New Nurse Teaching Students

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    I am a newer nurse graduated 2010. I've recently started taking on daily nursing students when they are there and if they are paired with my patients. I must say a majority of them make me VERY nervous. One young lady was in her second year BScN and didn't know how to take a blood pressure! I do my best to help but without basic skills like these I'm not sure where to begin!
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    I'm in my second year of my BSN now and clinical is just generally uncomfortable experience for me. What I have noticed is that when I'm paired with a nurse who explains everything she or he is doing to me I'm much more excited to learn. We're eager and new to this field, so we'll soak up anything you have to share with us. Concerning the student who didnt know how to take a blood pressure, maybe you could have been the one to show her the right way! I bet she (or he) would have a better chance of learning on an actual patient rather than a friend or from a book. The most uncomfortable thing for students during clinical is standing around and not really being sure of what to do--maybe try to ask the students what they've been reviewing that week (which assessment, body system, medication, etc), and then help them apply that knowledge during the day. remember, EVERYTHING is new for students, so explaining the tiniest things or letting them observe basically anything (hanging IV fluids/using a pump, wound care, foley catheter insertion, drawing blood, documenting) will be new and exciting for them to watch!
    procrastinator911 likes this.
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    ....plus will make them less nervous and better future nurses.
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    Try to be patient as much as you can. I know it can be frustrating to review skills with students that you think the students should already know, but some of them may have not been in the hospital setting or have even touched a patient for several months. Also, nerves can get the best of people. As long as you are willing to be patient and answer questions, you can't go wrong (:
  7. 0
    Quote from fm1089
    I'm in my second year of my BSN now and clinical is just generally uncomfortable experience for me. What I have noticed is that when I'm paired with a nurse who explains everything she or he is doing to me I'm much more excited to learn. We're eager and new to this field, so we'll soak up anything you have to share with us. Concerning the student who didnt know how to take a blood pressure, maybe you could have been the one to show her the right way! I bet she (or he) would have a better chance of learning on an actual patient rather than a friend or from a book. The most uncomfortable thing for students during clinical is standing around and not really being sure of what to do--maybe try to ask the students what they've been reviewing that week (which assessment, body system, medication, etc), and then help them apply that knowledge during the day. remember, EVERYTHING is new for students, so explaining the tiniest things or letting them observe basically anything (hanging IV fluids/using a pump, wound care, foley catheter insertion, drawing blood, documenting) will be new and exciting for them to watch!
    Trust me I love to teach and when I was a student I swore when I became a nurse I would be great with the students I taught. It felt like when I was a student nobody had time for me. And now I understand why. I am so busy with my patients that I rarely have time for lunch, let alone chatting with and teaching the students. I feel horrible for this but I don't want my patient care to suffer either.
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    Understandable. A lot of the time I feel like I'm getting in the way of the nurse at clinical for that exactly reason. It's not your fault!! Maybe when the student gets there you can give them tasks to do to lessen your load--vitals and such. Even if a student doesn't know how to take a blood pressure they should be able to figure out how to watch for respirations lol. Don't feel guilty if you're having a super busy day, but even if you just talk out loud about what youre doing while you're working with your patient, the students will learn from you.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
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    My approach would be to direct them to a resource to learn how they're supposed to do it (e.g. their instructor, the web, a book) and then have them come back and give it a shot on a real patient. One of the biggest things to learn in nursing school (and any other course of study) is how to learn for yourself; that's what you would be encouraging
    Fiona59 and DizzyLizzyNurse like this.
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    OP, I understand completely. I also graduated in 2010. I started working in May of 2011. I was already precepting by June of 2012.

    At first, it freaked me out. I felt just like you do--I'm new, what the heck can I teach someone? There are surely more experienced nurses to pair with these students.

    But 1) I didn't have a choice and 2) I started to realize (like you did) that I enjoy students and I like teaching. A couple of posters have already pointed out what I hang onto when I find myself precepting a newbie or a student: they are (for the most part) very interested in learning and eager to watch/hear you explain things, even if they don't get as much hands on if they want. Like you said, you can't let your patient care suffer, but you can absolutely try to include the preceptee as much as you can.

    I worried a lot about the fact that I was super new as well and still learning when I started precepting. I was barely a year more experienced than some of my preceptees. What if they had questions that I didn't know the answer to? I learned very quickly to be completely honest with them. Even some of my preceptors who had been RNs for 20 years or so had to look things up every now and then. Even a situation that might be somewhat embarrassing for you (feeling like you don't know enough) can be invaluable to a new nurse/student because it teaches them what to do when they don't know something and they're on their own, which as we both know, is a situation they will certainly find themselves in.

    So the best advice I can give you: be honest, be available, teach them how to do their jobs correctly and most of all, don't be afraid to say, "I don't know. Let's look that up together."
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    I can understand a student being nervous but I can't understand students not able to do vitals when they start clinicals. I would be looking for an instructor to help with this! When I have a student the first thing I ask after report is what they will be doing for their pt that day. I need to know if they are doing basic care and or meds. If they aren't doing meds they usually have looked up that pt meds so I take them with me when I give them. Having students is hard but I know they appreciate anything we can teach them.
    Fiona59, TnRN43, HouTx, and 1 other like this.


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