Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a fourth semester nursing student participating in preceptorship. Would you advice in ways to build up more confidence. Thank you!
Dear Needs Confidence,
Your confidence will grow naturally as you gain exposure. Think back to first semester, when you took your first blood pressure, and compare it to how you feel taking a blood pressure today. It's important to give yourself credit for how far you've come.
When you are feeling nervous, "fake it till you make it". You can't force yourself to always feel confident, but you can appear to be confident. For example, a patient should never know when you are doing your "first" anything. Project confidence and a calm manner while you're inserting that NG tube or giving discharge instructions. You may not know this, but even experienced nurses and doctors do this!
Learn from others. Watch your preceptor as she talks with doctors, gives handoff report, and greets patients and co-workers. Study her body language, tone of voice, how she makes eye contact. When you are lacking confidence, say to yourself "What would my preceptor do/say?"
Trust the process. Give yourself time. I have no doubt your confidence will grow this semester
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!