Why a Career as a Nurse?
Did you plan on nursing from:
Your first hospital experience, visiting an ill family member?
Watching television shows that portrayed nursing as glamorous?
Having had a procedure performed?
Perhaps your decision to enter nursing evolved through a series of life changes that guided your path to nursing school. No matter the journey, there will be anxiety, excitement, hesitation, and overall awe-inspiring first days of nursing school that will help build the type of nurse you will become.
Perseverance: Effective Tool #1
One of the most surprising revelations identified in your journey includes the diversity of people who enter nursing school to become that individual who engages people, sometimes at their worse stage in life. They will be in need of the most compassion, empathy, and critical thinking a person can provide. Through the first months of nursing school, based on personal experience in healthcare, some activities may appear simple and pointless to detail. However, you will learn the importance of finer detail throughout your education. The critical attribute of the nursing student is perseverance. Listen to the details of the educator and understand the experience each preceptor, proctor, and clinical leader brings to you. The anecdote was the most effective tool used in each of the lectures my instructors provided. If there was ever an experience that would best implant the most important lessons in nursing 101, it was provided in a gloriously told story of nursing shifts and outcomes. Nursing is surprising, always a moving target, and requires a thoughtful reproach, knowledge, and most certainly a team effort.
Study Groups: Effective Tool #2
The second tool in successful nursing education was to develop study groups which served as check and balance in progress that must move very rapidly; and most certainly if you wound up in nursing from a background that was not related to previous healthcare experience, the study group will align you for success. For example, I went to nursing school with graphic designers, bartenders, high school graduates, and retirees who were seeking a new path in life. When the study group met, the diversity of each person and their experiences provided a shared knowledge base that completed all tasks and activities necessary to be successful during each semester. This included presentations, projects, worksheets, and test preparation. The study group strikes a very nice balance in preparing for the challenges in nursing exams and eventually this will lead to your success in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN exam) which is designed to identify the entry-level nursing candidate, and this is just the beginning.
Life Lessons: Opportunities
The fact is not everyone succeeds and there will be a casualty along the way. You cannot let this disrupt your focus on the nursing school you attend. It is not for a loss. You pick up on lessons every day and during clinicals which are combined nursing hands-on practice with debriefing sessions lead by a clinical instructor. It is important to seek opportunities and do not be shy about this. The more hands-on you are, the greater proficiency you gain at every new nursing task that you will be introduced to. It is also vital that you remember that nursing school creates a life lesson about health and well-being no matter what career you find. Not everyone can be a nurse as evidenced by the very few that were not successful from my classmates. However, everyone takes with them a life lesson in compassion, health awareness, and the human condition.
In Retrospect ...
Given the opportunity to relive my days as a student nurse, while on clinical rounds, I would have:
Sought out more opportunities
Asked more questions
Participated in NCLEX-RN exam study courses
Nursing is hard, be prepared for this reality. Confide in the partnerships that you develop early on in nursing school, remember no question should be left unanswered, even if the answer is, the outcome is uncertain. This is reality.
Another very important thing to remember is that you must trust the information you are receiving whether it is a lab, an order, or information provided to you by the patient or family member. Once you understand the information provided, you must then verify everything you do based on your education and your experience in nursing, talk to more seasoned peers, and join supportive, collegial networks to seek informative conversations when you cannot seem to get the right answers. You may second guess your intuition, but there will never be cause for alarm to take a pause and ask for help. Most of all, you will need to plan time to relax and understand that as a nurse, you must take care of your own mind, body, and soul to properly care for others because you are nursing for life.