Nursing Skills | Clinical Nursing Skills Learned in Nursing School
Registered nurses (RN) must be able to perform a wide variety of nursing skills at their job. These nursing skills are usually learned while in nursing school. However, some more advanced nursing skills will be learned by the nurse while working at their nursing job. Nursing school teaches the nursing student basic nursing skills such as starting an IV, inserting a Foley catheter, and putting on sterile gloves etc. In order to learn more advanced nursing skills, such as arterial line maintenance, ventilator management, and dialysis therapy, the new nurse must specialize in a nursing field that requires nurses to perform these nursing skills on a daily basis. For a complete list of nursing specialties see our RN Jobs category.
What are Nursing Skills?
A nursing skill is a task that can only be completed by someone who is a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who has been deemed competent to complete this task. In order to be deemed competent to perform a nursing skill, the nurse must complete a competency skills check off list. This competency skills check off list is completed by a nurses manager or preceptor. By the manager or preceptor completing this checklist it states the nurses is competent to perform these nursing skills independently. Many hospitals require nurses annually to submit a competency checklist that has been initialed by a colleague or manager and this is usually due every year at their annual evaluation. This helps the nurse keep up to date with their nursing skills.
In nursing school, nursing students are tested on nursing skills by performing certain clinical nursing skills in front of their instructor. The setting these skills are performed in is setup like a hospital room with a mannequin in a hospital bed. Sometimes mannequin simulators are used to help the student learn.
These stimulated mannequins can be manipulated by the instructor to have problems that the student may encounter in the real hospital setting. For example, a stimulated mannequin can be programmed to go into cardiac arrest, which in turn would test the student on how they would respond correctly. Their instructor would carefully watch and make sure the student is performing their nursing skills correctly. These test are called nursing skills check off tests. A nursing skills checklist is usually provided to the student to study before the skills test.
Where Will I learn How to Perform Nursing Clinical Skills?
During nursing school a nursing student will learn how to perform basic nursing skills. Nursing school will lay the foundation for basic nursing skills, but if a nurse wants to expand their clinical nursing skills they will have to specialize in a certain nursing field that interest them. During nursing school the nursing student will learn basic skills like how to make a hospital bed, how to properly wash your hands, how to take a blood pressure and heart rate, provide hygiene to a patient, how to complete a full body assessment etc with many of these skills being basic skills that could be performed by a nurses aid. Once these skills are mastered, the nursing student will learn slightly more advanced skills that only a licensed nurse can perform, such as how to give an injection, how to start an IV, and how to insert a Foley catheter etc.
If a nurse is interested in learning advanced nursing skills like how to give dialysis therapy or how to manage ventilators etc., the nurse should apply to nursing positions where they will learn how to do these tasks. Many hospitals will also provide training classes that will teach advanced nursing skills.