As a Nurse, looking at a Nursing Student

Nurses General Nursing


What would you say impresses you the most about a new student?

How about the least? What sends you off the deep end?

How do you wish the students would appraoch you?

I am looking forward to all the help the nurses on the floor can give me but I don't want to act improperly. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

neneRN, BSN, RN

642 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma.

Let the nurses know what you are able to do, what you need help with, and most importantly, what your goals are for that day. During different stages in school, you are focused on different things based on your assignments. I always ask the student what they want to get out of the day, whether it be lots of IV starts, guidance with assessments, whatever. The nurse doesn't automatically know what you need help with or what you're able to do.

I love to teach, and I think that most nurses do. Be enthusiastic and ask LOTS of questions. Before you know it, you'll be out on your own- so get as much out of your clinical experience while you have that safety net.

I'm impressed most by the students who genuinely want to learn-those who are constantly asking what can I do?

My pet peeve is the nursing student who shows up and sits at the nursing station waiting for an opportunity to fall into her lap. They're rare, but there are those that do just that.

You'll do fine-work hard, but ENJOY your clinicals.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

a few tips from someone who graduated 5 years ago:

Be a unafraid of learning opportunities that exist....pursue them.....don't be afraid to ask ANY tells me you want to learn and won't cover up what you don't sincere.... be aware, you may be working w/me one day and i WILL remember you as a student!!!!!.... don't let nursing/medical staff intimidate you...don't let anyone mistreat you...learn now to stand up for yourself and your rights as a person in the clinical setting......use your instructors as the learning resource they are while you still have them as your safety PREPARED.....

and *don't* be in the breakroom reading comics, novels, or gossiping (yes i have seen students doing this more times than i care to recount.....even when our floor was too busy for us staff to take a break)!

i wish good luck to you. you will do great, i can already tell. you have the right attitude. just do your best and hang in there.


169 Posts

I like a student who knows both their flaws and strengths. I like a student who understands why I feel the need to watch them like a hawk, because after all, it's my licence on the line, not theirs. I like a student who is willing to get in and get their hands dirty, even if they pass out from the feral stench of a really bad code brown. I don't like students who hide in the toilets all day because the only thing they'll learn in there is how frequently nurses go to the loo because no-one will be interrupting them there. :) Most of all, I like a student who can share a laugh with me and realise it's not the end of the world if something doesn't go to plan. I like students who can talk to the patients with ease.

I'm pretty pleased with the students I've met so far. Thankfully, I've only met one really feral student who didn't have a clue and didn't want to be there. The others are always a pleasure to be around.


4,516 Posts

I've seen lots of encouragement to 'ask a lot of questions'. I appreciate the student who is astute enough to realize the nurses are frequently multi-tasking and short staffed...very very busy... and knows when NOT to interrupt with questions.

I appreciate the student who communicates well...asks me 'when would a good time be to sit down and talk about my assignment or patient today' who notices the pace of the unit and adapts a I making sense here? LOL!

Nurses who volunteer to precept students LIKE students so you usually won't have a problem if you use your people skills. The patients have to come first and with our shortage we are frequently short staffed and hectic. If we get cranky it is usually not personal...we are human too and sometimes stuff gets to us....recognizing the hectic pace we often function in and blending in a bit will take you far. :)

You asked what sets us off....well, my pet peeve is related to my statements above.... ones that talk constantly about themselves, their experiences, their goals..(like a 5 year me me)....some never learn and still do it as new grads and can't figure out why the other nurses aren't real friendly to them.....

Nurses are mostly good folks working in less than perfect conditions ......some handle the stress better than and learn.

Good luck...I'm sure you will do just fine!! :)

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.
Originally posted by rhona1

What would you say impresses you the most about a new student?

How about the least? What sends you off the deep end?

How do you wish the students would appraoch you?

I am looking forward to all the help the nurses on the floor can give me but I don't want to act improperly. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Great questions to ask us old timers in nursing, rhona1...:)

The thing that impresses me the most about a new student is his/her eagerness to learn. They come to clinicals excited with a smile on their face and an attitude to match. Do your best to maintain a disposition like this, and don't let the stress get you down to the point of losing touch with why you want to become a nurse in the first place. :)

The thing that least impresses me the most about a new student is when they are easily frustrated and want to quit before giving nursing a try. It's a transitional shock going from the textbooks, lab, and nursing instructors to the clinical setting where you will see so many strange and unbelievable sights, knowing one day you will be the one calling the shots in regards to your own patients. Just relax, breathe easy, and know that every nurse begins as a nursing student, and becoming a graduate nurse still gives one the jitters initially. ;)

Things that sent me off the deep end were nursing students who were impatient to learn and lazy in their approach to becoming a nurse. Most students are eager to learn, but there are some that have an attitude unfitting for working with sick people. Made me wonder why the heck they were in nursing school. :rolleyes:

I like students to feel comfortable in approaching me, so I always take the first initiative to break the barrier of fear present in them by introducing myself to them, letting them know I am there for them if they have any questions, or would like to watch any procedures I may have to do on patients, etc. Since I use to teach clinicals to CNA students, and worked as a preceptor of new nursing grads before, I understand firsthand the questions that pervade students and new grads minds when it comes to working with the "seasoned nurses" for the first time. When I worked Pediatrics, pedi student nurses were always tailing after me, asking me things, etc. before they would approach other nurses on the unit. Their instructor told my Nurse Manager nice things that the students said about me, so I knew whatever I was doing to help them was indeed what they liked to receive from a seasoned nurse. :)


6,620 Posts

I absolutely love working with students because the vast majority are really excited about nursing and eager to learn anything they can. They are also at the point where they remember the importance of the little things (like backrubs, etc.) are to patients. Any student who wants to learn and is not afraid to tell me her limitations is welcome with me.

The only students I don't like are the ones who always talk about how much they hate nursing, how horrible their patient is, how they can't wait till they are a nurse so they can delegate all the crap jobs to LPNs or how they only became nurses for the money or to meet a handsome doc. Ick.

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