50 things every student nurse should know

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

Nursing school isn’t just about passing exams and making it through clinicals alive (though those are two very important concerns for every student!). It’s also about learning as much as you can before becoming a full-fledged nurse. But as every seasoned nurse knows, there are some things nursing school just can’t teach you. Here are 50 things every nursing student should know from someone who’s been there before:

1. Sleeping is optional.
2. Being overwhelmed is perfectly normal.
3. Learn what a Code Brown is before you are part of one.

4. Do not become a fly on the wall; get your hands dirty.
5. Ask questions.
6. Give answers.

7. Fake it until you make it.
8. Never forget that you are caring for a fellow human being.
9. The patient is much more scared than you ever will be.

10. Always pitch in to help. Always.
11. Never utter the words, “It’s not my job.” Ever.
12. Grow a thick set of skin early.

13. Being yelled at can be quite common. Never take it personally.
14. Learn the nursing lingo.
15. If you don’t learn it in your head, you will pay for it with your feet.

16. Slow down.
17. Stop diagnosing yourself with the most recent illness you just learned.
18. Google is NOT always the best source of information.
19. Research may not be your cup of tea, but it is your greatest ally.

20. When the nurse’s aide suggests anything, pay attention.
21. Learn the difference between confidence and arrogance. It’s how patients get hurt.
22. You will NEVER know everything. EVER. Get used to it.
23. Nursing is a 24-hour job; do not expect to get it all done in one shift.
24. Learn to say no.

25. Advocate for yourself first.
26. Never apologize for doing your job.
27. When speaking to a provider, have all of your ducks in a row. ALWAYS.
28. If you don’t know it, look it up.
29. Do not be distracted when you have medications in your hand.
30. Never walk past a call bell. EVER. Don’t be THAT nurse.

31. Answer the ringing phone.
32. Learn to walk fast.
33. Learn to eat fast.
34. Bathroom breaks can be optional some days.
35. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you soon will be.

36. Buy a good pair of shoes. Spend the money. It’s a good investment.
37. Buy a decent stethoscope.
38. Learn everyone’s name.
39. Learn where everything is located on your unit.

40. Volunteer often.
41. Transporting patients within the hospital is an art. Practice it often.
42. Take the time to auscultate well. Never fake it. EVER.
43. Do not take your bad day out on your patient. EVER.

44. Nursing humor. Use it.
45. Work the NOC shift. Take your turn. You need to respect that shift and thank those who do it.
46. Being an “A” student does not make you a good nurse. Figure out why.
47. Being a “C” student does not make you a bad nurse. Figure out why.

48. Electrolytes are your friend. Master them.
49. Remember where you came from.
50. The patient always comes first.

What would you add to the list?

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5 Responses to 50 things every student nurse should know

  1. True! All of them!

  2. Mommynator Student

    I second Kelly. All of them are true.

  3. except for sleep. I slept. It might be in the middle of class, but I got some sleep.

  4. oceaneyes7@hotmail.com

    I have been an LPN for 21 years. I am finally getting my RN degree. These are all true! I had to give up a job that I dearly love to have time for school. Maybe that should be on the list! Thankfully I have a very supportive husband who has been with me every step of the way!

  5. renee0270

    Best piece of advice I was ever given, on a day where nothing was going my way. “A frustrated nurse is a distracted nurse, and distracted nurses make mistakes. “