10 things nurses wish they had known before starting nursing school

Shutterstock | wavebreakmedia
Shutterstock | wavebreakmedia

If you could turn back the clock and meet your previous self just before you started nursing school, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give? We asked the great nurses on our Facebook page and got some fantastic answers. Here are 10 that stood out, but you’ll definitely want to check out the others, as well!

10 things nurses wish they had known before starting nursing school

1. “I thought nursing school would be a breeze for me since I already had a bachelor’s degree prior to nursing school, and was used to challenging classes. Bahahaha. I thought wrong! There is no comparison between non-nursing majors and nursing majors.”
—Lacey Kidd

2. “You’ll become quite accustomed to crying. You’ll cry when you’re happy, stressed, sad, excited and for no reason at all. And that’s okay, because everyone else is also crying.”
—Kalie Miller

3. “Stockpile wine and coffee.”
—Amanda Stinnett

4. “That there is the NCLEX world of nursing and the real world of nursing!!!”
—Audra Mancuso

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4 Responses to 10 things nurses wish they had known before starting nursing school

  1. WilvisRN

    I’ve missed questions on nursing exams because I answered them based on real world nursing instead of what the book says to do things.

  2. FredKapelski

    Have been a RN, BSN since 1985. I got my degree at SIU-E when instructions made it quite clear that men were not welcome, veterans (well, let’s not go there) were welcome less. The “leaders” in the program were rather upset that “the men” not only graduated but to their licenses as well.

    I have had to intervene in phone conversations with nurses who have a crying fit because of a rude and incorrigible MD on the phone. I always told I was more than willing to document their words so that it would become a legal matter and suggest I wasn’t going to cry in a corner.

    Coffee? I have heard female RN’s state they will not take report until “their coffee” is made by the preceding shift. I guess the arrogant aire to the demand has something to do with professionalism.

    I currently work in a facility where the ER RN’s can’t give an intelligent report when a patient is sent to the receiving unit. They have CEN on their name tags for some unknown reason. They, as a group, can not be believe and any information they give about a patient. And they speak their willful inaccuracies in such a sweet voice.

    After 30 years I have seen why there is a nursing shortage. Nurses will lie to, back stab, set up for failure people (especially males) they don’t like and pat each other on the back as they do so.

    I have seen regular RN’s who when house supervisors will demand that you work unsafe hours while they themselves will not The same with “advance prepared” mangers who will do the same. They can’t be trusted with any type of assistance in a nursing manner because they simply WON”T do it, and most often DON”T know how to do it.

    Hospital & nursing management is expert in how to divide nurses against each other in order to not get them to get together on anything. They use the pettiness of most female RN’s to keep them at perpetual odds with each other. As a result, RN’ are walked all over continually.

    RN’s, mostly female, will proudly and with a broad smile tell you that “Nursing eats their own.” Is this something that a “professional” should proudly proclaim? Nursing will not be recognized as a profession until it can act like a profession.

  3. Nurse420

    If I could go back many years ago I would warn myself that nursing changes from putting patient care first to the almighty dollar first. How do you put a price tag on a person’s life. Corners are cut into circles. Patient care has and will always come first to me. The patients are customers. They pay my salary. I may use too much gauze or throw away old nail clippers but I will continue as to be a voice for my geriatric residents. Birth is celebrated and a person’s end days should be full of love and support. Every life is a celebration I was taught that early on lets be kind to our newcomers teach them what has gotten us through. We were all new once, scared and unsure. Instead of being intimidating be someone that will give advice in a way they will remember. I am not easily intimidated but I watched my fellow grads be torn to pieces by older, tired, busy nurses. I watched a very timid new nurse years later who had harsd training be scared to ask something and I thankfully asked her to recalculate a heparin dosage she had calculated at 70,000 units. She was so scared she bust into tears we became friends. Nurses by eating our young we make our profession look bad and jeapordize our patients health and safely. When you can’t be kind it time to reassess. I will leave nursing at that time because I will know its no longer for me

  4. drumclan

    That you would have to do things to patients that may be uncomfortable but help them in the end.