Student nurse tips

Purchase All the Textbooks You’ll Need for Nursing School Classes

There are some college students who will try to get away with not buying textbooks for certain classes. These textbooks aren’t always 100 percent necessary for the classes they’re taking. This is not going to be the case in nursing school. You’re not just going to be able to “wing it” and learn all of the things you’ll need to know to become a nurse without books. You should make sure you buy all the recommended textbooks for your specific nursing school.

Speak With Current Nursing School Students Before You Start

If you’re preparing to attend nursing school for the first time, you probably don’t have any idea about what to expect from it. Is it going to be overwhelming right from the start? Will the workload gradually build up and become too much for you to take? Are there going to be moments when you want to quit and find a different profession to pursue? You likely have a million and one questions. The only way to get answers is to speak with those in nursing school now. If your nursing school allows it, you should take time to meet with those who are in the class ahead of you. They’ll be able to give you some pointers that will really help you to get off to the right start in nursing school.

Take Care of Your Nurse’s Aide

I see so many nurses abuse their techs, and it’s just sad. Just because you’re a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) doesn’t mean you can’t turn patients. Take out food trays. Or clean up the patient. If there’s something else more pressing than absolutely do that. But if there isn’t, don’t be standing around not doing anything and leave it all to your tech. They are just as overworked as you are. A good tech can make your life so much easier. So do your part to try to keep the good ones around.

Do Not Work A Lot

As a new nurse, you’re going to be tempted to work a lot of hours. You’re going to see how much money you could make and the opportunity for overtime. We’re not saying you shouldn’t work extra hours. What we’re saying is to be mindful of the number of hours you work your first couple of years because overworking yourself is a good way to speed up the nurse burnout process.

Beware of Nurse Burnout

Nursing is a very stressful job. As a new grad med surg nurse, your stress level is going to be off the chart.

  • Being new is going to stress you out.
  • Patients are going to stress you out.
  • The doctors are going to stress you out.
  • Your nurse co-workers.
  • Administration.
  • We haven’t even mentioned your personal life. Granted not all of these things are going to stress you out at the same time, but still. What you need to do is learn how to manage that stress. We wrote an article about nurse burnout, that’s an excellent resource for managing your stress level.

Be Helpful to Other Nurses

When you’re not very busy, and your patients are stable, see who else needs help. If you see some of your nurse co-workers struggling, and you can help them. Please do. There will come a time you’re going to need the help, and if you didn’t extend a hand when you could have, you might not get the support yourself.

Find a Good Mentor

If you have an excellent preceptor, then you might already have this taken care of. Something else to think about is even if your preceptor is a good mentor there’s a good chance there will be plenty of shifts you’re not working with them. What this means is you should seek out other nurses who would be good mentors. Nurses you could come to for your questions. If you need help with this try asking your preceptor for names of nurses that have been there a while and are great resources.

Remember the Difference Between Textbook and Real Life

I can’t tell you how many new nurses I’ve seen that have been surprised at how different actually working as a nurse is versus the NCLEX world. The NCLEX environment gives you a patient who only has one illness with no comorbidities. For example, you’re unlikely to get a patient who only has diabetes. The NCLEX also doesn’t take into account your workload or any other administrative hang-ups.

Learn How to Prioritize

You’re going to be overwhelmed by the number of patients they’re going to assign to you. As a result, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the number of tasks you’re going to have. Some patients are going to be a lot more needy or demanding than others. Even with all of that, you need to learn to prioritize and stick with it. Everything will need to be done, and it is going to get done eventually. But some things are more important than others.

Get Your Routine Going

Getting your rhythm and routine down will go a long way to making your time in med surg a lot easier. Some things to think about could be.

  • What are you going to do before taking report?
  • What tasks do you focus on after getting report on your patients?
  • When are you going to chart on your patients? If you need help coming up with a routine try asking your preceptor or one of the more experienced nurses and see what their routines are and why.