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Rookies: A Profile of Nursing Students

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by BKCinNOLA BKCinNOLA (Member)

BKCinNOLA has 3 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

5,792 Visitors; 124 Posts

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For prospective students, student nurses, new grads, old grads, and those reminiscing about the good ol' days of nursing school:

http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/winter_2010/features/rookies.html

"During any given semester about 300 Boston College undergraduate nursing students are involved in clinical work, according to Catherine Read, associate dean of the undergraduate nursing program. "They like to do the tasky things"--the technical procedures, the practical assists--Read says of the students, but that alone "is not what we are getting at." The challenge is to get them to understand "it's the big picture" that matters, Read explains--to learn to view a patient's medical condition in relation to the individual's emotional, familial, economic, and intellectual circumstances. Barone puts it this way: "Nurses are with patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week," and the "opportunity to get to know them" is a valuable tool in their care. "I try to teach my students to take that opportunity and make astute assessments..."

 

 

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RN1980 specializes in icu/er.

8,808 Visitors; 666 Posts

sounds good in theory. but in the real world, when you are on the floor and literally have 8-10 pts along with patrolling the rest of the unit of 35-40pts and over half of yours have med list list half as long as your arm. you dont have a ward clerk or they pull yours to another floor and you only have 1-2 cna's cuase the hospital wont pay them any money to stay. the computer systems sux's stool and is slow as primming a line with albumin or it crashes all together. you find that family and visitors are as needy as the pt's themselves. thats how it was after working our med/surge floor last sat 7a-7p. thank god i just did it for some overtime and dont work on the unit fulltime. but for many hospitals it's like that 100% of the time. those nurses just dont have the time or energy to sit and talk alot. while i was running like chicken with my head cut off i could have cared less about the pt's social/economic fammily intellectual whatever. thank god i work the unit.

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interleukin has 14 years experience and specializes in Mixed Level-1 ICU.

6 Articles; 9,445 Visitors; 382 Posts

“They like to do the tasky things”

 

Good thing they do!

While nursing schools are still trying to make students accountable for every aspect of the human condition(let alone every medical and nursing condition) they're still not telling them about the multitude of those pesky "tasky" things that will prevent her from experiencing all the "Kumbaya" moments the instructors maintain are the heart of nursing.

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772 Visitors; 5 Posts

Well said, Interleukin, and oh-so-true!

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1,770 Visitors; 10 Posts

Seems to me to be about right. I mean learning the "tasky" things is the natural progression of the novice nurse to the expert nurse. It's like learning to drive a stick shift. First you're all concerned about getting it in the right gear and the right time, and letting the clutch out just right. But as the stick and clutch become sort of second nature, you're able to settle into the zen of driving, and with experience comes the knowing when to slow down to avoid a collision and knowing when to speed up, or the reading of other drivers. I'm saying all this as a student. I understand that there's a lot more to my clinical pts than getting the foley in, doing their blood sugar checks, and starting IVs, but I'm unpracticed at reading the multitude of personalities you meet everyday. My assessments are getting more thorough as I learn different subtleties but it will take time for me to get the big picture. That's what learning is all about.

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

30,941 Visitors; 5,259 Posts

I am not sure if I am reading this right but it appears they aren't getting any real patient contact until year THREE?? Is that normal for a lot of schools? That seems really shocking to me. We had clinicals our first semester at a LTC facility, didn't learn a whole lot of "tasky" skills, but did learn how to communicate with patients where communication can often be difficult. Learned to be comfortable around patients and gain confidence in dealing with the patients and sometimes family.

Second semester we moved on to hospital clinicals. Learned a lot more "tasky" stuff and the communication with the patients and their care and their families was second nature. In fact I was so scared on my first day of hospital clinicals because I felt like I didn't know much when it came to technical aspects but I was completely comfortable with my patient interaction. We have clinicals every semester from the start. This is the first I have heard of someone not getting any patient contact and learning how to interact with real patients until 3 years into their program :|

I love learning new tasks, practicing and getting better with ones I know more, I look at pretty much all opportunities as a learning opportunity. First Code I am around for, I ask what I can do because my co nurse and I were closest to the room and she said move the stuff for all the teams that were about to come in, so de-cluttered the room and then got out of the way and watched and observed, second code I was a lot more comfortable helping with what I could.

In fact, when better to learn the combination of these skills then when you ARE a student, you don't have the patient load the nurses have and so you have more time to visit your patients.

The hospital I am at though is really good with it's ratios and staffing aides stuff. It's very rare I have ever seen the night nurse with more then 4 patients on Medical Unit. Med/Surge Unit and Surgical Unit.

Today I was on Neuro for a make up day and it was a pretty slow day, my nurse only had 2 patients for the day shift.

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Zookeeper3 has 17 years experience and specializes in ICU, ER, EP,.

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I can teach a monkey or a stranger off the street how to do tasks. Only a well trained and well mentored nurse will have the critical thinking to know why, or what is needed and what the numbers mean. :uhoh3:

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2 Followers; 103,129 Visitors; 14,620 Posts

I can teach a monkey or a stranger off the street how to do tasks. Only a well trained and well mentored nurse will have the critical thinking to know why, or what is needed and what the numbers mean. :uhoh3:

That is absolutely true -- the dilemma to me, however, is that students and new grads who haven't been taught and had the opportunity to become minimally comfortable/competent with "tasks" tend to, when confronted with needing to do them, panic and their minds go blank, rendering them incapable, for the time being, of thinking critically and processing/applying the pertinent information. While I take a back seat to no one in my appreciation of the importance and necessity of critical thinking and advanced knowledge, I think we need to find some "happy medium" and go back to also teaching the tasks that are, let's face it, a necessary part of day-to-day practice.

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1,585 Visitors; 23 Posts

I often have nursing students with me on the ward and the first thing I ask them when we get to the patients bedside is..."What is this pt's condition and what is our focus for the shift?" Rather than sending them off to do tasks as some nurses do. We need to nurture our upoming colleagues

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645 Visitors; 3 Posts

What is the condition and what is the focus for the shift. I bet your students are thankful for that intervention, I know as a student I would. I would appreciate some nurturing whilst on my clinical. I beleive it makes for a more relaxed logically minded student. For the unexperienced it can be very overwhelming.

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2 Followers; 103,129 Visitors; 14,620 Posts

Rather than sending them off to do tasks as some nurses do. We need to nurture our upoming colleagues

I completely agree with you -- but I believe strongly that part of nurturing students is helping them to become competent and comfortable at doing the tasks that they are going to be expected to do when they enter practice.

I worked as a hospital surveyor in my state for several years and had conversations about this issue with nursing administration people in hospitals all over my state. Part of the reason so many hospitals were becoming increasingly reluctant to hire new grads even before the economy tanked (that was simply the final straw that broke the camel's back) is that they are sick and tired of having to spend the time and money to teach new graduates all the things (tasks/skills) that they (the hospitals) feel the students should have learned in nursing school, the things they need to know to actually be able to get through a shift on an acute inpatient unit.

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