How do you develop your mastery after nursing school?

  1. 0 Hello, dear RNs, today as I face the honorable merging of my life into the respected career of nursing in just few short weeks, there is one thing that I really wanted to ask all the experienced nurses on this forum.

    I had an instructor back when I was level 1, and she literally knew EVERYTHING about nursing, from diagnosis to interventions, s/s, research data. Since then, I admired mastery and "knowing your stuff" like her, and really looking forward to learning about whole bunch of stuff to increase my knowledge in nursing and other healthcare aspects.

    I understand that nursing journal is a good place to start, and also nursing/medical research journals are also good resources. Anyways, what do you do to become the "super-knowledgeable, sharpest nurse" in your own time? Do you read journals, textbooks, go to classes, etc? I would love for you all to post some advices for me to excel as a nurse after academic setting. Sincerely, thank you.
  2. Visit  tarotale profile page

    About tarotale

    tarotale has '1' year(s) of experience. From 'Irving, TX, US'; Joined Apr '11; Posts: 455; Likes: 427.

    12 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  emtb2rn profile page
    10
    Same way you get to Carnegie Hall - - - practice, practice, practice.
    nrsang97, elkpark, WeepingAngel, and 7 others like this.
  4. Visit  Tait profile page
    7
    A commitment to lifelong learning. What I find I love about nursing is, as I got more into it, the more I wanted to know. I use Medscape a lot to keep up on new meds/techniques/management. Nice thing about Medscape is that it's free and you can have it on your phone. However, what I suggest, before investing money i journals you won't look at for awhile, is to use what is at your fingertips. Your patients.

    Take the time to get into their charts as you work. Think about comorbidities how those affect their primary diagnosis, and start looking for patient patterns. You will often see CHF, DM II, and HTN presenting in patient after patient. Get used to how those work together on a daily basis.

    Once you are becoming fluent in your patient population, then start looking for information outside of what you can get directly at work.

    Nursing changes all the time, along with best practice, and medicine. Learn to follow those patterns and changes and you will find your strength as a nurse increasing. However, don't focus on "I want to be a super nurse" because if you are dedicated to your profession that will show.
    joanna73, SoldierNurse22, Esme12, and 4 others like this.
  5. Visit  tarotale profile page
    1
    @tait thank you for the awesome advice! I whole-heartedly agree with you; at first I just cared about attaining degree and passing classes, but over course of years, my mind really appreciate the fulfillment and joy of simply knowing more and honing my mastery. I am sure we all see some nurses who are fine with stagnation, but I see it as a death penalty. Since I am at the novice level, it's not easy to connect actual patient case&scenario into nursing knowledge, but I am sure that will come with time? Thank you for your supportive advice, and I will heed it!
    Tait likes this.
  6. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    3
    Take advantage of all the nursing-related continuing ed you can lay your hands on. If you are interested in one particular specialty, join its professional organization, read its journal, and attend its annual conferences. Buy books that look interesting and read them. I did this when I was a new nurse in critical care and it set me up for a lifetime of continuing learning. (Note: all of the above are tax-deductible, too.)
    joanna73, donsterRN, and dishes like this.
  7. Visit  Tait profile page
    0
    Quote from GrnTea
    Take advantage of all the nursing-related continuing ed you can lay your hands on. If you are interested in one particular specialty, join its professional organization, read its journal, and attend its annual conferences. Buy books that look interesting and read them. I did this when I was a new nurse in critical care and it set me up for a lifetime of continuing learning. (Note: all of the above are tax-deductible, too.)
    Wait...tax deductible?
  8. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    2
    Quote from Tait
    Wait...tax deductible?
    Yep. You can't deduct the cost of a basic education, but after that, books, conferences, and professional memberships are generally deductible. Certifications, too. If you travel to a conference, you can usually deduct some portion of your meals while you're there, too.

    Contact a qualified tax person for details about your current state and federal regs on this. You'll be pleased.
    SoldierNurse22 and Esme12 like this.
  9. Visit  ♪♫ in my ♥ profile page
    5
    Quote from Tait
    A commitment to lifelong learning. What I find I love about nursing is, as I got more into it, the more I wanted to know. I use Medscape a lot to keep up on new meds/techniques/management. Nice thing about Medscape is that it's free and you can have it on your phone. However, what I suggest, before investing money i journals you won't look at for awhile, is to use what is at your fingertips. Your patients.

    Take the time to get into their charts as you work. Think about comorbidities how those affect their primary diagnosis, and start looking for patient patterns. You will often see CHF, DM II, and HTN presenting in patient after patient. Get used to how those work together on a daily basis.

    Once you are becoming fluent in your patient population, then start looking for information outside of what you can get directly at work.

    Nursing changes all the time, along with best practice, and medicine. Learn to follow those patterns and changes and you will find your strength as a nurse increasing. However, don't focus on "I want to be a super nurse" because if you are dedicated to your profession that will show.
    And don't neglect the opportunity to learn from the experts: the MDs, RTs, and RPhs. I regularly interact with these folks and most of them will happily share their expertise to an interested learner.

    If at all possible, round with the doc.

    Look at the nurses who have "it" and get in tight with them... it's really easy to do if you're (a) courteous and (b) willing to help out even without being asked.

    As a nurse, you have access to myriad experts to help you grow. Be proactive in seeking their wisdom and knowledge.
  10. Visit  MN-Nurse profile page
    5
    Quote from emtb2rn
    Same way you get to Carnegie Hall - - - practice, practice, practice.
    Those nurses you admire for their mastery learned a lot of their lessons the hard way. I once asked a Red Cross Nurse sticking me for a platelet donation, "How do you get so good at that?"

    She replied, "You screw it up."
    sbostonRN, joanna73, SoldierNurse22, and 2 others like this.
  11. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    0
    Practice, Practice, Practice.....picking the brains of everyone around me. Nursing magazines. I got the books for certification exams and studied studied studied....Like everyone has said....a life long commitment.
  12. Visit  trueblue2000 profile page
    0
    The answer to your question is found in Patricia Benner's seminal book "From novice to expert", where she explains the process of becoming an expert nurse starting out of school. I read this book after nursing school and really wished I had read it earlier on. The biggest myth that she dispels is equating experience with expertise. All expert nurses are experienced she states, but not all experienced nurses are experts. She says, and has the research to prove it, that you can have 20 years of bedside nursing experience and still be a novice nurse as far as your nursing competence, skills and judgement are concerned. What creates an expert nurse is not the passage of time but really a deliberate and purposeful attitude of learning and reflecting on your work, knowing why you are doing something, the rationale for your interventions, the scientific principles behind it, and evaluating what works and what doesn't. It is very different from the almost mechanical way in which most nurses operate, mindlessly performing actions they don't understand the basis of and never reflecting what they are doing, if it works or not. Benner thinks it takes about 5 years of working in such a way to become an expert nurse. Another point that she makes is that nursing expertise is specialty specific. Say you are an expert med surge nurse and decides to transfer to the ER, you will revert back to novice status, almost to the level of expertise of a new grad, with the 5 year period resetting. She makes a very compelling case to sticking to specialty if your objective is to become an expert nurse.
  13. Visit  BlueDevil,DNP profile page
    1
    Most experts believe takes 10,000 hours of practice to competence, and 20,000 hours to excellence (not to Nursing specifically, but any discipline). You are just at the beginning. Don't put so much pressure on yourself! Read a good journal, go to conferences, soak it all in. It will come in time. You can't rush greatness.
    joanna73 likes this.
  14. Visit  WeepingAngel profile page
    0
    I just wanted to add, the expert nurses I've worked with don't always have the answer to every question, but aren't afraid to say they don't know.


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