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Unrealistic nursing students

Nurses   (23,398 Views 118 Comments)
by dnsonthego dnsonthego (Member) Member

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Our facility was asked to host a group of soon to be graduated nursing students.

The students are taking a class in nursing leadership so they were assigned to spend the day with the nursing department's leadership. The students were provided a breakfast reception and were allowed to shadow the departments nursing managers. The chief of nursing gave a talk to the students to welcome them to the profession.

The students did not come prepared to meet potential hiring managers. Unprofessional clothes/demeanor, playing with cell phones/texting, asking about vacant positions etc.

I was asked to tour them around the facility so that they understand the complexities of the hospital. I had the opportunity to talk with them as we walked through the facility.

I was shocked how many of them were second degree nursing students had completed graduate school prior to entering nursing school. I was troubled as they did not understand that nursing positions for new grads are very difficult to obtain. They were all under the impression that if they had a BSN, the jobs they wishes for would be there for them.

I was taken aback at how these soon to be graduates did not understand what nursing was about and what the role of the nurse is.

One of the students has a degree in English and a graduate degree in Communications. She stated that she was a Journalist and a freelance writer but she could not get work so she entered nursing so that she could become a medical writer.

Another student stated that he had an undergraduate degree in Public Policy and a Law degree but could not obtain work so he went into nursing to develop knowledge about healthcare. He saw himself a the hospital's attorney.

Three other students had undergrad degrees in Business but did not find work in their field so they took nursing hoping to be a hospital manager. The other students in the group were less vocal about their backgrounds and future plans. I know it is more common today to see second career nurses but my concern is that these students really do not understand what nursing is all about.

I really could not see any of these students working as a staff nurse. Nursing is hard work and you are standing on your feet for 12-13 hours trying to complete your assigned tasks.

I know that times are tough for everywhere but I wish that the nursing schools would be more honest to the students about what nurses do. If this students came into nursing with a desire to work as a nurse, I would be excited. What I sense is that these students tried something else, did not succeed and now see nursing as a quick way to a check. Making the situation more difficult is the fact that in our area (NYC) clinical jobs are few and that management jobs are very hard to attain.

Who put the idea into our nursing student/attorney head that he will walk out of school and obtain a legal job in the hospital because he has a nursing degree? Who told the writer that a nursing degree would now make her a medical writer after she failed to succeed in her previous attempts at being a writer/journalist?

I feel bad because the school they go to charges over 80K for a 15 month accelerated BSN. That is a lot of money and these students have to put out. You would have thought they would have researched nursing before they signed up....I am shocked at how misguided these students are.

To sum up, I smiled as they spoke and gently told them that nursing positions today are competitive especially in NYC as their is presently a surplus of nurses. Do you think I did the right thing or should I have addressed their unrealistic expectations?

Edited by NRSKarenRN

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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Obviously this is your experience and not an indication of second degree students in general. I am half way through a 15 month ABSN program and can say with 100% certainty that every one of my cohort is focused on a staff nurse position and no one has an unrealistic expectation of their first job after graduation. We have met with the nurse recruiter for one of the local hospitals and she is impressed with our ABSN program and the level of graduates that it produces. Because we graduate in August, we (my cohort) are our own competition for jobs. There is no way that anyone of us would dare come unprepared to meet with potential employers, dress inappropriately, or play with cellphones/ text.

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

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OP, I think you did the right thing for THAT particular cohort; there are a percentage of the average who DO know what it takes.

As long as I have been in the business for almost 15 years, I met people who were pre-licensure first degree students who had that same school of thought, as well as post graduate pre licensure individuals that you described....the fact that a percentage of people continue to have the school of thought of "self-truth" may NEVER go away; it will be unfortunate that they feel that way and may feel disillusioned and get burned because of it.

Time will tell whether or not they stay, or even get started in this business. :blink:

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

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To be honest, OP: even if you had addressed their unrealistic expectations, it would have went over as well as a lead balloon because most would have refused to believe otherwise. You can certainly try to explain the reality of what they're facing, but I think this may be a lesson many of them may have to learn on their own.

No, I do not feel all nursing students are like this. I've worked with many who are very grounded and are not unrealistic at all. But I've also worked with many who are.

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OP; I think they'll find out sooner or later that their second or third option, nursing is not all peaches and cream.

I'll be starting nursing school this January and I'm already expecting difficulties to land a job.

But I was as shocked as you to realize many nursing student hopefuls turning to nursing as their second and even third degree!! Most of them drowning in student loans and still borrowing even more.

I'm sure that accounts for most of the new grad saturation :(

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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Unfortunately, I see many more like the graduates that the OP encountered than the ones that that Don describes. There are smatterings of those who really want to be a bedside nurse but I find a greater number interested at the bedside as a stepping stone to the "big paying" jobs.

We even see here at AN those who seek "easy jobs", jobs without patient contact, seeking the ICU just to move on to the real paying job of CRNA, and those who assume that just because they possess a BSN the world is at their feet... which is just simply not the case.

The job market is many parts of the US is dismal for many new grads with hospitals unwilling to hire and train a new grad only to have them leave after that precious year, leaving the facility once again without trained staff, Frustrating and expensive.

I think there are nursing schools out there that are not properly preparing these new nurses for the workforce nor the reality of what the market presently dictates.

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

5 Followers; 4 Articles; 20,896 Posts; 146,681 Profile Views

OP; I think they'll find out sooner or later that their second or third option, nursing is not all peaches and cream.

I'll be starting nursing school this January and I'm already expecting difficulties to land a job.

But I was as shocked as you to realize many nursing student hopefuls turning to nursing as their second and even third degree!! Most of them drowning in student loans and still borrowing even more.

I'm sure that accounts for most of the new grad saturation :(

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com

The next financial crisis.....default of student loans.

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cardiacfreak is a ADN and specializes in Hospice.

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I know we have all heard this over and over again, THERE IS NO NURSING SHORTAGE! Unfortunately, the only ones that know this is nurses and the grads coming out of nursing school. If I didn't care about saddling myself with student loans I would go into speech therapy or physical therapy.

I personally think that the guidance counselors in high schools need to educate the potential college students a little bit better on what careers are in demand.

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The next financial crisis.....default of student loans.
And people thought sub-prime mortgages were bad. This is coming, no doubt.

Maybe ~2004-2005, Nursing Jobs seemed plentiful. This was the time in which there seemed to be a true nursing shortage and you could pick and choose your field. And then 2008 came along, and the rest is history.

Although the situation has improved slightly, you can't pick and choose your field. It's really sad that the nursing shortage myth is still perpetuated by nursing schools who crank out students and collect the student loan money.

It was interesting to note, that for-profit schools such as the University of Phoenix have a 40% default rate on student loans. Not only are we going to see the next sub-prime fallout, but I believe we are going to see the collapse of for-profit schools. UoP has closed several schools, including 2 two in this area.

Edited by BabyRN2Be
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liberated847 has 10 years experience and specializes in CEN, CFRN, PHRN, RCIS, EMT-P.

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To each their own, not everyone that go into nursing do it for the love of bedside pt care. Some people just want to pursue different paths. Do you know how many flavored of nursing there are? Yes, too many to count. Heck, I know two nurses that their sole purpose for completing nursing school was to bag a doctor husband!!

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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liberated847;7644171...To each their own, not everyone that go into nursing do it for the love of bedside pt care. Some people just want to pursue different paths. Do you know how many flavored of nursing there are? Yes, too many to count. Heck, I know two nurses that their sole purpose for completing nursing school was to bag a doctor husband!!
My only answer to that is Why would they WANT to marry a doctor?

Edited by Esme12

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