10 Things You Can’t Learn in Nursing School

You’ve graduated nursing school and you are officially starting your new job. You hit the floor running and maybe feeling a little panicked. Suddenly, you feel like nursing school didn’t teach you anything at all. In reality, we know this isn’t true. Here is a list of ten things nursing school couldn’t teach you.

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1. Communication. Nurses are a vital link between patients and providers. They must communicate effectively with each other to coordinate patient care. How you communicate information is just as important as what you say. Not everyone communicates in the same way. Make sure to take the time to get to know your patients, their families and your colleagues.

2. Time Management. Life as a nurse is very busy. You want to prioritize your work, stay organized with personal checklists and chart efficiently and quickly. Make sure you find whatever works well for you to develop strong time management skills. You can also reach out to a colleague for ideas to help maximize your time each day.

3. Attention to Detail. One way to avoid making a medical mistake is paying attention to details. You want to make sure you focus on listening to your patient and observing non-verbal cues. Your patient wants to feel understood and not just heard.

4. Critical Thinking. As a nurse, you must be a problem solver. Your to-do list is long and it may feel like time and resources are in short supply. As you encounter different situations with patients you will learn the following skills: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
When identifying problems; don’t be afraid to discuss them with your supervisor.

5. Professionalism. Everything you say and do reflects your ethical principles and moral values. Nurses should always exhibit professionalism in front of patients, their families and colleagues. Some examples are your reliability, appearance, demeanor, competence, and maintaining your poise.

6. Compassion. Maintaining compassion is essential to providing good care. Nurses are the ones working directly with patients and their families. An absence of compassion can lead patients feeling devalued and lacking in emotional support.

7. Ability to Remain Calm. As a nurse, you are always on the ready preparing for a stressful situation. Learning to remain calm and continue to perform your nursing skills despite the surrounding chaos is a challenging skill. This is a skill you can master with time.

8. How to Deal With Death. Death is not something you can prepare for. It takes a lot of time to learn how to deal with death in a healthy, sympathetic and professional way. Unfortunately, it is something you will see more frequently as a nurse. You can always reach out to your colleagues for advice.

9. How to Deal With Feelings. There is nothing like being a new nurse with adrenaline coursing through your veins. You have to act quickly under pressure in serious situations. With practice, you will learn how to adapt to your feelings when dealing with emergency situations.

10. How to Deal With Doctors and Co-Workers. We all know that everyone is different. As a nurse, you will encounter difficult doctors or co-workers. This is out of your control, but what isn’t out of your control is keeping a cool and professional demeanor. The best you can do is making sure that you are doing your job as a nurse.

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