Hindsight is 20/20, especially as you gain more wisdom and experience. When we know more, we often wish we could change how we thought or acted in the past. But the truth is that you don’t know what you don’t know. To help students better prepare for their careers, we gathered advice from experienced nurses on the things they wish they had known when they were in nursing school.
Learning never stops
Nursing school provides you with a great foundation, but don’t think you have to (or will!) know it all when you graduate. You’ll do plenty of learning on the job with your preceptor as well as your fellow nurses. Go in with an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to be taught. New procedures and medical advancements constantly change the field of healthcare. In addition to learning on the job, sign up for certifications or classes for ongoing learning. The effort can help your career growth.
Take advantage of your preceptor
Your preceptor relationship will be one of the most important ones you will have as a nurse. Ask questions and take notes. Be appreciative of their time by remembering to say, “thank you.” If possible, connect outside of the workplace to get to know each other on a more personal level. For example, you can grab coffee or take a walk during your lunch break. Your preceptor will be an important mentor in your career network.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You’re not expected to know everything at the start of your career. While you may want to prove yourself, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, there are no dumb questions. Your coworkers want to see you succeed, and by drawing on their knowledge, you all win.
Know your limits
Everyone needs a break from time to time and pushing yourself too hard could backfire and result in burnout. Instead of trying to be a superhero nurse, take time for yourself to rest and recharge. And know the signs of feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When you care for yourself, you can better care for your patients.
Learn to prioritize
There are only so many hours in the day, and you’ll want to look at your to-do list and determine what tasks are most important. Create your plan when you’re getting a patient report during your shift change, identifying the critical tasks and those that can wait. And be sure not to try to multitask, especially when you’re delivering medications. You want to give all tasks your complete focus and undivided attention.
All nurses were once nursing students. And there is no better time, than right now to begin thinking about becoming a nurse. Fortis can help. Click here for more information on our nursing programs or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.