Requesting tips for student nurses

Posted
by Tutly Tutly (New) New

Hello - I'm currently half-way through first year with SCU and my goal is to be a nurse that people look forward to working with. I don't want to be a graduate that established RN's think 'Oh gosh, do we have to work with her??" With MACP's coming up - do you experienced nurses have any suggestions for us to start with good habits that we can hone throughout our next semesters?

Jellibum

Jellibum

48 Posts

hello - i'm currently half-way through first year with scu and my goal is to be a nurse that people look forward to working with. i don't want to be a graduate that established rn's think 'oh gosh, do we have to work with her??" with macp's coming up - do you experienced nurses have any suggestions for us to start with good habits that we can hone throughout our next semesters?

i was thinking the same thing! i feel that i have sooo much to learn and that after 3 years i still know nothing (or a least very little). i worry that i'm going to be more of a hassel than a help.

does anyone out there have any helpful tips to help us students along? are there any students you've worked with that had major flaws that needed improvement? if so, what were they?

~jelli

chris_at_lucas_RN

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience. 1,895 Posts

I'm not an experienced nurse yet, but I'm an experienced and successful student!

Here are some ideas I suggest:

1) Don't get behind in your reading. You don't have to know it all, just have read it.

2) Take care of yourself. You must get enough nutrition, rest, relaxation and LAUGHTER if you are going to be an efficient student.

3) Work to keep your frame of mind positive. Don't think, ugh, I have to learn this stuff by Friday, think, oh, boy! I get to learn all this neat stuff! You learn more and better if you are enjoying yourself.

4) If you are comfortable working in a group, collect a couple of other students that you feel you might be able to work with and try a study session. If if doesn't work, don't feel obligated to continue. Try a different collection, or try solitary learning.

5) If you are a solitary learner, go that route. (I was solitary until I started nursing school, and then, because my program was nontraditional--no classes and no classmates, I got to feeling a little isolated, so I got a "study buddy." It worked great! A class of two students, and no instructor! But that's another story.)

6) Google! Since you are here, I assume you are comfortable being online. You can use google to look up anything you don't know very well. There are terrific resources, often intended for patients, parents of patients or the public at large, but also intended for nurses and physicians, which have marvelous amounts of info. I cut and pasted from these and created my own Word documents, which I could then go back and review from if I wanted or needed to. It helped me a whole lot.

I hope this helps!

Tutly

Tutly

5 Posts

Thanks for the response - I think I'm slowly getting the study thing organised. My fear is the same as Jellibum's - how do we fit in when we are actually postgrads. What are the things a postgrad should never do? C'mon you guys - we know you talk about it all the time, we get the comments already.....help us out here, we want you to like us....

chris_at_lucas_RN

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience. 1,895 Posts

I think you may be putting the cart before the horse a bit.

No need to worry about errors or faux pas you may make as a new nurse! Just be open to the new experience, ask if you are unsure, be pleasant and friendly, don't argue.

What to do instead of arguing with some nitwit who wants to tell you something you already know or some such? Just say "thank you!" and leave it at that.

Everything will fall nicely into place.

You will be fine.

That you are so forward thinking is a tribute to your dedication and intellect. But relax. There's time. And don't forget:

Many who are less talented than you have been successful at what you are trying to do, and you will be successful too!

talaxandra

Specializes in Medical. 1 Article; 3,037 Posts

I think Chris is right - the fact that you're thinking about this now is a good sign :) My advice? Strap yourself in!

1. Remember that you can't please everyone all the time - you'll have people telling you that you should have done some things differently, whatever you do. Odds are, unfortunately, you'll also work with a couple of "in my day" nurses ("in my day the grads managed seven times more patients without complaining/could intubate a patient in the dark, with one hand behind their backs/handed over fifteen patients from memory, as they cartwheeled down the hall"). Forget them - nothing you can do will ever make them happy.

2. The most important things you'll only get with practice: time management, inter-personal skills, knowing how to get a doctor up on the ward stat, able to juggle shifting priorities, strong whole-patient assessment skills etc. You won't get these until you're out there, but you can start by taking on a solid load during your clinicals. We often have students on my ward in their last placement, still only taking one or two patients. We just know that the shock of having a full load in a couple of months is going to be harder on them than on those students who take on more when they're more supported. This doesn't mean you should bite off more than you can chew, though!

3. Don't compare yourselves with other grads who started when you did - everyone progresses at a different pace, we all have different strengths, and often it's the slow and steady nurses who are the most effective int he end. Even more importantly, try to avoid comparing your clinical skills to those of nurses who've been practicing longer.

4. Try to avoid getting involved in office politics as long as you can. Remember that you don't know who's allianced with whom, or what the whole story is.

5. Paperwork's important to admin, and be sure to document everything you do, but if it's a choice between admission obs and admission referrals, go the obs every time.

6. Keep your ducks in a row: before you call the resident, have all your facts. Know the patient's diagnosis and relevant history. Have a set of current obs if you're calling about a clinical issue (eg chest pain, bleeding). Have a description of the condition from the patient ("chest pain, radiating from the back around to the left and into the jaw, no associated shortness of breath but some tightness"). Have labs if you're calling for an order (IV, warfarin), and know why they're having it.

7. Most important! Don't lie or skirt around the truth because you're afraid of looking bad. If you don't know something, admit it. None of us knows everything. If you've made a mistake put your hand up. We all screw up, but if you're caught out the patient may suffer, and your colleagues won't trust you.

I'm sure there's more, but that's probably way too much already! Don't let this put you off; this can be some of the best fun you'll ever have!

edited for typo

gwenith

gwenith, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. 3,755 Posts

Excellent post Talaxandra!!!!

Definitely do not try to gloss over lack of knowledge - as an ICU nurse I would rather you asked me a million questions than make a mistake through ignorance. Sometimes though the questions are not obvious. That is why I prefer someone who is unsure to one who is "cocky".

But the others are also correct - do not put the cart before the horse - get through uni first and then worry:)

talaxandra

Specializes in Medical. 1 Article; 3,037 Posts

Gwenith: thank you, thank you (modestly inclines head) :)

gwenith

gwenith, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. 3,755 Posts

No Probs Mate;)

wonderbee

wonderbee, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych. 1 Article; 2,212 Posts

That's too far ahead to think for me. Big picture views are a little too big if ya know what I mean.

curly73

curly73, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric. 5 Posts

I always look forward to working with a new nurse who listens, who asks a million questions, especially if they are not sure about something, and who remembers what has been previously discussed (may I suggest a little notebook in your pocket). Also make a list of everything you have to do for your patients, and ask for assistance to priortise if you are getting behind. My biggest hope is that you quickly learn to do a total patient assessment, and are able to figure out what is a deterioration or an issue that needs something done and how quickly should this be done.

Best wishes in entering an exciting profession, no one expects a beginner to have everything at your fingertips, that comes along as your experience grows.

Tutly

Tutly

5 Posts

Thank you ladies (or gentlemen!!) - that's exactly the kind of advice we need. And you guys seem to be the kind of mentors we need. It's much appreciated.

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