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What Nursing School Doesn’t Teach you

January 21st, 2011


Nursing school will undoubtedly give you the basic knowledge and skills you need to get your foot in the door as an RN, but there are number scenarios and situations that your nursing education will not prepare you for. Most of these things can unfortunately only be learned through personal experience. However, below are just a few things you can expect to experience as a RN that nursing school doesn't teach you.

Fist let it be said that you will mostly likely have to treat patients with illnesses and perform procedures that you have never heard of before. And that's ok. During your first year you will be in-training and it's vital that you take this time to learn new protocols. It's just important that you always speak up and ask questions if you need help or are unsure of what to do. But be aware that even if you approach more experiences healthcare professionals with your questions, sometimes they won't have the answers.

Another thing that nursing school doesn't teach you is that despite your efforts to do everything just right, one day you will make a mistake. It's inevitable. But just remember that nurses are human and as long as your patient is safe, and you document and learn from this error so it never occurs again, you should be in ok shape. While on a similar topic, nursing school doesn't really prepare you for the emotional repercussions you may experience when you lose your first patient. Again, losing a patient is inevitable as well. It's just important that you are not too hard on yourself, but don't be ashamed to be upset either.

Nursing school also doesn't teach you that if you work in a hospital contractually you will be obligated to work a set number of holidays. Some hospitals let you choose which holidays you want to work, others determine that for you.

Lastly, nursing school doesn't tell you that it's ok to take a break from using medical terminology every now and then. You want your patients to truly understand what's going on so break it down for them in layman's terms. Even with fellow nurses, if they seem confused explain to them what you're saying without medical terms, and the reinforce it with the scientific names so they understand and learn something new.