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5 things I wish I had known in nursing school

Nursing school is overwhelming. There is so much material to cover. And even though at times it seems as if nursing school will never end, it also feels like there’s never enough time to learn it all. You’ve got the NCLEX looming on the horizon, and after that, you know you’re heading out into the new frontier as a nurse.

Looking back, there were things I didn’t know in nursing school that I wish I had.

I wish I had known:

That I already had everything it took to be a good nurse

I did. From the very beginning. And so do you. The rest is time and practice and patience to let the knowledge and experience sink into your bones.

How to take care of myself

There should be an entire course in nursing school about self-care. Nurses should be taught from the beginning that regular and amply dosed self-care is one of the most important components of avoiding burnout. I didn’t know that self-care was even a thing.

How to use the power words: Concern, Colleague, Consult

These three power words can help you in just about any situation. When you begin a statement with “I’m concerned about … ,” you open up a discussion about the issue without personal attack. Referring to other members of your healthcare team as a “colleague” embraces the professional nature of your clinical role. “Consult” is another power word that you can use when you need to explore an issue with other team members before making a clinical decision or answering a question.

That there’s more than one way to do a task right

Fumbling around and taking more than one time to complete a nursing task was really just my way of finding my right way. You might emulate the way a nurse does something and that’s great—they can be a role model. But you might have a different way that’s just as good.

That patients are just people

Patients are people. They’re often sick or in pain, they feel vulnerable and a little scared. I was terrified of patients! I didn’t think about the fact that they were way too consumed with their own problems to be worried about me. What they needed was attention and compassion. I wish I could’ve known how to let go of my own fears so that I could focus more on them.


Your turn

What do you wish you had known in nursing school?

By | 2021-05-07T17:38:41-04:00 September 21st, 2015|Categories: Nursing Education|2 Comments

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