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New grads! What do you wish you learned/ experienced in nursing school!

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by dennis09x dennis09x (New Member) New Member

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Like the title says, I am collecting some qualitative information based on new grad experiences during nursing school and in workforce for a bit of my own and academic research. Being a "soon to be" new grad (april '12!) of the NEPS SDEO program in Sask, I am curious to see the frustrations new grads have when transitioning from school to the workforce.

if we could organize this loosely around this structure as follows.

When graduated and what program: (4 year, post diploma, 2 year fast track, etc..)

Way you felt coming into workforce: (unprepared, scared, excited, etc..)

Biggest shortcomings when you started working: (unable to manage time, unable to react to emergency situations, inadequate mentorship, etc..)

Do you feel that nursing school has prepared you for practice?:

What you wish you learned in school: (IV's, shift work, actual patient loads, etc.)

What would have been the one thing that would have made the transition from school to "real life" better? : (mentorship program, more simulations, more placements, etc..)

Any other statements you would like to make, or would like to vent, it's all good.

Thanks in advance everyone, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart to hear your experiences.

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118 Posts; 3,481 Profile Views

When graduated and what program:

Graduated from the 2 year LPN program in AB. New grad as of this past May.

Way you felt coming into workforce:

I felt scared and excited, I knew that I knew the "book stuff" because I had a GPA of 3.9 but I knew that "book stuff" doesn't count for much. I wasn't (and still am not) afraid to ask lots of questions - sometimes people think that if they ask "stupid" questions then the more experienced nurses will judge them. I found that they really found my asking questions reassuring; they knew they could trust that I'd be careful and double check if I wasn't sure.

Biggest shortcomings when you started working:

Time management, for SURE. It's still an issues, but I know I've made huge improvements since day 1. Gradually, the flood of information on how the unit runs, which Drs are which, which Dr's prefer such and such, which nurses are willing to teach and which are better off left alone, where to find different supplies, what to do in case of _____, all starts to come together. But for sure, going from maybe 2 - 3 patients as a student to 5-6 as a grad nurse is REALLY hard at first. All the different med pass times, care (on my medical unit is is SO heavy, but it's all I know so I just deal with it), charting (God, how I hate charting), etc... it's a lot to manage. I've gotten into a bad habit of not taking my breaks most days... I can't relax on a break knowing that I'm just throwing myself further behind for the end of the day. I'll get "faster" eventually (I hope).

Do you feel that nursing school has prepared you for practice?:

Yes. From a solid knowledge base of A&P, Patho, Assessment, Skills, etc, for sure! What we've studied as LPN's is the same (in these areas, greatly diminished in the more academic "Nursing Theory" stuff) as the new grad RN's who are hitting the floor.

In fact, I was already mentoring 3rd year RN students this last week who were taking on of some of my patients and I actually feel that I had more preparation and knowledge when it comes to skills than they did at this point in their program.

They were shocked to find out I was "only" an LPN (grit my teeth and smile) and moreso, that I was a new grad myself. They were so relieved to find someone friendly and willing to answer questions.

What you wish you learned in school:

I don't really think there is more I could have learned in school - school can only take you so far, the rest you have to learn as you go - sink or swim. I think the foundation laid was really solid. As far as an LPN program goes though, they cannot cram one single additional skill into our packed program. If they want to continue to increase our scope of practice, they're going to have to lengthen the program. As it is, we are now capable (and expected) to learn PICC care and maintenance, and that wasn't taught in school except in broad generalities. I'm not in a rush to certify on that - I don't get paid enough ;).

What would have been the one thing that would have made the transition from school to "real life" better?

Fellow staff. In the hectic rush that is a typical acute medical unit, sometimes the more experienced nurses forget that we new grads don't have the experience that they do and how overwhelming it all can be sometimes (especially emergent situations). They can get short and snippy and I feel bad for the other new grads who've made some (sometimes serious) errors. Once you get "labelled" it's really hard to live that down.

I suppose in an ideal world, more placement time would help, but truly, until you're out on your own there is nothing that can really prepare you.

Hopefully this feedback was useful for you. I can clarify or elaborate for you if there is anything else you're wondering.

Take care!

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flyingchange has 2+ years experience and specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research.

291 Posts; 13,246 Profile Views

I'm graduating in April 2012 as well. Just wanted to suggest that Nursing The Future might have a wealth of information for you in that regard. I'm not sure if they have a chapter in SK, but as an organization they do address new grad transitions into the workplace and do research in the area. I've met some of the local group and they are great to talk to! :)

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