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How well did your nursing education prepare you for your job?

I am about to graduate BSN in May. I fell like I really don't know anything. I am afraid I might end up being a "fake nurse".

Everyone tells me that you don't become a nurse until you work as a nurse. However, I fell like I don't remember a thing I have learned in nursing school.

For example, I've only been able to draw blood only once, put a foley catheter once, taken it out a few times, installed an IV about 3 times. That scare me.

Help!!!

Q.

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in LDRP; Education.

I thought my education prepared me as a novice nurse well enough, but the skill portion did emphasize med/surg, which didn't prepare me AT ALL. I went directly into L&D upon graduation and never used any of the skills they focused on in nursing school (NG tubes, ostomies, etc) and had to learn completely different skills (vaginal checks, fetal heart rate monitoring, scalp electrode placement, etc). So don't worry about not inserting enough foley's, IVs, etc. Nursing school prepares you to begin safely. Those skills come with practice on the floor and, in my case, the skills they teach in nursing school you may never use.

School just gives you the basics, your learning curve does not begin until after you begin work. You will be soaking up things like a sponge.

Good luck to you..................and don't be afraid to ask....

bellehill, RN

Has 9 years experience. Specializes in Neuro Critical Care.

Once you get on the floor you will be amazed and how your education comes together and you will realize you know more than you thought. I don't mean to say you don't need to practice or try to learn more, but it won't be as bad as you think. Good luck!

Tweety, BSN, RN

Has 28 years experience. Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

May is a long way away. Concentrate on your studies and the NCLEX. Experience will teach you well enough. We've all been there. There's no way you can remember it all, but it will come together.

You will graducate a profressional nurse, and that's "real" enough for me.

Good luck to you!

llg, PhD, RN

Has 43 years experience. Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I worked in a NICU as a new grad -- and felt adequately prepared even though my schooling had not included any real NICU content. I knew how to think, how to ask questions, how to learn, and had a strong sense of right and wrong, safe and unsafe. I did just fine -- and I'll bet you will do just fine too.

llg

snowfreeze, BSN, RN

Has 16 years experience. Specializes in ICU, CCU, Trauma, neuro, Geriatrics.

School gives you the background knowledge. You learn much more in actual practice. Practical skills are learned with experience, foley insertion, IV insertion, replacing g-tubes, NG insertion, dressing changes, blood draws from various venous and arterial lines, suction tubing and canisters, suture removal, you will do fine. It is an interesting career in which you are always learning. Good luck.

Nursing school provides the foundation, experience; the walls, roof, windows, plumbing, power etc.

What scares me are the new grads who feel they know everything and don't ask questions.

I can understand your fear, I have it and havent even taken a class yet.....why? Because I know from first hand experience that RN's have no idea what it is like until........they come home dog tired, can't sleep because that one pt sticks in your head/heart, and havent had time to p all day.

As a CNA I helped many RN's adjust to the floor, some try to hide the inexperience and the just dont know situations. But trust me, some will not help you (RN's), some of the CNA's will be mad at you b/c you just dont know. They will think you are trying to get out of work.

I worked in a hospital as a CNA (oncology) many new nurses were far better off to be-friend at least one RN and at least one CNA. We have even offered our arms for IV's (no searching allowed of course). Everyone knows that your training, is not training but an education. Your training begins the minute you step on that floor and you pick up the responsibility of a life. Holding on to pride/arrogance never worked for the new RN's and I dont suppose ever will. Under no circumstances ever be to proud to say........I just dont know, being honest could save a life and you from a lawsuit.

God's speed in your career..........I just hope I remember this advice when it is my turn.........lol

One more thing.........never let the pt know it is your first time, you maybe in a foot race.......lol

Skills and time management take practice, and you will get plenty of practice once you are working. It's the background knowledge and critical thinking that you concentrate on in nursing school.

zacarias, ASN, RN

Has 14 years experience. Specializes in tele, stepdown/PCU, med/surg.

I am about to graduate BSN in May. I fell like I really don't know anything. I am afraid I might end up being a "fake nurse".

Everyone tells me that you don't become a nurse until you work as a nurse. However, I fell like I don't remember a thing I have learned in nursing school.

For example, I've only been able to draw blood only once, put a foley catheter once, taken it out a few times, installed an IV about 3 times. That scare me.

Help!!!

Hey there,

First I have to say I LOVE your humble, scaredy cat attitude. Please understand I'm not making fun of you; I just identify with it so much. I was the same way, actually AM the same way! Overconfidence in people sickens me.

Anyway, you will learn those skills after you graduate. Some student nurses never get to do IVs or even draw blood so you are in many ways ahead of the game. Like another poster recommended, concentrate on your studies and the upcoming NCLEX. When you have a clinical job at which you spend all your working time, you will have ample time to master those aforementioned skills.

Just remember, be proud of all that you accomplish and never lose your humility.

Gennaver, MSN

Has 13 years experience. Specializes in Ortho, Med surg and L&D.

I am about to graduate BSN in May. I fell like I really don't know anything. I am afraid I might end up being a "fake nurse".

Everyone tells me that you don't become a nurse until you work as a nurse. However, I fell like I don't remember a thing I have learned in nursing school.

For example, I've only been able to draw blood only once, put a foley catheter once, taken it out a few times, installed an IV about 3 times. That scare me.

Help!!!

Hello there,

Try to find a way to alleviate your worries. :)

Maybe ask for some more clinical time for your phlebotomy if you can. Is it possible to find a lab or hospital and find out if you qualify to reach your stick amount-I think in IL I had to have at least 120 sticks at a lab before I could certify for phlebotomy, this was after my 5 month course where we had to stick each other twice a week for over 14 weeks!

I am not an RN yet, won't get that until I complete the graduate RN certificate portion of a program I am hoping to get into. I have worked as a patient care assistant and learned to foley and straight cath patients for bladder programs. One nurse told me one time that she missed having that hands on stuff that was delegated to the techs, (phlebotomy and foley cathing) because those are use it or loose it skills of repition. However, a doctor and an RN that I worked with at a facility as a lab tech would sometimes come to help me with sticks I just couldn't get and they both thought that the blood drawing was a skill you either had or didn't have. One hadn't drawn in years and came in and 'pop' got it.

So, if you have done both once....you may just have it!

Good luck,

Gennaver

My BSN program didn't prepare me to do squat, clinically speaking. I couldn't flush a heparin lock when I graduated. But the truth is those are really only procedures - being a nurse is much more cerebral than that. You learn about how to look at the whole picture of a patient in nursing school, and then you learn the procedural stuff in your first year or two OUT of nursing school, and THEN you figure out how to combine the two areas of expertise. It takes time, but you'll eventually (if you learn from mistakes and ask thousands of questions) become an expert nursing diagnostician, know what to do for a patient's problems, and be competent to do it.

What you learn in school is how to gauge if something's safe and when to ask questions. I knew next to nothing when I graduated (BSN) in '02. I had never done venipuncture of any kind. I had never seen an NG or an ostomy. I don't remember that I knew anything about JPs or other types of drains. I'd never done a dressing change except on mannequins. I was taught to be very, very careful with narcotics.

Then I started work on a general surgical floor and boy, did I learn! I couldn't believe that in a single evening I would empty the Pyxis of morphine, sometimes for a single patient. I had ostomy bags that exploded poop everywhere. I'd forget to unclamp IV lines and couldn't figure out why the pump kept beeping. I called a doctor because a patient's stool was orange (she'd had oral contrast!). This was not even three years ago and I cringe at the memory. You learn so much, so fast, and you won't even realize it until you meet a new grad who asks a ridiculous question and you realize you used to be that nurse.

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