New Nurses Poorly Educated

Nurses General Nursing

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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 students take care of your patients?? Are other areas seeing the same thing as I am???

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

Well, I graduated from nursing school 4 years ago. I gave a total of 3 IM injections and NEVER had the opportunity to start IV's as the hospitals in the areas that I was training all had IV teams and the floor RN's werent allowed to start IV's, let alone some student nurse. I believe that nursing school doesn't adequately prepare you for real world nursing. I did get to put foleys in while in school and hung numerous IV bags. Oh well. We all have to be patient with the newbies and remember what it felt like when we were in their shoes.


Hi...I read your post and I am concerned. I've spoken to nurses who graduated from my program and they said that they were absolutely unprepared after they graduated. They also mentioned all the numerous papers and other things they had to do. Now my question is this....what can I do to be a better nurse when I graduate? (Fall 2003) I don't want to be a burden on the staff more than I have to. I am working at my local hospital in the ER and MED/SURG and they are letting me do blood gases, splints, casts, BP's, temps and other small things. Do I have the right as I get into my clinicals (Jan) to ask them if I can do each procedure as I learn it? Because this is very scary to me. My buddy in the lab is a MLT and said he'd teach me venipucture but I understand from the nurses that starting an IV in harder. Help, please!:eek:

I think you are already doing the best thing that you could be doing to prep yourself for your future career by working in the hospital and getting hands on experience. Use every opportunity to learn and practice while you are in college at your job. I also worked as a tech nurse while I was in nursing school and the nurses were great and taught me alot. Practice, practice, practice -- anyway you can -- at clinicals and at work. Find a nurse at work who likes to teach and you'll have it made if she/he takes you under her/his wing. I do this, and once I am confident that the person is competent in that skill I let them do it for me on their own. It may take time now that I really don't have but look at all the time saved later when a competent tech/student is doing those blood sugars and caths for me later. I will always be present during IV procedures and other high tech procedures untill the nurse to be is licensed. Hope this helps you! :)


I just graduated in May and I too felt totally unprepared. I did trach care once and only watched my instructor suction. I have inserted foley's and hung IV med's, but not to the point where I feel proficient. When I discussed this with my many instructors, I got the same response. I needed school to teach me about diseases and how to do a good assessment, medications and how they effect the patient. They all agreed that the hands on stuff will be taught on the job and repitition was the only way to get comfortable with procedures. At all the hopsitals that I had clinicals at, you have to be IV certified to start an IV.. and they all had IV teams, so most floor nurses didn't start IV either. Now, I am orienting in a state hospital with three other nurses and I am the only new graduate. Yet, we are all getting the same amount of orientation. 4 Weeks. I am frequently being told that since I have just graduated, I should know this and that. Well, I had a B average throughout school, but am I supposed to remember everything? Sorry,this is so long, but I really feel overwhelmed!

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Education, Informatics.

It's funny I've heard these same complaints for the past 23 years, and I"m sure they were said about me when I started.

Specializes in Oncology/ante/post Partum.

I agree with Wildtime on this; you have to communicate to your preceptor and other nurses on the unit the procedures you want to practice; I never turn down a student who shows initiative in wanting to learn; even if it is just observing iv insertion; or whatever, get in there and ASK!!! Can I come with you when you do that foley insertion? Can I put in that foley for you? Make it happen; and keep your ears open for what is going on around you: you hear a nurse groaning that a doc is going to put in a chest tube on her pt...find out if you can observe; you learn something new every day; I know I do and I've been doing this for over 25 years now. Good luck to you and try not to get discouraged; there are good days too!


You have to have a voice and you have to use it.


If you really want to do procedures, then tell all the nurses what you want to do and then tell them that you clinical instructor will supervise and help you.

Letting your instructor know you want to do stuff may help...but let the nurses know you want to do procedures, nurses are so busy that they would love for you to put that foley in or start the IV with your instructor, they have a dozen other things that have to be done.

Working as a nurse tech was the best thing that I did to get experience/practice. While in school I did no foleys (insertion or removal), no NGs, no lab draws--all these I did as a nurse tech.

In school we did hang IVF but were not allowed to do IV push.

I just graduated this June through Excelsior (which used to be Regents), but I did attend a traditional nursing school prior. While in this school I learned many things and experinced different patients. Do I feel like I can go out on the floor by myself, not really.

Give me a vent patient I can sunction and monitor. TB patient sure I can provide nursing care and collect sputum cultures. Head injuries in rehab no problem. I can do trach care with my eyes just about closed. Gunshot wounds, sure I can care and monitor their drains or help them walk around the unit after they have shot off their big toe.

I guess what I am saying I think it really depends on the instructor, hospital, and the student. I was lucky I had some great learning experinces, but at the same time I know some of my classmates didn't.

I had some wonderful instructors who took the extra time to show and teach me.

Am I scared? Heck yes! Will I forget those who were willing so show me kindness and teach me their wisdom? I don't think so.

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!

Thanks, you guys are terrific! I guess I'll just keep on keepin' on. :D

i didn't want to graduate with minimal experience so i asked every nurse or doc if i could observe or do a procedure. i was the only one in my class that got to see open heart surgery because i asked!

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