Book Smart or Common Sense? Book Smart or Common Sense? | allnurses

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Book Smart or Common Sense?

  1. 0 This question is for nursing students who are in their second Semester and up. How do you think a person who is more technically inept and has a lot of common sense will do in clinicals? Do you think it's better to have Common Sense or book smarts. I recently had a baby and when I was in the hospital there was a nursing student who came into my room and we started to talk anout nursing school and she was telling me that she was book smart but was having trouble because she really couldn't get the hang of anything hands on. Is there any nursing students out there who are in the same boat as me and are not really that book smart but can kick but with hands on stuff. Please let me know how you are fairing. Looking through all of these posts makes me nervous because all i keep hearing is how horrible nursing school is. I am really excited. I love hands on stuff. THANKS
  2. 16 Comments

  3. Visit  mom2michael profile page
    #1 0
    Well...I'm not in my 2nd+ semester, but we do clinicals starting our 1st semester and I've seen it go all different directions with my fellow students. I think it's important to be well rounded and know right away how you learn best. Nursing is a lot of common sense with some book stuff thrown in. What I've noticed, if you are able to use common sense and think a problem through, the book stuff seems to fit in when necessary.

    Good luck!!!!
  4. Visit  grinnurse profile page
    #2 0
    I've seen both kinds in the past two years. I have seen excellent nursing from students that have struggled through lecture and not so much content but passing the lecture exams (referring to myself) yet when in hosp setting where their common sense comes into play and they see the material in action and do fine. Then I have seen the ones who are booksmart struggle in clinicals. The ones that I am most generally referring to are the one's that don't have either a) good people skills or b) lack life experiences to compliment the lecture content. I think that alot of time common sense comes from living, making mistakes, and learning. To me, the booksmart people that can't apply information in clinical setting (some but not all) also seem to be in nursing for what I would say are for the wrong reasons too!!

    Just my observations and opinions only.
  5. Visit  All_Smiles_RN profile page
    #3 1
    This post hit home with me. I'm on the other side so to say. I guess no matter which side of the fence you're on, insecurity is part of the game while you build self confidence in your nursing capabilities and skills. I'm at the end of my 2nd semester. I consider myself to be one of the "booksmart" ones. I love lecture and grasp the concepts well. But when I get to clinical, I kinda freeze up. I'm a shy person by nature and to just to lay it out there, not the best people person. I watch some of the other girls and admire how at ease they feel about themselves with their patients and the tasks. I have noticed though, as the semster progresses, that I'm getting more comfortable in the clinical setting. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I have no doubt that if we really want this, we'll strengthen ourselves all around. Good luck to you and to all of us.
  6. Visit  Fraggle profile page
    #4 0
    I think that if you have little book sense and a lot of common sense, you can do well with the skills and getting things done. But I think you need to develop the background knowledge to really be good. That said, I think a lot of the theory is actually common sense. Some people just don't do well with theory, even if they actually could.

    Vice versa, most good theory students can be good at skills. It's fear that holds you back b/c you think "I'm not good at hands on things." The people that can't get over it are the ones with A's on all the tests and crying every day at clinical.
  7. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    #5 0
    You need to have a basic understanding of A&P and pathophysiology. Then, you take life experience, add common sense, season it with more advanced patient care skills and voila - out pops a great nurse! Good luck to all of you soon-to-graduating nurses!
  8. Visit  lil' girl profile page
    #6 0
    Well I think you need to have the book knowledge in order to suceed in clinicals too. I mean you have to be able to recognize s/s of your pt. and what to do. That is not to say however that just because you are an A student you will do super or that you are a C student that you will stink. You just need some knowledge about what your pt. is dealing with.
  9. Visit  FarmgrrlRN profile page
    #7 0
    I think in the beginning I struggled in clinicals but did well in class because I didn't have any experience in the hospital. I got a job at a hospital last summer and I think it has helped me a lot. Once you begin to feel comfortable in the environment, it helps you relax a bit and not freeze up!
  10. Visit  leslieanne profile page
    #8 0
    I think the most important thing to remember here, is that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I started nursing school with no relevant experience and was pretty concerned about how I would do in clinicals. I'm also older than most of my fellow students and was worried that I wouldn't fit in. I soon found out that it didn't matter too much, not the age or inexperience.

    We have to identify our weaknesses and then focus on them and build ourselves up. I've also found out that being older, I have more confidence and more perspective than many of my classmates. For example, in regards to testing, sure I might get a little nervous, but I don't allow myself to get too worked up. It won't be the end of the world if I don't pass. ok, I'm getting off subject here.

    Also, I have a few friends at school who like the OP are good with their hands. They've been doing fine. They struggle with the theory more than I do, but they're doing fine, and have no problems with their clinicals.

  11. Visit  HyperRNRachel profile page
    #9 0
    You need a bit of both to be successful.
  12. Visit  mariedoreen profile page
    #10 0
    Quote from GWENLYN18
    How do you think a person who is more technically inept and has a lot of common sense will do in clinicals?

    Do you think it's better to have Common Sense or book smarts.

    ...a nursing student... was telling me that she was book smart but was having trouble because she really couldn't get the hang of anything hands on. Is there any nursing students out there who are in the same boat as me and are not really that book smart but can kick but with hands on stuff.
    Nursing is obviously about far more than technical skills and manual dexterity (I assume that's what you mean by "hands on stuff"). A great nurse has common sense and book smarts and knows his/her skills. Of course not everyone is perfect, so those who struggle more with running an IV pump or putting in a foley practice more to get it down and those who don't know their acids from their bases read more to get a better understanding.

    And just because some nurses carry strengths in one area as opposed to another does not a better nurse make. A wise nurse (or student) embraces their strengths and works on their weaknesses... and then supports their peers by helping them to do the same.

    Nothing IMO is more concerning than a student who expresses the opinion that skills are what make the nurse and the "book stuff" is simply something to get through. I once heard someone say that in the real world a nurse did not need to understand dose math because the "pumps do all that for you." :stone
  13. Visit  purplemania profile page
    #11 0
    most adults are tactile learners. The skills we perform in nursing are really the easiest part though. That is why LVN's have limited scope in their practice, because they do not have the theory to support some types of decision making. The best of course, is to balance skills and knowledge and know when to use which. Sorta like talking and doing. A wise person should know when to shut up.
  14. Visit  ckh23 profile page
    #12 0
    I agree with most saying that both are important, but I feel the common sense is a little more important. I have classmates that are booksmart with no common sense, common sense and not booksmart, and those who have neither (scary). I think of myself on the more of the common sense side. I'm smart and I can grasp what is said in lecture and what read if I study it enough, but I find myself doing better in clinical with practical application. My feeling is you can be the smartest person in your class and know everything about anything, but if you cannot apply it to your patients care, your not doing the patient any good.