Nursing student advice

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:

  1. 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?

Me:  gif1

 

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.

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3.  Invest in a good computer. Your focus should be on reviving your patients, not your Windows 7 platform.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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3 thoughts on “Nursing student advice

  1. I’m in my second semester, I liked lecture and taking notes but clinicals make me so nervous and anxious. I feel like there is so much room for error that the pressure builds up and I dred going back to clinicals. I know nursing is hard and I have to prepare well to feel confident. I just need to find a way to quit trying to sabatosh myself. I feel like my self esteem as a nursing student is at an all time low. How can you love something so much but be mortified by it as well? I have worked so hard to get to this point but now that I’m here I fear failure, incompetence….

    • I believe that the way you view clinicals directly effect the way you feelings about them. My first clinical was three weeks after I first started the Nursing Program (keep in mind that I started my Nursing Program 3 months after I graduated high school). I had no previous experience or knowledge about the medical field, and was put into a long-term acute care facility. The first day of clinicals the wound nurse pulled me into a patients room who had a stage 4 sacral pressure ulcer that had a very distinguished smell to it. The wound nurse proceeded to ask me multiple questions about the patients condition, and how to relieve pain from a stage 4 pressure ulcer. I was scared out of my life and never wanted to return to the clinical site again. The next week I had a paraplegic patient who i developed an amazing rapport with who made me feel comfortable with the clinical site. I began asking the RN many questions. She was very receptive to my questions and boosted my confidence. Most RN are willing to assist you with things you don’t know, especially when it pertains to the patient(s) that you are dealing with. If the RN that you are working under is not willing to help you, your clinical instructor will always be there as well as your fellow nursing student. I hope this helped you! Hang in there, clinical will become better, you just have to be confident!!!

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