Our resident Nursing Scholar, Kendall Wyatt, penned this about the aspects of nursing he wasn’t expecting. There are so many amazing things about being a nurse that all the downsides are totally worth it, as any nurse or nursing student knows- but these are three things that were definitely left out of the nursing school brochures! Take a break from studying for NCLEX test questions to read his list.
If you are already in nursing school, you have quickly realized that the words “free time” are no longer in your vocabulary. Your evenings are filled reading hundreds of pages of material in hopes of mastering it all for those dreaded “Select All That Apply” questions on your next exam.
Through the success of many students including myself I have realized that one of the most important things to do is actually make best use of the little free time you do have. You’ve probably heard about getting enough sleep and prioritizing your study time with a great tool like Picmonic (nudge nudge, shameless plug). We all know these things are true, but you don’t forget to focus on your small amount of relaxation time being time to actually, y’know, relax.
It’s easy to identify the things you love, so pick those out and pamper yourself each week. I always found my friends and I gathering at a local Mexican restaurant to just relax and hang out. It would always rejuvenate us for the week ahead. Some other students do things such as sports, a walk in the park, a massage, or maybe a home cooked meal with your family. The point is this: at least few hours every week should be completely devoid of anything nursing.
You are doing clinical rotations to learn and practice new skills. I thoroughly enjoyed nearly all of my clinical rotations, but I always give cautious advice to new nursing student: Just as there are lazy workers in every other industry, there are unfortunately lazy nurses and nursing assistants. Though to be clear, they are not the majority! You may encounter a few, though. I caution you to not allow yourself to end up in a situation where you are doing 135+ blood sugar finger sticks, or answering every call light.
The trick here is to always try to volunteer to see, assist, or complete as many new areas as possible and not just allow one nursing assistant to delegate all of his or her tasks to you. So you might overhear Nurse Jackie needs to place a rectal tube in room 6? Don’t skip the opportunity to see it in person because… well you are a student and it’s just “neat.”
As a student nurse you are required to experience every area of nursing. My personal least favorite is Obstetrics- I have no desire to dissect a placenta ever again in my life. I also have a strong dislike for fecal matter. You won’t know prior to nursing school everything you don’t like but you will quickly figure it out.
What’s the solution? I call it the buddy system. Find out what other people in your clinical group strongly dislike and barter. I traded tasks all through my clinical rotations with other nursing students. “Oh you hate suctioning trachs?” I would say. “Well room 205 needs assistance with number 2… Let’s trade.” I can gladly say that during my entire nursing school clinical experience, I never once cleaned fecal matter. I can, however, say that I danced with a 92 year old patient in exchange for her to always give me fair warning so I could assist her to the restroom.
Life is always about compromise.
Marlee Liberman, RN, Master Nursing Scholar
As a registered nurse, Marlee understands the struggles that nursing school throws at you – not to mention the overwhelming pressure preparing for the NCLEX®! Marlee brings a unique skill set and perspective to Picmonic with her previous degree in broadcast journalism, her creativity in video production, and her wandering nomad lifestyle. Her blend of talents provides her with the knack for simplifying complicated concepts and demystifying the world of nursing.
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