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Do you feel you were adequately prepared to practice nursing when you graduated?

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Do you feel you were adequately prepared to practice nursing when you graduated from nursing school? Give us your opinion, comments or suggestions by posting a reply to this message. Please include the type of school you graduated from, for example: ADN, BSN, Diploma, LPN etc...

After you post your feelings, visit our homepage http://wwnurse.com / and vote "yes" or "no" on our survey, and see the current results of the survey. Thanks


Brian Short

WORLDWIDE NURSE: The Internet's Nursing Directory


[This message has been edited by bshort (edited January 13, 2000).]

I graduated in 1995 from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR, one of the top BSN programs in the country. I did not feel adequately prepared to practice nursing when I graduated. Faced with a patient in pain or need, I could analyze their condition, look up drugs, explain how they worked, calculate dosages, and I could write a hell of a paper about their condition , but I couldn't do one darn thing for this sick and needy person in front of me. We needed a lot more hands-on than we got, and the explanation was always that we would learn it all on our first job. I left nursing school without, I feel, the foundation of patient care that my ADN collegues had; was totally unable to chart; and I was woefully uninformed about the legal consequences of what I was doing. Sure, we talked about this in school, for an hour in one class. Nothing beats hands-on, in-the-hospital work, and I would rather have gotten that as a student with some oversight. I really did not feel ready to practice when I graduated.

I graduated in '92 from Grace General Hospital School of Nursing as an RN. Did I feel prepared to practice? Are you kidding? I was INVINCIBLE!!!! Then I got out into the real world!! Like the previous poster said, I had all the head knowledge I could need, but wasn't really TOTALLY prepared for all the little "extras" you need to know about caring for people. We had TONS of clinical time, but I think that we were so focused on seeing the medical need, and how to "fix" it, we lost out in seeing the PERSON suffering from the malady. I guess what I am saying is that it takes more than SCHOOLING to become a good NURSE. And what you need can only be gained thru experience. Who can "teach" you to sit at a bedside of a dying person, or comfort that family after the patient's passing? Who can "teach" you to deal with those dang doctors that think they are God's gift?? Who can "teach" you those "shortcuts" we all use and love??? I plan to keep learning and experiencing right up until I retire!! smile.gif


This is a glass half-full/half-empty question. I think that my diploma program (20 years ago) did a good job of the basic goal of preparing me to be a beginning basic nurse practitioner (bedside nurse). There were tons of situations that I wasn't ready to cope with; there were tons of settings that I would have floundered in [that's probably still true], but education in a profession such as ours is truly only the beginning. I think in a perfect world new grads would do year long nursing internships, but that ain't gonna happen.

Given that nursing school cannot imbue you with lots of knowledge and lots of experience suitable for every (even entry level) position, we all have to start somewhere and I was at a reasonable starting point. But I wouldn't repeat my first year of practice for a million bucks....;-o

Originally posted by bshort:

Do you feel you were adequately prepared to practice nursing when you graduated from nursing school? Give us your opinion, comments or suggestions by posting a reply to this message. Please include the type of school you graduated from, for example: ADN, BSN, Diploma, LPN etc...

After you post your feelings, visit our homepage http://wwnurse.com / and vote "yes" or "no" on our survey, and see the current results of the survey. Thanks

I graduated from nursing school 25 years ago. Originally enrolled in a BSN program, I transferred to an AD program because I wanted to be a bedside nurse. While my AD program gave me more clinical time than the BSN program, I still did not feel that I was adequately prepared to practice as a nurse. I had the ability to assess, plan, and implement care, but lacked some of the clinical skills necessary such as inserting IV's, NG's and foleys. The confidence that I had in myself came from the time I spent working as a nurses' aid while I went to school. However, life has taught me that all learning doesn't take place at the same time and that I will be learning until the day I die. I think that nursing schools understand that not everything can be taught before graduation. What they need to get across to the students is that what they learn in school is only a foundation, that the student will have to build the building. Many hospitals have recognized that the graduate nurse does not have all the skills needed and have established internship and preceptor programs. We need to continue helping new nurses gain confidence in themselves and their newly learned skills so that one day they can pass along their confidence to another new nurse. It just takes practice, practice, practice. A few years ago a new nurse asked me "How did you get so good at starting IV's?" I told her, "Do it for 20 years and you'll get good at it." Let's keep helping each other succeed. Zig Ziglar has said that if we help enough people get what they want, we'll get what we want. And I want to help a lot of other people become nurses so I don't have to take care of my fellow nurses when we are 80 years old.

Originally posted by bshort:

Do you feel you were adequately prepared to practice nursing when you graduated from nursing school? Give us your opinion, comments or suggestions by posting a reply to this message. Please include the type of school you graduated from, for example: ADN, BSN, Diploma, LPN etc...

Hello, I am sooo glad to finally see something written on this subject. I graduated last May from a BSN program and I have recently discovered how much they did not teach me. I can take care of a patient by writing and designing a care plan, giving meds, knowing the meds i give, tasks, etc. but there are so many things i was not prepared for.........like the bilateral violence and ignorance.......the legality of EVERTHING i do and the mistrust of all those around me! It maked me wonder just how long i will last. Home health care is looking better all the time! Oh yes they did teach me how to write a great paper, which at this point in my career is a wasted talent!!

I am one of those who was trained in a hospital setting, graduating in 1967. I had a broad base of clinical settings. In reality, nursing school prepares us for starting to be nurses. The resources of technology and knowledge in health care are constantly changing. The art aspect of nursing requires us to constantly relearn and grow in our practice. The "fact" of today will be tomorrow's outdated approach.


I Graduated in 1981 from a Hospital based Nursing programme where most of the time we spent learning how to nurse and the rest was spent at Colledge.

I Graduated 3 years later at the Johannesburg General Hospital, working at a teaching Hospital and being involved in the Clinical setting from Day one I thought taught me how to Nurse, and i was convinced i knew how for Many years.

It was only after I completed post Graduate Training in Paediatrics,Trauma and Intensive Care some 10 years later did i realise how little i actually did know.

The little you are taught makes you bold enough to believe you know it all, the more qualified you get the more you realise you did not know.

Yes, I feel I was adequately prepared immediately after graduating. I went to a Diploma school, and we did hands on care in the area of study. We worked in the morning and went to school in the afternoon.

During our last 6 months we students ran a floor, with each of us having a turn at each level required for optimum patient care; ie;nursing assisstant,LPN,RN,floor nurse, charge/head nurse and supervisor. We were monitored by our instructors as well as peer review. It was a valuable tool when in a few weeks time most of us were in the work force.

When I returned for my BSN I saw a vastly different approach, it had been 7 years. Now hands on was limited to 1 or 2 hours a week if that much and the patient's were most always self care. The generic students felt poorly prepared and didn't hesitate to say so.

I'm sorry that Diploma schools are mostly a thing of the past. I feel blessed from being a graduate of one.

Originally posted by bshort:

Do you feel you were adequately prepared to practice nursing when you graduated from nursing school? Give us your opinion, comments or suggestions by posting a reply to this message. Please include the type of school you graduated from, for example: ADN, BSN, Diploma, LPN etc...

I am a graduate of a Diploma program (1967)and I just finished a nursing update program to have my RN reinstated (I lapsed it 20 years ago to enter another field.) I was pleasantly surprised how much I knew and could effectively apply. I was sometimes appalled by the younger (2-5 years ago graduates from various ADN and BSN programs) students lack of "basic" nursing care techniques. Paperwork was the big focus! An update clinical instructor once directed me to tell an 80 year old patient my physical assessment needed to be done during her breakfast because I had paperwork to do. I don't think the instructor appreciated my reply. I watched as nurses ignored patient call lights to do paperwork,but was more concerned when I answered the lights but had no means to even identify if a patient could have drink of water because of the current process - no centralized Kardex. I think I was prepared properly because four nurses were responsible for 30 patients and we had to function as a team communicating verbally and in written effectively to care for the patients we actually talked to and listened to. My final evaluation from the update program contained one criticism - I should stop talking to these patients about their lives because I had to get the paperwork done faster. All I wanted was a computer program and laptop like I have worked at for the last 20 years to do the paperwork. kmc

I graduated 2 years ago from Rose State College with an ADN degree. I feel that I was adequately prepared to begin my career upon graduation, mainly in part to my instructors. They are all also still working in their respective specialties besides teaching, and were constantly telling us that we could in no way be exposed to every thing we needed to see and do during nursing school. That we needed to remeber the basics and not be afraid to ask questions. they did go the extra mile in allowing themselves to be "guinea pigs" for us to practice basics of I.V. starting and made sure everyone got the chance to Team Lead. They also went the extra mile to find a patient that needed to have a foley started or dc'd. Thanks to my wonderful instructors I realized I still had alot to learn.

I feel that I was in no way prepared for the reality of nursing after completeing my training. In Australia we undertake a 3 year Bachelor's degree program, and then have the opportunity to enter a new graduate transition program offered by the individual hospitals.

After one week of hospital orientation I was placed on the ward (a cardiac step-down unit) and after 1 super-numery day I was given my own patient load and expected to function as one of the team.

I was lost. From the beginning I felt overwhelmed and unprepared. If the nurse educator had not taken such an interest in the progress of each new graduate I surely would not be working in nursing now.

I have now been registered for 1 year and still find that at times the "basics" and "commonsense" of nursing elude me. As nurses it is all to easy to get into the "it will be all right" thinking. For some of us time and appropriate guidance are what is required to make safe, competent nurses.

I graduated in '83 from an ADN program: Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. I feel the program did the absolute best possible in the time allotted. However, I had been an Army Combat Medic (Vietnam), EMT, Paramdedic before entering nursing school. I'm sure my feelings would be different if I hadn't entered school with that experience. But I think that would be the same no matter where you went. I still clearly remember the fine teachers I had there. They truly cared about their craft. PS: I have since become disabled due to mandatory overtime (foot injury) and can no longer practice clinical nursing. Nursing schools now need to educate students in avoiding the dangers of toxic work environments! Yes, times have changed!


The most important thing I learned in nursing school was to "ask if you don't know" and that noone can know everything. They stressed the importance of experienced staff members and looking for a job that offers an adequate orientation.

I graduated two years ago from Edgewood College, a small private college in WI with a BSN. My experience as a CNA before and during school gave me the advantage of being comfortable in relating to my patients as people during clinicals. I felt that many of my classmates who were expeirencing direct care for the first time were at a great disadvantage by not being able to focus on the skills of nursing because they were too overwhelmed by trying to be comfortable with such personal contact.

When I entered a BSN program I worried about a lack of clinical time due to all the stories of how 4 year programs are all book work but found out that that was most definately not true. We averaged 14 hours a week on the floor.

I felt very prepared for nursing with my education but the experience I sought out on my own made the transition much easier. My instructors all stressed that they were teaching us the basics but it was up to us to be honest about our limitations and to know that you will learn the most from your experienced coworkers by asking when you don't know or are unfamiliar with something.

Reaizing your responsibility as a nurse to never endanger your patients by trying to "fake it" when unsure is the most important thing to learn. Having recently changed specialty areas, this point has again taken the forefront. You will earn more respect by asking and being safe than by trying to look good and making potentially fatal mistakes.

As a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing I feel I received an excellent education. However, I do not feel I was adequately prepared to enter "real world" nursing.

I think it would be good to add an internship to the curriculum during which students could focus on getting real-time experience caring for patients and also working with the unique personalities and attitudes encountered in nursing and related healthcare fields.

I was shocked at the number of people who were biased negatively toward BSN grads. Then there were those who just felt all recent grads should be treated without human respect for a certain time period. I've heard it said that nursing is the only profession that eats its young. It was my experience that this is true.

I suggest that the nursing profession use mentors as the teaching profession does. I don't mean preceptors who give their precious time in spite of being overworked themselves, but mentors with whom the new nurse would regularly meet to discuss, debrief, and be exhorted. I believe such an approach would result in less on the job stress and better equipped, more confident nursing professionals within a shorter time period.

Perhaps nursing educators could find a way to incorporate the great clinical experience received in many diploma programs into our bachelors level programs. I would certainly have been willing to have an extra semester added to my program to provide such an experience--because the "ideal world" we are taught as students hardly bears resemblence to the "real world" in which we must practice our profession. MKD,BSN RN

I felt that I was adequately prepared for practice when I graduated. As my instructors said "all the knowledge is in your head now transfere it to your hands" so i did.

I found my biggest transission problem was organizational skills. Who to see first, etc. That they cant teach you in school. One is either organized or not. Those who cant learn to prioritize quickly drown.

I dont feel that I was really prepared to care for patient needs with the ADN I received from a local community college. I had a background of working as an AID back when you were just oriented for a week, if you were lucky, by another aid. I also worked as a paramedic and dispatcher for a number of ambulance services and before that as Unit clerk for an ED on Friday and Saturday nights. I learned how to talk to people and evaluate their perceived needs and their immediate medical needs in a minute or less. Those assessment skills along with aquired crowd control skills,gave me the background to deal with emotionally grieved patients and family members and gave me a well rounded preparation to care for the emotional and physical needs of people in medical and psychological distress. The nursing school training was a further education for me as far as meeting the medical needs. I now work as an ICU nurse, have worked in Neuro, Trauma, ED and as a flight nurse. I hope I never quit learning........


I graduated in 1989 from an ADN program from Meridian, Mississippi. I have since worked with nurses from all over, including many new grads. I truly feel that I was much better prepared as a new grad than most of the ones I've worked with. I worked with one recently who was told to convert an IV to a hep-loc and she had no idea what a hep-loc even was, much less how to do it. And this hospital was the very one where she had done most of her clinicals! I had some terrific teachers. It was a great school. For the record, it was the nursing dept. of Meridian Community College, Meridian, MS.

I just graduated in July 99 from LPN school. I did not feel ready to go be the nurse. I went on a 1 year program and it was way to fast and we skimmed the surface. We just got the basics. I am learning more everyday but is this the place to learn it??

I graduated in 1996 at age 37 from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I am sure that I received an excellent education. A good liberal arts curriculum to go with the heavy sciences. Knowledgable and caring instructors, lots of clinical time, etc. etc.

When I started my first job, I felt like someone impersonating a nurse. When I put RN after my name, it seemed like forgery.

Now I realize that my education helped me learn how to learn to be a nurse. It made me acutely aware that learning is a constant process, and that there will always be things that I don't know.

The very nature of nursing eliminates the possibility of being truly prepared and fully competent when you exit the halls of learning. It is truly a case of TMI (too much information).

A large part of nursing consists of working with people. Until you become comfortable with that aspect, it is hard to concentrate on providing appropriate nursing care to your patients. So much of nursing school is working with theory, skills, and paper. Not until you are out in the real world of nursing do you find out what you are made of.

Well, I'm rambling on. The gist of this is that it all takes time, being comfortable with your skills, yourself, and others.


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