From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse. As soon as I was old enough, I got my CNA and began working in a cute little rehab center in order to get as much experience as I could. Due to getting married and moving so much, I wasn’t able to apply to nursing school as early as I had wanted to. 6 years later, I am almost done and boy has it been an adventure! I wanted to share with you 6 important lessons that I have learned in nursing school so far.
1.Laughter is important: Most of the nursing student that I know are very high-strung. Nursing school isn’t easy and most of us take it very seriously (as we very well should, who wants a nurse that doesn’t know their stuff!?). I have noticed that we often forget to find humor in things and we often neglect anything fun because we get so caught up in studying or homework. Laughing is important because it relieves physical tension, stress and helps boost your immune system. Don’t forget to take the time to browse Pinterest for dumb memes or go out with your buddy every once in a while. Your books are very loyal and will still be waiting for you when you return, I promise.
2. Study to save lives: Now time to be a buzz kill; take studying, school and clinical rotations seriously! Remember that you are studying to SAVE LIVES, not just to pass the class or the NCLEX. I am thankful for those nurses that were able to advocate for and save my mother’s life in the ED when she had a heart attack. They knew she was very unstable even when the doctor said that she was fine and ready to go home.
3. The little things matter: I actually learned this lesson while working as a CNA but it has been something I often remember and feel is very important as a nurse. The little things are small menial tasks that can make a world of a difference for your patient. Put lotion on their legs, salve on their lips, and make sure they have fresh water. These little things are easy to forget and can sometimes get annoying but they sure are an easy way to help your patient feel a little more human.
4. Find a mentor: Have you heard the saying, “Nurses eat their young”? Well some nurses really do try to eat their young but most are amazing at taking you under their wing. Some are very passionate about teaching and guiding you through nursing school (They are seriously angels). I have been lucky enough to find a few people who I consider wonderful mentors. Some of them don’t even realize that I consider them a mentor but they help me more than they even realize. I look forward to the day when I am able to pass on my helpful tips and tricks to someone learning. Thank you to all the nurses out there that are willing to take on crazy nursing students!
5. Keep an open mind: Going into nursing school I always pictured myself working in the ED and hating labor and delivery. I was NOT excited for my OB class at all!!!! I quickly learned that I really loved labor and delivery and the ED was just alright. I had my heart set on the ED so it was a little confusing when I realized that the ED wasn’t where I would like to work. As of right now, I would eventually like to end up working in either the ICU or L&D (However, I’m still keeping an open mind to all options 😀 ). The only thing I know for sure right now is that I want more med surg time before I go into a specialty area.
6. Nursing school is hard. This sounds silly but nursing school combined with ROTC has been one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. I have had to learn how to find balance in chaos, prioritize and somehow stay semi sane (poor Brady has had to deal with so much crazy from me). When I look back to the beginning of nursing school, I realize that I have had some pretty amazing experiences and met some amazing people! Even though nursing school has been hard and stressful (I have SO many gray hairs at 25!!), it has been worth it.
Nursing school has gone by so fast! I only have 7 months until I enter the world of the Army Nurse Corps. If you are just starting nursing school, hang in there and hopefully these little tips were helpful and encouraging to you! Nurses, Please comment and leave some advise you feel is helpful for a new nurse. I’d love to hear your advise.