Alright I have been on days now for about 3 months and have had a nursing student placed with me more often than not. I have a different one every day for the last 3 days. I work in peds heme onc and I absolutely love it. I enjoy having students and the charges know I am more than willing to have one with me and will do my best to make their day a learning experience but I have some advice to students.
-If I am up doing something with a patient you should probably not be studying for your test. I know nursing school is rough but I also know your clinical time is limited. This is your chance to see what we do day in and day out.
-If I am running around like a crazy person and you are still sitting at the station studying it makes me want to bonk you on the head with your text book. I also makes me want to tattle on you to the instructor. Offer to help! I may say no but I may take you up on it!
-Please please please don't question my practice in front of the patient and their parents. Yesterday I had a student ask why I wasn't using adhesive remover to take off a 20 mo olds port dressing in front of his parents. I was well into the process when she asks this and he was screaming his head off. This is a very good question but this was a horrible time to ask it because it makes the parents think I am not doing what is in the best interest of the patient. Luckily my charge was there and was able to say (loudly, in front of mom and dad) that our adhesive remover can make the removal process be 2-3X longer without much relief in pain and at his age it's better to just quickly get the trauma over with. Ask away-just do it at the right time.
-You may know that this is not the place for you when you become an RN however that is an opinion that you should probably keep to yourself. I don't want to hear that you have no interest in peds because it makes me not want to teach you anything. Along the same lines I also don't want to hear that you think my job is depressing. I understand that this can be an emotionally trying area but I love my job and most days do not feel depressed at all!
-One more piece of advice: Compassion and pity are not the same thing. Almost every nursing student I have walks in to our oncology patients rooms and says something along the lines of "ohhh you poor thing" These kids do not think of themselves as "poor things' and we try to have an attitude of encouragement with them. We try to talk about the positive, remind them that they may be having a rough day but its not going to be like this forever, we will do our best to treat their pain, nausea, etc. and we try to help them develop coping tools. Of course I feel bad for these patients and their families, having a sick child is devastating. Parents and patients alike will look to us for how they should be acting so we want to present a positive for them to emulate.
Don't see this as a mean rant against all students. I just want students to have some insight from a nurse before clinical.