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Thank You to the Nurses that Teach from the Heart


I'm a student nurse doing my rotation in OB. I had never inserted a foley before and finally got the chance. This nurse pushed me and so I took a leap of a faith and inserted my first foley. Needless to say, I was nervous.

Thank You to the Nurses that Teach from the Heart

I knew I had practiced the skill in lab but boy, was I nervous. I didn't know whether I could do it. Self doubt filled my mind and I was second-guessing saying yes. I knew the rule for clinicals: as long as your allowed to perform the skill, whenever you get a chance to perform it, do it. Everything is a learning experience. My heart was racing and all eyes on me. You see, I not only got to insert my first foley, but it was all while 3 doctors were waiting for me to insert the foley to begin their procedure. I felt their stern eyes on me. I imagined their thoughts. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. Never before had I been under so much pressure to perform a skill but I knew I had to learn and that triumphed all the negativity.

I told the nurse this was my first foley and she said she would be there right a long with me to help me out. I knew all the steps book wise but taking that next step took major confidence for a student nurse. The only thing that my attention was focused on was the nurse. I was ready to learn and accomplish the task. The nurse told me straight out "I'm going to teach you the right way'' Those words sounded so refreshing. I've encountered many nurses who simply do not want to teach. Who, in my opinion, have forgotten they were a student once. I've been refused and put to the side many times.

So here I was inserting the foley, following the nurse's orders while performing sterile technique. I got urine back. I've never felt so relieved yet so accomplished. I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. Once I finished my insertion, the procedure began. I felt relieved and embarrassed that I had taken up such time away from the doctors but the truth is, they had opportunities to learn and just as they did, nursing students need them too.

I had to leave midway for post conference but I couldn't leave without saying Thank you to that nurse. She may never know the happiness I felt in receiving the opportunity to insert a foley. OB nurses do this task everyday but for students to be able to perform it, is a luxury. As a student nurse who needs to continue building confidence in nursing skills, it meant the world me. What she whispered to me will stay with me forever: One day you may be inserting that doctor's foley. I couldn't have heard truer words that day.

I know that there are many others nurses out there who teach from the heart. My advice: Continue to do so. Continue to mold the future of nursing. For students: Any opportunity you get in clinical, as long as you are allowed to do it per policy and with supervision, take it. You never know when it will come around again. You may be nervous, you may have a million questions when the time comes but trust yourself. If it's something you've never done before, let the nurse know. Chances are, they are willing to teach you. Don't be scared. Don't let your negative thoughts limit you like I almost did. Opportunities are golden. Textbook material is one thing but performance is another. Yes, you had a mannequin to work with before but in the real world, there is no extra cushion or obvious hole.

My sincerest thank you to those that teach from the heart and the nurse that helped me grow as a student.

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9 Comment(s)

Brenda F. Johnson, MSN

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing. Has 29 years experience.

Truth be told, none of us forget what it was like to be in your shoes. Just some nurses aren't as gracious as they become seasoned. In nursing, there will always be learning experiences that make us nervous, but that is good because it means we are learning! I love nurses who help each other. Good luck in school and keep being awesome!

I wish I had that opportunity when I was in nursing school. I learned a lot in my last semester because I had a great nurse preceptor who was willing to teach and was patient but I never insert a Foley during my time in nursing school. Good for you and by the way OB was my favorite when I was a nursing student.

Edited by BS2RN

Truth be told, none of us forget what it was like to be in your shoes. Just some nurses aren't as gracious as they become seasoned. In nursing, there will always be learning experiences that make us nervous, but that is good because it means we are learning! I love nurses who help each other. Good luck in school and keep being awesome!

I could not have said it better Brenda!! As a nursing instructor in the classroom, I am so grateful to the clinical instructors and floor nurses who go out of their way to show kindness and to push my students out of their comfort zone.

Edited by totrn1

Thank you for a timely reminder of who we are. As a student, it is vital to learn from those who have gone before. Don't ever pass up the opportunity to learn! As a floor nurse or preceptor or a nurse who has the opportunity, don't ever pass up the opportunity to teach. Who knows, the techniques we teach may be used with us or with someone we love sometime, so quality control can be selfish while being generous. Besides, the best way to review a skill is to teach it well. I've been an LVN for 16 years now, and when student nurses come into my facility I've always shown them the care and consideration I would want, and that I think they too would want were the situation reversed. Most nurses in my experience do not eat their young. Most nurses I know nurture the new, the inexperienced. We've all had to learn the skills, and it is in everyone's best interest to learn, to teach, and to improve the quality of care for us all.

Thank you so much everyone for the encouraging words!

Diane1025, LPN

Specializes in LTC. Has 4 years experience.

I am an LPN in a nursing home; have been there four years, right out of LPN school. (I am also in my late 50s). I work with a CNA who is currently enrolled in LPN classes at the same school I graduated from a few years ago.. She has all the same teachers I had. English is her second language, so when I teach her something new, like removing someone's midline or inserting a Foley, and explaining the hows and whys as I go along, she is learning, I am teaching the procedure step-by-step, and she goes back to school and tells my former teachers what a great thing I taught her! So when I occasionally run into my former teachers in the grocery store, they tell me they knew I'd be a wonderful nurse. Must be why the aides and and residents beg me to work on THEIR units (pat on back here!!). However, I did walk one aide through the procedure of emptying a colostomy bag and she threw up in her mask. I told her she'd never forget how to do it and it builds character!! She has since quit!!

I am currently in my 2nd semester of nursing school and I am absolutely 100% grateful that the overwhelming majority of my co-assigned nurses have been great! During LTC I probably spent more time with the aides, but whenever I did interact with the nurses I never felt brushed off despite them being crazy busy. I mustered up the courage to ask one of the LPN's to follow her during med pass, and she very willingly explained to me her process for getting med passes done in time and even gave my 1st subQ this way.

In my first med-surg rotation I remember one particular co-assigned nurse, that after caring for my patient, had me follow her for the rest of my clinical day, giving meds and doing dressing changes alongside her. Another nurse exposed walked me through discharging a patient.

During OB one nurse was PHENOMENAL and explained her rationales for most everything she did, and when my patient got an epidural so did the anesthesiologist!

I don't expect my co-assigned nurse to be my teacher for the day, because its not her job, but when they take it upon themselves to show us students the ropes, and the how and why they do things, I am always so grateful!