10 rules for nursing students

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Devoted readers, here is my very own list of rules for nursing students, originally compiled sometime during my third semester.

To wit:

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.

Doctor shopping –>

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Agatha Lellis

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 askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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6 Responses to 10 rules for nursing students

  1. sbosse

    #11 Even if you know for absolute certain that your instructor is wrong…..NEVER, EVER, EVER, tell them!

  2. Mary

    Especially love #6. Though I wasn’t in nursing school to meet a doctor, I was pregnant in my last semester and I had class with at least one girl that fit the other descriptions as well.

  3. tleonard

    Wonderful tips! I precept this summer and I can really see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  4. roswilliams

    Now I know what to expect. When I was in the PN program at Clara Barton High school (yes, Clara Barton trained and graduated students to be LPNs), I was in my junior year. I didn’t know WHAT to expect. I wasn’t prepared for the tremendous workload. As I grew older, I learned what to expect. I trained and graduated as a certified home health aide. Thanks to this home health aide training program, I now know what to expect and the discipline it takes. I was a home health aide for 18 years until I went out on disability. I will go for my nursing degree as soon as I’m healed. Thanks to the training as a home health aide, I’ve acquired the discipline it takes to advance myself

  5. lwd338

    My biggest recommendation is “fly under the radar, instructers are scanning the group on who to pick on and who doesn’t look like a he/she is going to make it right from day one. keep your know it all mouth closed and stay quiet unless your sure of yourself/

  6. Hi Jo
    Great post. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips. Many nursing students will learn something new after reading this one.