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What are they teaching?

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Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 25 years experience.

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I have an honest question. I'm not being a old crabby nurse. Honest question here... What are nursing schools teaching? So many posts of new grads that didn't think nursing would be stressful or hard. Nursing is a very stressful job. Are these schools actually teaching our future nurses that nursing is Not a stressful job? If so, they are doing a disservice to our profession. I feel bad for these new nurses that seem to truly be shocked that it is a stressful profession.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

They are being taught that it's flexible with many different avenues to being successful. There have been many posts about the current state of new grads

egglady, LPN

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 25 years experience.

I just find it sad. As a student I was told that it will be hard, I will be working weekends and holidays, I will not know everything fresh out of school. I think these new nurses are getting the short end of the stick. They truly believe that it's going to be easy, great, and fun. That's what they've been told. It's just sad.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I don’t think ANY of us could have been prepared for what nursing is really like. As one of my instructors told me 25 years ago, “there’s school, there are tests, and then there’s real life”. But even that warning wasn’t enough for me to understand how freakishly intense the work is, or how you can be driven to the edge of insanity by constantly shifting priorities, chronic short staffing, doctors and families and managers getting in your face, and having so much responsibility but very little authority. It’s a tough job even when you’re a veteran nurse, but in the beginning it’s overwhelming. And there’s no way you can tell a new grad what to expect because they think they know, but they have no idea that nursing is blood, sweat, and tears (along with other bodily fluids). It’s no wonder why so many younger/newer nurses quit within the first couple of years...they just aren’t prepared for the real deal.

macawake, MSN

Has 13 years experience.

11 hours ago, VivaLasViejas said:

I don’t think ANY of us could have been prepared for what nursing is really like. As one of my instructors told me 25 years ago, “there’s school, there are tests, and then there’s real life”. But even that warning wasn’t enough for me to understand how freakishly intense the work is, or how you can be driven to the edge of insanity by constantly shifting priorities, chronic short staffing, doctors and families and managers getting in your face, and having so much responsibility but very little authority. It’s a tough job even when you’re a veteran nurse, but in the beginning it’s overwhelming. And there’s no way you can tell a new grad what to expect because they think they know, but they have no idea that nursing is blood, sweat, and tears (along with other bodily fluids). It’s no wonder why so many younger/newer nurses quit within the first couple of years...they just aren’t prepared for the real deal.

Love your post! I’ve bolded what I believe is really the crux of the matter.

Generally speaking I don’t think there’s as much wrong with today’s graduates as with the job itself. Stress can be good, but it’s almost always negative when paired with low autonomy and ability to control and influence one’s work environment.

I think most student’s realize that their chosen future profession entails being responsible for their patients’ wellbeing. What I think might come as a rude awakening is just how little chance they have to control their workday and how there seems to be absolutely no limit on how much work their employer deems reasonable to heap upon them.

Yes, nursing is hard. But it’s being made harder than it has to be. I’m a second career nurse. I used to work in law enforcement. If you found yourself in a situation where you were outnumbered and having trouble controlling the situation, as in not being able to keep yourself, your partner and/or the general public safe, you radioed for additional resources. And help came. Within minutes. Always. You always felt that your employer had your back. And the organization made sure it had sufficient resources in order to handle unexpected events.

Early on in my new nursing career I came to the realization just how ironic it is that an organization whose very reason for existing is to help people promote or regain their health, is doing so poorly in creating a work environment that promotes sustainable employee wellbeing and health.

I hated med-surg with a vengeance. Patients today have very good reasons for being hospitalized. They’re sick. Long gone are the days when patients stayed in the hospital for a week or longer after a routine surgery to recuperate. Those who remain, require a lot of medical and nursing care. I don’t know how anyone could think that it makes sense to have one nurse care for five, six or more patients with very high needs. There is no way I would ever do that to myself in the long run.

After I specialized I started working with a 1:1 ratio and I actually love my job. Now I have a much better chance to control my day and I can give my patient all my attention. My professional input is listened to. It’s the best ”de-stresser” ever 😀

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

When I interview now, many new grads, especially younger-but some older-tell me they want bankers hours/no weekend days, will/won't do this/that blah blah blah. They say that they have kids, bf/gf, a life, etc and were told nursing hours are flexible. I really wish they would lose that in our job description when discussing the role. Most of the time, the hours aren't flexible, at least until you get some solid experience behind you. Even then, still sometimes not. And each setting will have it's own set of tasks that are required-I had a 22 y/o tell me she doesn't do needles or blood, she's a BSN and shouldn't be expected to. We're a dialysis clinic, I don't what she thought she would be doing/exposed to here. Needless to say, she wasn't hired...this is starting to be the norm, from where I am.

While I agree with the comment of responsibility vs authority, especially in acute, LTACH, and LTC, many new grads don't have a realistic expectation on some levels. It's sad. If the $$$ stopped being the main driver, we could start combating some of the issues

Edited by Hoosier_RN

On 8/20/2020 at 6:01 AM, macawake said:

What I think might come as a rude awakening is just how little chance they have to control their workday and how there seems to be absolutely no limit on how much work their employer deems reasonable to heap upon them.

On 8/20/2020 at 6:01 AM, macawake said:

Stress can be good, but it’s almost always negative when paired with low autonomy and ability to control and influence one’s work environment.

On 8/20/2020 at 4:56 AM, VivaLasViejas said:

so much responsibility but very little authority

****

I believe ^ these are some of the major the fundamental reasons anyone struggles in this profession.

Our CoE makes it seem like we have a-z obligations and pretends as if there is some realistic way nurses will be able to meet these.

Our educational programs have failed to differentiate the nurse from the employer and the nursing role from the employer's policies and practices.

There's so much fundamentally wrong it's difficult to even put it into words...

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

Many new grads received a very theoretical education. The first job involves a lot of on the job training.

I just returned to school. So far I have learned a lot about research and correct APA format. Interesting stuff.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

7 hours ago, RNperdiem said:

Many new grads received a very theoretical education. The first job involves a lot of on the job training.

I just returned to school. So far I have learned a lot about research and correct APA format. Interesting stuff.

Yep, that'll help you with a new role for sure. Most new grads also know APA (or software), but have never inserted a foley. SMH

macawake, MSN

Has 13 years experience.

6 hours ago, Hoosier_RN said:

Yep, that'll help you with a new role for sure. Most new grads also know APA (or software), but have never inserted a foley. SMH

In your opinion, is being able to insert a foley catheter from day one more important than being research literate?

Personally I place more emphasis and value on what a new graduate has in his or her head, rather than in his or her hands. I would rather see that they have a solid physiological understanding of why a patient might need a foley and what the possible risks and complications are. If they’ve also managed to gain enough practical skills training to be fully proficient from day one, that’s great. Otherwise they’ll get there reasonably quickly with on the job exposure on a daily basis. I certainly don’t think that the primary value of a nurse is being able to perform a series of tasks.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

38 minutes ago, macawake said:

In your opinion, is being able to insert a foley catheter from day one more important than being research

APA isn't research, it's a typing format. And judging from research papers that I've graded in the past, APA formatting doesn't make the material any more valid than non APA format.

So at that, yes, having some skills are important from the get go.

A new nurse using their head is important, but APA formatting has little to do with that

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

There are really 2 different issues here:

1. Are nursing students being given a realistic idea of what being a nurse entails? ... the types of jobs available to new grads ... the work hours ... the pay ... the duties ... etc.

2. Are new grads prepared to do the clinical/technical skills that are commonly expected in many jobs?

Those are two entirely different questions. A school can do a great job on one question and a terrible job on another.