Dear Nurse, What would you like to see from us Student Nurses????


It is my first semester of my Alternate Entry Master's program. It is our first time in the hospital and me and my classmates have come across a variety of nurses who we have shadowed.

I know each nurse does their own thing and has their own system, but many of my classmates have come in the line of fire for not following what a certain nurse wants us to be doing (I've only witnessed this and not been the subject of it). In defense of the nurses, some of my classmates deserved to be disciplined as they kind of stood back watching.

I am in no means perfect and would like to get better so I can build good rapor with the nurses I work with and to help me become efficient, especially since next semester we have longer shifts and will be having 2 patients instead of one.

So to my "overseeing nurses"...for my future as a student nurse, what are certain things that you would suggest I always do to help YOU out?

This is how I go in for the day (Note: we're only at the hospital for 4 hours currently and assigned to 1 patient):

- Information from client chart from day before. We go home and research pt's diagnosis and current plan of care

- be there for report

- as report ends, state what I will be doing and what we are and are not capable/allowed to do as our current status of nursing students

- pass meds (only PO, subq and IM now... we'll be able to do IV next semester), do AM care (help with feeding, bed, sheet change)... we have to do a meds check off with our instructor.

- if my patient wants to rest/refuses AM care, ask if you need anything from me... if not, go see if my classmates need help.

Anything else you can suggest for me to do to make YOUR day go more smoothly?


564 Posts

Specializes in ICU, PACU, Cath Lab.

OK..this is what I want..for you not to take the only chair at the nurses station, to be on the internet or text messaging all day. When I come to you and offer you a skill...for you to respond "Oh I have already done that skill." or the ever popular " I am not here to learn to be an aide...I do not...clean, feed, or bathe..."

In return, I will get you as many skills as I can, some will not be exciting, but trust me when the good ones come I will get you! I will teach you as much as I can in the time you are there...and I will be eternally gratefull if you help me turn and clean and maybe empty my foley!!

Good Luck in school!!

Wise Woman RN

289 Posts

On our unit, I have to cosign everything that you do, so please bring me the chart with any notes you have made. Please let me go over the meds with you before you administer them. If you notice any changes or anything that is not within normal limits, please tell me. If you have any questions at all, anything, please, come and ask them. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. It's ok to begin to listen to your "gut feelings," just share them. And really try to get around the stress and nervousness, so you can enjoy your time in clinical. All the best...


189 Posts

Specializes in Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

-Please ask me before you take the chart away from where you found it first thing in the morning. I was in your shoes not so long ago and thoroughly understand what is expected of you by your instructor, BUT...when I am trying to close out charts and get the heck out of there in the morning, missing charts are very very bad.

- Don't take the last chair at the nurses station.

- Don't congregate in a high traffic area and ignore me when I politely try to pass through.

- Do ask lots of questions.

- Do volunteer for the least favorite skills from time to time. It's important to be able to turn, bath, and feed a pt. You may not always have an assistant to help with these things.

- Do have a positive attitude.

Good luck in school!

diane227, LPN, RN

1,941 Posts

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

Be on time and find your patients mar. Flag that mar with your name and the fact that you are the student who will be caring for this patient until ___ time and will be giving all ____ meds. Find the charge nurse and find out what nurse will be having that patient. Introduce yourself and if possible, after she gets report on all her other patients, have a short discussion on what her expectations of you are. Some nurses like to involve you in other patients care so you get a more wide variety of experience. Some want to limit you to your patients only. It is important to ask for what you need. If you need to put in a foley, say so and people will try to find opportunities for you. Some just leave you with your patient and give you no back up unless you ask for it. Some will not explain anything to you unless you ask. If the patient looks funny, go tell the nurse. If he/ she blows you off, call your instructor. If you are having trouble communicating with a particular nurse, notify your instructor at once. Most nurses however are glad to have students as long as they are anxious to learn, ask questions and keep up with their patients. As the charge nurse on my floor, nothing makes me more angry than to walk around and find my students standing or sitting around doing nothing. You should be reading charts (getting used to where to find information on a chart like the operative reports etc), reviewing labs and looking them up to see what each result means, etc. Take your downtime to learn things that will be useful to you in the future. And don't let me catch you sitting around when your patient needs something. Bad idea. And come find the charge nurse also if you need help. Most charge nurses are more than willing to help out a student. After all, you will be taking care of us in our old age. When I was in nursing school, I was everywhere, following everyone around. I worked as a student nurse (CNA) and in school I was persistent. I just bugged everyone but what I found was that most nurses would, if they could find a student to do it, would gladly let them do what ever it was. I felt very prepared after getting out of school. So well prepared in fact that my first job out of school was as the charge nurse of a 42 bed post op CV floor. (This was a long time ago however, before all the paper work!!!). So just get out there and do it. Don't be shy. This is your time to learn and you better do it now because once you go to work, there are just some things that you will be expected to know.


45 Posts

Thank you all for your feedback... I really appreciate it.

Some things to me seem simple (I don't bring my cell phone to the hospital and am too afraid of the nursing station so I go only to the computers that you can use standing up in the hallways though I do have classmates that disregard both so I guess its not that simple).

I appreciate your encouragement to ask questions. I always ask questions but feel like I am hounding you. Its good to know that questions are appreciated and encouraged.

Do students for you not bathe, feed or do changing? that to me seems ridiculous and I'm sorry you had students like that... I take it as part of my job, especially since my skill set is so limited and I know how helpful it can be.

And on behalf of us students, we appreciate you teaching us. I hope that you have students that relay that information and appreciation. I know nursing is a tough job and with a new person, its like a whole other thing to take care of, but we very much appreciate your patience :-)


8,343 Posts

Has 18 years experience.

Answer call bells. Yes, even in rooms that don't belong to you.

Never say "there's nothing to learn from an LPN". My acute care unit is split 50/50 and unless you read the fine print on my tag, you don't know my designation.

I second the do a skill more than once thing. I hate it when I hear "I've already been checked off on xyz". You know there is a urethra out there that will defeat even the most experienced nurse. And let's not even go near narly prostrates.


931 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Med-Surg..

When you do the physical care: turn that patient over and check their backside and even under their legs, check for sores, mottled skin or anything that looks suspect and report it to your patient's shift nurse.

Clean up after yourself, this includes dressing kits, laundry etc.

If you make an error of any kind, esp. a med error, come clean and report it right away. Never try to hide it.

As mentioned above, respect your peers. They may not have a degree but they sure have more experience and you need them on your side. They have lots to teach you but you must be willing to listen to their advice even if it is not always dispensed with a teaspoon of sugar.


74 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

Wow, this is so helpful... MCNS2B, thanks for posting this thread! I love the responses and can't believe some of the things student Nurses refuse to do when asked or just don't do at all! :no:

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

If your patient is undergoing diagnostic tests or therapies off the unit, see if you can observe. Ask non-nursing healthcare professionals about their role in patient care... it will help you appreciate how much effort goes into patient care. Once you have observed a procedure and understand what it entails, it may help you to prepare future patients who undergoe the procedure.

nursej22, MSN, RN

3,139 Posts

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 38 years experience.

Perhaps this is more for instructors than students, but please have some goals specific to the unit other than just passing meds or starting IVs! I work on a busy cardiac floor and we have some pretty cool opportunities for assessments--heart and lung sounds, edema, periph. pulses, JVD, etc. but when I try to point out these out I get a blank look.

Everyone on my unit is responsible for keeping the environment clean. If the garbage can is full, empty it! With the patient's permission, clear the clutter from their room. If I have to clean up behind you I have less time to answer your questions!

If you don't get your meds passed, please tell me sooner rather than later. And if I need to complete an eval. on you, handing it to me at the same time you report meds are now 2 hours late and you have to leave will not result in a favorable eval.

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