New nurses poorly educated - page 4

Over the last couple of years I have noticed increasing numbers of nursing graduates who are unable to do nursing procedures. Please let me know your opinions on this situation. Do you let the... Read More

  1. by   catlady
    When I was a nursing instructor, I had ten students, and I did not dump them on the nurses. If a nurse wanted to show them something, fine, but it was my responsibility to supervise their experiences, especially things like putting in a Foley, etc.

    We had shortages of equipment in the learning lab, too, but at least we had a real dummy with real holes. I only had about fifteen Foley kits, and we had 30 students, so we had to rewrap and reuse. I invented mock sterile dressing kits using paper towels, etc., so they could practice wound technique.

    I graduated 16 years ago, but I had never been allowed to touch an IV during my entire program. Once I flushed a heparin lock when the staff nurse asked me to, and my instructor almost had a stroke. As a new grad, I saw instructors who dumped their students on the floor and left to go do other things. That, IMNSHO, is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  2. by   prenurse
    Originally posted by LauraRN0501
    I just graduated this past May and I felt that my clinical experience left much to be desired.

    We were not allowed to start IVs because "every agency is different and will have its own policy." We did hang IV fluids and give IVP meds, but until I went to work, I had never primed tubing. When clinicals in my last semester started, I told my instructor I felt I had not had enough experience up to that point. She told me at that time that how I felt was not uncommon. However, when I did my med pass with her and told her for about the 5th time that I had not done such-and-such to that point, she finally laughed. When I asked her what she was laughing at, she said "Laura, what have you been doing in your clinicals?" I said "That's what I have been trying to tell you, NOTHING!!!"

    I am sure this is not uncommon to just my school. One thing I always felt was that we could have spent so much more time learning about disease processes and nursing interventions if it hadn't been for all the busy work that was thrown at us. Papers about what nursing means to us, daily journals, a pregnancy journal, etc. etc.

    I know it is frustrating for nursing staff to get thrown a new grad who is totally inexperienced. It is also frustrating for me as a new grad to have to ask for help with things that I think I should probably already have some clue about. The director of my program told us, "Nursing school does not teach you how to be nurses, it teaches you how to LEARN to be nurses." Boy, she wasn't just whistling dixie there!


    Laura ,
    I am from Virginia also, I am in nursing school now, just started this year, and I also feel the same way you do. I am so scared that I won't know everything when I do (hopefully) graduate. I thought maybe you could give me some pointers. What can I do to better prepare myself, or is there anything? If they won't show you or let you in clinicals I can't imagine where you would get the experience.
    Also, I'd love to know where you went to school? I'm enrolled at PVCC in Charlottesville, Va.

    I do agree with the first reply, I can see the frustruation with the experienced nurses having to deal with newbies but also I can feel the new nurses having to deal with all that over whelming new work!
    But just as I've seen from others and heard from nurses - WE all have to work together......New and Old, we have to learn new things, and most important, take care of the patients!!
  3. by   essarge
    I have been reading this thread with a great interest.

    While I understand that the majority of nurses in the field think that new nurses are undertrained, some of those that are upset with it, could hold the answer in their own hands.

    My father always told me that if there is a problem, come up with a solution before you say anything, and I totally agree.

    I see three solutions (and probably more) here.

    The first being, since there is a shortage of nursing school instructors, perhaps some of the nurses that think students are undertrained could become the instructors to help that shortage out. Even if it is only part time.

    The second solution being.....when you see students on your floor, step up to the plate and offer to show or teach them how to do procedures.

    The third solution is....if you feel strongly that changes in schooling need to be changed, then lobby for those changes.

    What I am saying here is that with the shortages all over the field, changes have to start somewhere! Why not at the school level where every nurse in the field could offer some type of contribution?
  4. by   Scarlette
    Where I graduated from if you didn't do a procedure at least 3 times (like IV starts, IV push meds and piggybacks) then you didn't graduate!! I was one of those students that sought out procedures. I had classmates that would be offered a procedure and they would say "No thanks, I already did that" That just blew my mind!!! Jump in there and get more experience!!! It got to the point where the nurses wouldn't even offer procedures to my classmates and they would come to me. Then my classmates would whine and wonder why they were never offered anything.

    As far as instructors....yes we had a few that would rather go to the cafeteria and BS with other nurses all day but if we kept on paging them they would finally show up. I feel really bad for the nurses that get stuck having to supervise the students with new procedures ALL the time when you get a lazy instructor like that. The nurses are busy enough, let alone trying to be a full time clinical instructor too. Hats off the the nurses that have patience with the students and new grads! You guys are the best!
  5. by   catlady
    Originally posted by essarge

    The first being, since there is a shortage of nursing school instructors, perhaps some of the nurses that think students are undertrained could become the instructors to help that shortage out. Even if it is only part time.

    It's not that easy, being as most programs these days insist on an MSN as a minimum for becoming a nursing instructor, and many are pushing for Ph.Ds. So the really good bedside nurses don't have the opportunity to get teaching positions. Same thing with staff development jobs. The more removed you are from the bedside, the better chance you have of getting a job teaching nurses.
  6. by   eventsnyc
    I spoke with a few nurses who considered 'teaching new grads = shooting themselves in the ft'. To them, more new grads equals to less bargaining power for better working condition & higher pay. I don't know how many nurses think this way? I hope not many.
  7. by   jozie80
    I am 20 years old and currently a student nurse graduating in May. I wanted to make sure I got as much experience as possible before I graduate, so I took a nurse externship at a large urban level 1 trauma center in the MICU. I can clean trachs, suction, wound care, foleys...and the list goes on. I feel confident in my nursing skills, not because of my clinicals (which were fairly helpful but are hard to learn in because of the student to instructor ratio), but because i took the initiative to get the expirience on my own time. Sometimes the nurses I work with can be b*tchy and irritated, but I know its not me, but the shorage and lack of cooperation within the hospital. I just look forward to the day when i really can take on a patient load and do my share. It is really scary to hear a classmate 8 months from graduating telling me she doesnt know WHAT a tubex is, or even how to prime IV tubing for a piggyback. I certainly do recommend a nurse externship if offered at a hospital near by. I ask and they let me learn, do, and watch. The only things I cannot do are administer meds and phlebotomy. It's been a great expirience, and I don't know what I would do if i hadnt had this oppurtunity. I truly worry about those that HAVE NOT had this experience... actually i think it should even be required. My favorite instructor once told me if I am ever scared to do something, just jump in and take it on full force... I now appy that wisdom to ALL aspects of my life!
  8. by   rocky12
    I graduated 7 years ago and i would say my experience as a student nurse is quite fair.When i read your post it brings back memories of my college days,I always felt like there ants crawling in me.Has it got to do with the curriculum as well probably you are comparing your days where it's really more on hands on or clinical exposure whereas I think it is the trend that theoritically at first they are bringing out the best in nurses.At the end of the day,I think it's the honesty that still puts the safety of your patient on top of the list.
    Chill out mate!We've all been there once,just be honoured that you are the one leading the way.Good Day!
  9. by   Nursz-R-Awsm
    You will have to ask for opportunities, these posters are right on. No instructor can be the aggressive one and sure every student gets into every opportunity that is available while being responsible for the others in that clinical rotation. Students see things while with their preceptor that they can jump in and do before any instructor can.

    Also, this can happen during orientation as a new hire as well. You have to jump in, take the patients with stuff going on while you have a not hope that you will have an assertive preceptor who knows your needs (it would be wonderful if they were all that way). Not that you won't have someone to back you up off of orientation, but it is much better to have these experiences when there is someone more available to you.
  10. by   lgowan
    This is scary but unfortunately true. I graduated 14 years ago and we did a LOT of skills in the hospital. However, I am noticing the difference in the graduates now from the same school. My instructors used to literally pull the student in the room to perform skills. Then again, assertiveness on the student's part also plays a role. If the student is not assertive she/he may skate thru only doing the dummies. (NO PUN INTENDED!)

    On the other hand, I jumped in every chance I got to try a skill and still didn't feel adequately prepared. Let's face it, school provides the basics, and OJT is a reality in any field. Sad but true!

    Let's help these students and pull them in a room, if their instructor won't. They are practicing under their instructor's license not ours. (Don't forget to grab instructor too!)

    My .02,
  11. by   eventsnyc
    How do you get an externship from a hospital?

    Some schools in my city offer paid externship ($15/hr), but my school doesn't.

    Is it a good idea becoming LPN while working toward the RN, in order to gain hands on experience?

    Thanks, Christina
  12. by   jozie80
    The last day of my clinical rotation, the hospital let us know of the externships and how to apply. Also my school hangs postings for exterships. I also recommend looking at the job postings IN the hospitals, because lots of times they are not in the newspaper. I used to go to local hospitals and check their job boards monthly.
    Good Luck!!
  13. by   eventsnyc
    Thanks Josie!

    Best wishes, Christina