Student Nursing Tips – What They Don’t Teach You in Nursing School

Needless to say, learning doesn’t stop when you’ve earned your nursing degree. You will find that once you enter the real world of nursing, it will seem that everything you learned in school is just a fraction of what you have to face out there in the emergency room and the high-intensity environment of the hospital wearing your discount landau scrubs. Rather than school being the end of learning, it is just the beginning. Once you have passed the NCLEX and earned your nursing license, your education is just about to unfold.

Hands-on clinical training that student nurses go through is a mere caricature of what nursing is really all about. In clinical training, student nurses only have to care for a patient or two and only for a part of a shift. They are also monitored and given relatively easier tasks so that they do not cause a problem or get into trouble especially since instructors have to oversee several students at a given time. As a result, student nurses have little experience in the daily activities and functions on a nursing shift and on a nursing staff unit.

Some of the things that student nurses rarely experience in their clinical training include admitting and discharging patients and doing the associated paperwork (which can be overwhelming) and making a complete order of medicines and supplies. While it is possible to encounter this during training, the process will likely be shortened by the instructor of a staff member. Also, signing orders for narcotics may not be allowed for students even if the instructor co-signs the order. In effect, students may not be aware about the process of ordering controlled substances.

Time management and organizational skills are two of the most valuable skills that nurses have to learn yet these skills are rarely honed in nursing school. Because students’ hand-on experience with patient care is only for a short duration and only one or two patients at a time, there is little time to develop their time management, organizational, and multi-tasking skills in nursing school. Nurses have to struggle with prioritizing and organizing their schedules on a daily basis. Experienced nurses are always juggling different tasks and fitting hundreds of tasks in a single shift. When new nurses come in, it becomes a problem when they are unable to organize their schedules and become a burden to the regular staff.

Because these things are not taught in nursing school, it is best for students to take it to themselves to study and observe the activities of nurses during different shifts when they can. If possible, students can also ask a nurse if they can follow the nurse around for a whole shift so that they can gain better insights in how a usual shift really works and how they can plan their shift in the future. Students can also spend time with other hospital staff such as the unit clerk or secretary to ask how the process of ordering medicine and a CAT scan goes and what the restrictions are. As a new nurse, your experience not be any less intense or less stressful but at least you have a blueprint of how to go about your shift and survive your first day well.