Calm Student-Nurse Jitters
Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer
Lean on Others
Acting professionally also means asking for help when you need it. Many students are relieved to learn that they’ll have a great deal of supervision and provide very little care independently during their first semester of clinicals. “There are lots of checks and balances in the care process, including the clinical instructor and other nurses,” Sherwood says. Clinical instructor styles may range from motherly to tough, Cardillo says, but all are there to answer questions and help shape you into a capable nurse.
Show You Care
The nursing school adage of “the patient doesn’t care how much you know, the patient wants to know how much you care” is generally true, Bankston says. Although Bankston fumbled the first few times she took a temperature or blood pressure, patients were usually tolerant. “Patients want to know that someone cares about them and is listening to them,” she says. Cardillo adds that patients also expect a student nurse to be as courteous and respectful of their privacy as any other nurse.
A little queasiness is normal when nursing students begin working with real flesh and blood. “I’ve gotten emails from students saying, ‘I thought I was going to throw up when I was doing a certain skill. Does that mean I shouldn’t be a nurse?’” Cardillo says. “Most nurses get over their queasiness or learn to work around it.”
However, do try to downplay your skittishness if possible. “You don’t want to look too nervous in front of patients, because it will make them jumpy,” says Fay Bower, RN, DNSc, FAAN, chair of the Holy Names University Department of Nursing in Oakland. “Some skills are scarier than others, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be pretty good at it.”