Being a great nurse takes more than just knowing the facts
Practical nursing students learn how the human body works, and how it doesn't when something breaks. Some of what they learn is amazing while some of it's gross. Some of it's fun, and some of it is not-so-fun. They study medical procedures and facts. They learn through practice as student nurses by watching and listening to more experienced nurses. They then take all that they've learned in school into the workplace to monitor patient progress, administer medications and first aid, assist physicians with medical procedures, and provide comfort, care, and support to patients in settings such as hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
If you are studying to become a practical nurse or thinking about returning to school to become one, here are some things practical nurses know that might help you become the best practical nurse you can be.
Practical nurses know:
- how to stay calm, cool, and collected. Working in a healthcare setting can be stressful. Each day is different and can bring unexpected challenges and situations. Maintaining a calm exterior is critical when taking care of an emergency or attending to a very sick patient. The calmness can help the patient feel less fearful.
- taking care of patients requires courage and compassion. Because of the situations nurses must handle in their jobs, they must have the courage to face their own fears, especially in an emergency scenario, so that they can handle it efficiently and professionally. They also recognize that they are dealing with people who are not at their best, and this can lead them to be difficult. So, it's important to always treat patients with understanding and compassion.
- how to act ethically and professionally. Practical nurses learn that patient privacy is to be protected and to follow HIPAA. While in school, they learn about ethical and legal issues so that they go into their first jobs armed with the knowledge needed to tackle questions such as: When do you allow patients to make decisions about their care and when do you step in to guide them?
And here is some useful advice from experienced nurses who have been around long enough to know what's important for new nurses about to head into the healthcare profession from a scrubsmag.com article:
- Learn to be comfortable with the fact that you don't and won't know everything. Do research but don't always rely on Google.
- Get used to eating and walking fast, but slow down and be focused when handling patient medication.
- Listen – to nursing assistants and patients.
- Be confident, but not arrogant. There is a difference.
- Invest in comfortable shoes and a good stethoscope.
- There will be days when sleeping and bathroom breaks rarely happen.
If reading this has sparked your interest, check out the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health Practical Nursing program . If you are about to embark on your first practical nursing job, we hope you will carry these tips with you, and we wish you the best in your new career!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH. Visit us online to learn more, or reach out to schedule a campus tour!