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What They DON'T Tell You in Nursing School

What They DON'T Tell You in Nursing School

Brittney Wilson | The Nerdy Nurse

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one of these people who grew up being a nurse. It would be nice to say that I put bandages on my dolls, and had dreams of nursing since I was a child. But I just can’t say it. It’s not true.

I came to the realization that wanted to be a nurse six months after passing my NCLEX and working as a nurse. Before then, I knew I could be a nurse, but I didn’t really know I wanted to.

I went to nursing school because it was local, cost effective, and would be a bridge to my more lofty aspirations of plastic surgeon or lawyer.

I’m sure you will have people tell you not to even dream of wasting you’re time with nursing school if you are not absolutely sure you will love it, but I beg to differ. Nursing is many different things to many different people and I found my love when I realized the impact I could make as a nurse.

So here are a few things I learned after nursing school, on the floor, that I certainly was not taught in a book:

1. I have to think every day. Sometimes I think so hard my head hurts. I had no idea that this job would require so much thinking, but it does. Everyday, all shift, all the time, I have to think.

2. You should never be bored or burned out. Although it happens, there are so many avenues in which to practice that you should never allow yourself to get burnt out as a nurse. If you get tired of bedside care, then work in the OR, the ER, a doctors office, home health, Informatics, and any of the other facets of this career.

3. Sometimes it’s what you say to someone, and not what you do for someone that makes the biggest difference. I work with many competent and skilled nurses who perform their tasks for their patients flawlessly, but they do not take the top to stop and talk with the patient. They do not acknowledge the fact that this person is a person and not a bracelet to scan or a vital sign to record. I did not realize just how much talking would be required of me to provide good care, but honestly, it’s one of my favorite things about nursing.

4. Nurses Eat Their Young. This was a topic not discussed in school and only known to me in fleeting whispers before I became a nurse. In a field that is meant to promote nurturing and caring, it is unfortunate that there will be many nurses who soul source of joy appears to be making the lives of new nurses miserable. If you find yourself being a victim, do your best to avoid them. Stand up for yourself and your patients. And speak out about the issue – it is the only way that we as professionals can help to stop it!


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