Keeping the End in Mind

by thywillbedone_

4,979 Views | 11 Comments

This is my advice to first-year nursing students like me. Most of us have gone through short-sightedness. This article is my reminder to myself and to others on how to keep the end in mind.

  1. 11

    Keeping the End in Mind

    After going through my first semester in nursing school (now in my second), I've realized that not a lot of students are keeping the end in mind. What I mean by this, nursing students have become so stressed about "getting the A" instead of saying, "I need this knowledge for NCLEX" or "I want to learn so I can become a better nurse to provide the best care for my patients." And unfortunately, we won't always get the "A," but that's just fine.

    Yes, students like me do want to pass the NCLEX and getting that RN next to our names. But the knowledge you gain, semester by semester, suddenly disappears. Why does this happen? It's because we have become short-sighted in our goals. I'm writing this, because I, too, have become short-sighted.

    But now that I am in my second semester, I've realized why classes such as Fundamentals, Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and the rest are all intertwined, like a piece of artwork. Each subject is a color, not yet known. Each student is an artist, who constantly is changes the artwork. This artwork, my friends, is the end.

    In my nursing class, students overlook the basics, and I was one of them. We say to ourselves, that health assessment is easy and we don't need to practice. Later on, we forget that assessment is the most important thing when coming in to the patient's room. I've heard a nursing student say, "I feel incompetent when I walk into a room. I don't know where to start and what to do." But that is the reality of nursing. Unfortunately, the most we know about a patient is what the nurse tells us when changing shifts. We need to do our own assessments and know that there is always something to be done or said in a room. But of course, that comes with knowledge, experience and confidence. I'm learning that I can't just simply write what the previous nurse wrote on her Kardex or documented. A great nurse goes through the whole nursing process, for every single patient she has.

    During clinicals, grab hold of the opportunity to DO SOMETHING. Never let your clinical experience go by and all you had to do was watch. Again, there is always something new to be done, something needed to be said, and something great to be understood. Even if your patients are "stable," do something. Always strive to learn about another skill, about your patient, or about the environment that you surround yourself with. And in class, know the reason why you're learning something. Do not let your professors hinder you from learning. For instance, I've had a bad experience with pathophysiology, the professor still haunts me as my Med-surg professor, but that doesn't hinder me from learning. I read and I find lectures online. I do what I can so that I do not feel like I don't know anything. Make your nursing experience in school the absolute best. You and I have that choice to do so.

    For the first-semester students out there, know that every subject has its purpose. Be it online or in-class, you have to do your best to understand and relate the subjects to your experiences. Get the knowledge that you need and be that student who keeps the end in mind. It's hard, especially for those who want the A. But what is the grade all about, when in the future, your job and your patient's life is always on the line? By keeping the end in mind, you're doing yourself a favor. For finals or the NCLEX, studying doesn't become learning all the information all over again; but rather, review, because you did all of the hard work in learning that in your classes. And when you finally are on the floor, you're more confident and have a better understanding of your patients and their cases.

    If you want a magnificent artwork, you have to add the hues and more colors to your artwork. You got to be patient and know the strokes of the course. You have to be creative and use different brushes. Our canvas is big, and yet our short-sightedness makes our art black and white. But if you keep the end in mind, trust me, you will create and become a beautiful masterpiece.
    Last edit by Joe V on Feb 19
  2. Read more articles from thywillbedone_

  3. About thywillbedone_

    RN in the making.

    thywillbedone_ joined Feb '14. Posts: 9 Likes: 14; Learn more about thywillbedone_ by visiting their allnursesPage


    Find Similar Topics

    11 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Great article,

    but just wanted to throw out there how one does not know people's true motives, you only see the surface of your fellow colleagues worries.

    I can see you, if you knew me in real life, getting my motives confused with only being concerned with passing nursing school.

    However, I do care a lot on how what I am learning will benefit the care and safety of my future patients but do not voice this.

    It is kind of the norm in nursing school to stress on just making it or stress about what is on the NCLEX from what I have noticed. May be we should change that norm and start saying how so this is how this will help my treat my future patients.

    Just my thoughts on this subject. There is more to what meets the eyes. You can't judge people unless you are in their brains/ shoes.
    PaintedWings♥ likes this.
  5. 1
    Quote from On_a_mission92
    Great article,

    but just wanted to throw out there how one does not know people's true motives, you only see the surface of your fellow colleagues worries.

    I can see you, if you knew me in real life, getting my motives confused with only being concerned with passing nursing school.

    However, I do care a lot on how what I am learning will benefit the care and safety of my future patients but do not voice this.

    It is kind of the norm in nursing school to stress on just making it or stress about what is on the NCLEX from what I have noticed. May be we should change that norm and start saying how so this is how this will help my treat my future patients.

    Just my thoughts on this subject. There is more to what meets the eyes. You can't judge people unless you are in their brains/ shoes.
    Thank you for your comment. Of course, I don't know what peoples motives are and I never can get the full picture of my fellow colleagues. But at sometimes, once you get to know some of them, their views change. They don't seem as fired up for the future, unlike how they used to be in the beginning of the semester. Their experience in the nursing school, be it a bad experience with a professor, a horrible encounter in clinicals, or the workload of assignments and reading, overwhelms some students and decides that nursing school was a wrong choice or profession. This is a reminder for all of us that we have the decision whether or not our experiences are great or horrific. I'm not assuming that this is the case for everyone, but sometimes we need a reminder that what we do and what we are aiming to become is far greater than what we have expected. It's all about the motives, and you're definitely right about that! ☺️��
    DeepBreath likes this.
  6. 1
    Yes. When students copy each other's work or a "group" project gets done by one person or someone is cheating....I think "Hey, can't do that on the NCLEX. And what good is a nursing degree without a nursing license?"

    We recently finished the LPN portion of the program and some students wanted to sit for the test but were told by the staff they wouldn't be authorized to test because the student wasn't ready and had too high a chance of failure (messing with the school's pass rate, of course). Instead of that being a wake up call, they just continue doing what they were doing, repeating the mantra that "Cs get degrees". But C's may not get you licensed and the staff has already told you that your fundamentals are weak. Short sighted
    PaintedWings♥ likes this.
  7. 0
    I agree. This happens to students most of the time. They are trying to reach a goal and forget the idea of learning. There is actually more to those "C" grades. Maybe, this is because of the system. For instance, if you have excellent grades, people would then praise you and think that you have learned a lot. How about those students who got fair grades with excellent actual skills?
  8. 0
    Just a thought? what about the students who are struggling in nursing school and know the material but do not have good marks because of the style of tests we are taking. I do not know about your programs but mine just threw these critical thinking questions from the start.

    Honestly, I am a firm believer that critical thinking cannot be measured on pen or paper or rather an electronic questioning system (since all of the tests are online nowadays). There is a difference between answering questions and actually being the situation. Real life stimulation versus just reading words. I do not think its really possible to gauge a person's critical thinking abilities in such a way.
  9. 2
    Quote from On_a_mission92
    Just a thought? what about the students who are struggling in nursing school and know the material but do not have good marks because of the style of tests we are taking. I do not know about your programs but mine just threw these critical thinking questions from the start.

    Honestly, I am a firm believer that critical thinking cannot be measured on pen or paper or rather an electronic questioning system (since all of the tests are online nowadays). There is a difference between answering questions and actually being the situation. Real life stimulation versus just reading words. I do not think its really possible to gauge a person's critical thinking abilities in such a way.
    Part of why the questions are posed the way they are is in preparation for the NCLEX. If you can't learn how to take these types of exam questions, you'll never obtain that RN license. While the exam doesn't necessarily correlate with whether or not someone is a good nurse, it DOES manage to measure critical thinking in a pretty well-proven way. It's a matter of changing your way of thinking to "think as a nurse". You have to open yourself up to new ways of thinking, or you'll never be able to succeed long enough to earn that RN after your name.
    PaintedWings♥ and Sassenach like this.
  10. 0
    Struggling at first but doing fine now. I still don't think that critical thinking can be measured in such away but I guess it's better than having some one come out on the floor and be completely incompetent.
  11. 1
    I can see why NCLEX-style questions can be confusing (it's a good thing I learned how to answer these questions), or that critical thinking should not be measured through standardized testing. Granted, the NCLEX has been around for a long time, and the way it is implemented has been studied and the questions are all reviewed. It reminded me of how SATs or ACTs work.

    I believe that, maybe, in the future, students shouldn't just be tested on written or computerized exams. In addition to that, maybe throw in on how the students perform at a simulation experience in the nursing lab. There is always room for improvement especially on how skills, critical thinking and knowledge are being evaluated.
    On_a_mission92 likes this.
  12. 1
    Before we were allowed to pass our fundamentals lab and start clinicals, we had to pass a simulation in the lab. I'll never forget my simulation, a patient with a chest tube. I was standing there with tears in my eyes because I could not figure out what the clinical professor wanted me to do, plus she was the one who scared me to death--very serious, never smiled, very physically intimidating. Turns out she was very encouraging and just wanted me to check for subcutaneous emphysema. To this day, I get wigged out by chest tubes!

    I would say this: grades have their place. Without grades, a fair number of people would be unmotivated to actually study, and believe it or not, some of that stuff you're learning (I mean at the nuts and bolts level, not as the integrated whole you have described so well!) is going to stick in your head and come to you when you need it.

    Also, I truly believe is that being a good critical thinker is knowing the right questions to ask. What complications should I be looking for? What assessments relate to those complications? Why isn't this patient responding to meds, and what could that mean--wrong meds, wrong problem being treated? You can either know the answer or find the answer, but if you never ask the question, you're going to miss stuff. As a student, your job is to learn how to find those answers--whether by memorizing or applying or knowing how to look it up or interpret a study--and as a nurse, your job is to put the two together. That is critical thinking.

    You're wise to recognize that grades are only so important (no one cares about my fabulous GPA in nursing school now that I have a job), but don't miss the opportunity to excel and learn everything you can. Keep it in perspective--how is this piece of knowledge going to affect my patient care?--and do your best. Your best will be required when you're taking care of people, so you might as well do it now, too! If your best is B work, that's fine. It doesn't mean you won't be a fantastic nurse someday. But if your best is A work and you're barely making Bs, you're not going to learn what you have the potential to learn.

    I REALLY sound like a mom, don't I?
    On_a_mission92 likes this.


Top