When do you feel you know enough to be contributing...?

Nursing Students General Students


Specializes in Palliative Care, Urgent and Primary Care.

I'm going into year 3 of a BSN program. When I look back on my education, I feel I've learned so much and can perform many nursing assessments and actions. I've had opportunity to do various skills, some more than others. But for the summer, I am fortunate enough to have an employed student nurse position in an adult ICU, and I'm surrounded by incredibly acute pt's who have multi-complex health challenges. I recognize this is a specialty area and I'm not supposed to know it all here. But last night I was given some useful critique on how to brush a pt's teeth. If I can't even brush someone's teeth correctly, what is going on?!

When, oh when, will I start to feel confident in my skill set?! When will I be a contributor to the team and not be a time-drag to those around me?


The key words you used were "useful critique." What's the matter with that? Useful? You oughta thank your lucky stars that you work someplace that doesn't ignore you and then on your day off says, "This kid can't even brush teeth." No, they cared enough to share something useful with you. This is good. This is excellent.

You'll get there, trust me. In the meantime, keep on doing your best and learning. And when you do get there, remember what it feels like, and help the newbies coming up behind you. Of such efforts are culture changes made.

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Specializes in Palliative Care, Urgent and Primary Care.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate any and all helpful nursing critiques I can get! I see it as an important way in improving and I'd way rather be corrected than con't doing something wrong.

My point was more of a "when am I going to get things right enough that critique isn't necessary"...

Thank you for your encouragement. I'll hold onto that and await the day it all clicks together.

And yes!!! I hope to be the kind of nurse who includes, teaches, and shares w/ the student nurses. But that seems so far away at this point...


Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

I feel like taht wont come until probably after working as a nurse for awhile. I've had the opportunity to practice a lot of skills and for some things I feel more comfortable but it always seems like the more I learn the more I feel I have soo much still to learn.

Specializes in Palliative Care, Urgent and Primary Care.

I agree... the more I learn, the more I realize I know so very little, it feels. I guess that's the process... I look forward to the time when I feel comfortable w/ my skills and capabilities, and can show up to work feeling like I have my sh&t together!

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