I've been reading through the posts from the last few days, and I'm completely astonished by the "us" vs "them" mentality that is showing up between the nursing students and the staff nurses.
Maybe I'm idealistic, but shouldn't we be trying to work as cohesively as possible so that we can combine forces and provide the best care possible for our patients? It seems to me like we're both equally to blame for the issues that seem to be going on. On one hand, it seems like nursing students need to be more willing to contribute and gain some perspective, realizing that while the staff nurse should *try* to teach us, it isn't their main focus. On the other hand, it seems like a lot of staff nurses are going into clinical situations with a negative attitude about working with students, which I really think can only make matters worse.
Can we really care for patients effectively if we're not on the same page and being professional to each other? I personally don't think so. I think that in any customer service business, having issues behind the scenes like this WILL impact the patient. And I'm so tired of all the finger pointing, because both sides are making mistakes. As a student, I am more than willing to admit that I have been less than enthusiastic when asked to perform something I've done a million times. It happens, and when I realize I've done it I try to change my attitude and do better next time.
Instead of all this negativity, why can't we just try to learn from each other, and accept and navigate the limitations of the time together? Students can learn SO much from staff nurses, and (believe it or not) once in a while a staff nurse can learn a new thing from a student. If we can accept that we're all (hopefully) intelligent individuals united in the fact that we chose nursing to help the patients, and see each other as imperfect people who face constrictions based on our role, it seems like everything would go more smoothly.
I know that it's not all nurses and students that are acting this way....it's just incredibly discouraging to see such a lack of teamwork from the members of this community. At the end of the day, all the students of today will be your coworkers soon, staff nurses. And students, soon we'll all have students that stress us out and make more work for us. Can't we accept that and learn from each other?
Sorry for the ranting....I guess my point is this:
Let's meet halfway.
Students: The nurses are stressed out and busy. Try to help. Ask what THEY want you to do. Tell them that you understand they are busy, but that you would appreciate anything they can teach you. SAY THANK YOU. Realize that it's about the patient. If that means that you miss getting to d/c a central line, there is always next time. If it means that you have to help out what with ADLS, I/Os, etc...realize that you WILL learn from that as well. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn anything you can, and always try to be understanding.
Nurses: Realize that a lot of students *do* realize that you don't want us around. We know that it's not your choice to have a student, but realize that we're not there to ruin your day. Realize that most students want to learn from you and value/idolize how much you know. We're sorry that we're often thought of as an annoyance or an extra task, because all we want is to learn from you so that we can care for our pts as well as you do.
Communicate with us. Today, I worked with a nurse who had 2 pts and was getting her 3 admits all at once. All it took was her saying to me "hey, I'm super busy right now. Can you keep an eye on pt 1 and 2 while I admit these new pts? I'll come find you when it calms down or if there is something I think you could really learn from". Seriously, 3 sentences and I was able to feel like I was helping and not simply being ignored. I don't care how busy you are, but communicating with your team (and a student is a part of that team) is such a priority.
Like I said, maybe I'm just idealistic. But from my experience with other jobs and life in general, if we can just take a deep breath and do our best to make the "behind the scenes" dynamics positive, it will help our patients. Because at the end of the day, that's what ALL of us really want, right?
Quote from Orange Tree
Yes, you're being idealistic. Students don't do much to contribute to the "best care possible" of patients. They're there to learn. I do try to make students feel welcome, but they are not a valuable part of the team just yet....they will be someday, but not just not quite yet.
I do see what you're saying and can understand it, especially depending on where the student is in their education. However, it isn't really fair to punish students and write them off as useless simply because they are students. And my point was more that staff nurses should try to accept that we are students and they're simply trying to become RNs. And that students should understand that teaching us can't always be the staff nurse's primary concern. I've been on the "teacher" side of similar situations in other settings, so I can (to a point) see what it's like for the staff nurses. But I've also found that the units that function best and are known for their patient care are the units that attempt to be positive about the student/staff nurse relationship. I know it's impossible not to get frustrated--I'm not 12 years old, I get it. I know what it's like to work with new people who slow you down and drive you batty. But getting ourselves into this pointing fingers, negative mentally can't HELP patients. It's draining emotionally, and it doesn't really benefit anyone.
Last edit by DL-SNUP on Sep 30, '11
Quote from Flo.
Pleural aspiration other wise known as a thoracentesis?
No, but it was similar. The surgeon had placed a semi-permanent tube into the pt's pleura and out the skin that allowed us to use luer lock syringes to remove fluid from her pleura. They actually do it quite a bit on the peds floor I'm on right now.
Last edit by DL-SNUP on Sep 30, '11