It’s August, which means a lot of you will be starting nursing school soon. Congratulations! You’re about to enter the most difficult, yet rewarding, years of your life. Here’s my advice:
- If you want to save your current friendships and relationships, become friends with other nursing students. Online friendships do count. You need friends who actually understand what you’re going through, and the people in your life who aren’t nursing students won’t. Here’s an example:
Me: I had a horrible day today.
Husband: I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as mine. Our client moved up our deadline twice.
Me: I watched a young mother die.
Husband: Did you hear that I said TWICE?
2. Buy the most comfortable shoes you can find, even though they’re going to be ugly. When considering that the average nurse walks four to five miles per shift, it’ll be worth the sacrifice.
3. Invest in a good computer. Your focus should be on reviving your patients, not your Windows 7 platform.
4. When you have a particularly stressful or upsetting day, set aside a few minutes when you get home to sit and write about it. Not a writer? It doesn’t matter. Do it anyway. Sometimes putting your thoughts down on paper will help you process them better. And a year from now, rereading those notes will show you how far you’ve come.
5. Remember, your patients are as scared as you of you are of them. Or at least they should be. Just kidding! You are going to do fine. You should always have an instructor available when you’re doing a new skill on a patient, and never hesitate to ask any questions you have. If you truly aren’t comfortable doing something, speak up.
6. Speaking of being scared… your classmates are all nervous too. Don’t let their calm demeanor trick you into thinking you are the only one struggling—you’re all in the same boat. So talk to them and help each other through this.
7. During clinicals, you’ll probably see a few more experienced nurses doing things the “old school” way instead of how you were taught. Unless the patient’s safety is at risk, it’s probably best to keep it to yourself. Putting a nurse on the defensive about her skills will make her want to stop teaching you, and there is so much for you to learn from her.
8. Believe in yourself. Yes, there are going to be days when you want to quit– when you think you can’t handle the stress, the patient load, the responsibility, the heartache. But then there will be days where you actually SAVE A LIFE, and trust me, that high will quickly make those bad days seem small and insignificant.
9. Please don’t hesitate to leave me a message if you ever need encouragement! I don’t reply to comments in the comment section- I reply by email, so don’t forget to leave your contact information. Good luck!