10 rules for nursing students
Devoted readers, here is my very own list of rules for nursing students, originally compiled sometime during my third semester.
1. Type everything. Instructors prefer typed documents.
It’s easier, of course, to jimmy handwriting so that you take up the requisite five pages, which is why instructors prefer typing. It’s also nice to be able to read what somebody wrote without having to decipher hieroglyphics for hours. Contrary to popular belief, most nurses have handwriting just as bad as that of most doctors.
2. Handwrite everything. Instructors prefer to see your handwriting.
Or, as one particularly flaky instructor told me, “I like to get a feeeeel for what you’re doing.”
3. Concentrate on textbook learning; you’ll learn skills in your graduate internship.
Not a bad piece of advice, especially if you have an internship like mine: heavy on tests for the first three weeks.
4. Concentrate on skills; you won’t have time to learn them at your first job.
Foleys and IVs are all you really need to know. A trained monkey can do a dressing change. Really.
5. You will always have one instructor who is totally, completely, inarguably from Mars. Deal with it.
My “From Mars” moment came in a classroom discussion of ethics and the nursing shortage in our last semester, when one of the instructors on the team told us that the reason for the nursing shortage was that “we’ve aborted a third of our population since 1973.” Everybody, for some reason, turned and looked right at me. I said nothing, preferring to marvel at the clear transmission she achieved even while orbiting somewhere outside the Van Allen Belt.
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Agatha Lellis