be done if you\’re emotional.And the accountant making a cock-up can be life or death if they owe money and the debt collectors come round to \’rough them up\’ and go a little bit too far. Then again if they owe so much money why are they paying an accountant?! They only look at the income and outgoings! a financial adviser is what they should be hiring. (some people can be so silly)

  9. I think this list applies to most students! I am a psych student, but I definitely agree with 2, 5, 10! I fully relate to the being broke part, and I love chocalate! True, if I mess up diagnosing someone, it won\’t kill them, but it might mess things up pretty bad! :)Love your blog!Happy Monday!Hilary

  10. <laughing> I just watched the fast-moving picture show of Isis and Skitzo–too funny! I want a kitty! I also looked at the Calvin cartoon–I love Calvin and Hobbes, and this is one of the reasons why. :DI\’m going to send your nursing student top… 11? 😀 Sending it to my sister-in-law. I\’ll bet she\’ll get a kick out o fit. :DTalk to you soon!

  11. Great blog… and something really useful. How great that you can articulate what you need! I hope people read that and take notice. Wish I could send you some Reese\’s… I do a lot with Reese\’s via "The Bear," a mythical nightmare-buster who visits our home randomly, always leaving a Reese\’s on the mantle for a little boy who had terrible bear nightmares. He\’s not behavior-based, he only visits because he loves the little boy.I had a really bad (possibly mentally ill) nurse this last go, but the first bad one I\’ve ever had, so I retain my high esteem of nurses.Hugs,MuMo

  12. AMEN! As far as the nursing specific stuff, I sympathize, but have NO idea what you are going through. As far as normal studying and schoolwork goes, I wish some people would understand that it IS a priority, and in some cases, school IS more important than wasting 9 bucks to see a movie I probably wouldn\’t like anyway. All my husband and I do is stay home and study. We are already spending money on tuition, might as well work for it!

  13. Here, here! Love the list (I think it could apply to just about every health care student out there)! #10 is the biggest point: no one , except HCP students, will every totally understand this. While I know what I am doing is tough now, part of me is scared of my residency, when I will hold people\’s lives in my hands. It\’s why we can\’t slack off like other students: C\’s may get degrees, but how will that reflect when we\’re involved in patient care?Thanks for putting this together – as always, you\’re posts RAWK! 🙂

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