Monday, June 7, 2010

For New Nursing Students (Some Advice)

So I've only got 2 more months (actually, slightly LESS at this point) of nursing school. I figure that this is an excellent opportunity to tell all you (theoretical) incoming nursing students a few things I've picked up in the past 2 years which I hope will help you.

1. PAY ATTENTION IN ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY!!! - I know you might hate it, I know it's occasionally boring, but dear lord, SO much of what we learn in nursing classes is predicated on the fact that you KNOW your A&P. For example: you have a patient with a heart condition like a-fib, and are giving a medication for it. You need to know your A&P to know HOW the heart works, WHICH parts are the atria, what a-fib IS, and why it is that a particular medication's action HELPS with this. If you snooze through A&P, it's going to SHOW when you take nursing classes.

2. PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS- I recommend NOT using your powerpoints on the computer. Either print them out and take notes on paper, THEN transcribe to computer, or just take written notes (which is what I do). This way you will have NO excuse for getting bored and going on facebook, looking at lolcats, or IMing your friends. Seriously, you're already SITTING THERE!!! Think of it as built-in study time, and pay attention! Worst case, it means you're bored, but have SEEN all the information AT LEAST ONCE!!! I cannot overstate how important this is. The kids who were on facebook the most in my class had the lowest GPAs. Just saying.

3. You are NOT alone- when you start out in nursing school, you have all these horrible visions in your head of killing your patients, of patients with their intestines coming out their surgical site, etc. Even if your patient DOES code, or dehisce (have their wound pop open), THERE ARE ACTUAL PROFESSIONALS AROUND! And fellow students! You can ALWAYS call for help.

4. You and your classmates are a team- deal with it. You're all in this together. And in clinical, you and your clinical-mates HAVE to work together. I had this one HUGE Patient, very complex, lots of work. SIX of my classmates teamed up with me to bathe, turn, change, and fluff his pillows. We were done in 10 minutes FLAT. Then we ganged up on the other patients. It made a VERY tough workload a piece of cake. DO NOT underestimate your classmates. Some of them might have picked up random skills that will really help you. They are also invaluable when you forget your stethoscope or drug guide.

5. There is ALWAYS time to pee- unless you are actually DOING COMPRESSIONS OR BAGGING A PATIENT, there is time to pee. Don't get into the habit of denying yourself basic physical needs like a quick bathroom break, or ducking behind the nurses station or into the breakroom for a bite of a powerbar or a drink of water. You wouldn't deny these things to a patient without a damn good reason, don't deny them to yourself. Masochism is SO counterproductive.

6. You will get through it. Really. Then you'll be panicking about job searching instead. :-p


the observer said...

Excellent advice. Power Point is of the Devil. Banish it.

People should go to class. You really DO learn stuff there.

I am old enough that computers and such were not available to take into class. I didn't start seeing computers in class until the early 1990s. Old fashioned hand note taking is still the best.

Working with others will be your life in health care--might as well get used to it now.

You are of no use to the patient if you are not in good shape. What was drilled into us in EMT school? Check a scene for safety first! Self care is critical.

Boards yet for you, little d. SN? I guess not until you are a GN! I'm so old I took mine with a #2 pencil in mid June at the same time as everyone in the country! Now, that's a topic!

little d, S.N. said...

Boards after August 2nd. And I am SO glad it's computerized. :-D Even if it is scary as hell to have your retina scanned for verification.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog today and the whole thing is very reassuring....I'm in my last year of nursing, starting clinicals again in a little but and I am absolutely terrified. I just keep running over all the stuff I HAVEN'T done yet and how I'm sure it's going to happen etc etc etc....your blog reminds me to breathe and call for help when I need it ;) Thank you very much - you just saved me a panic attack or two!