6 things they don’t tell you in nursing school

Thinkstock | iStock

Thinkstock | iStock

Calling all new nurses…Brittney from The Nerdy Nurse has advice for new grads that you may not have learned in nursing school!

Brittney decided she truly wanted to be a nurse once she had passed her NCLEX. Before then, while she thought she wanted to be a nurse, the strong desire to be one hadn’t kicked in. While this isn’t everyone’s journey, she openly shares hers and wants to pass on advice she learned after nursing school–the things they don’t teach you in school, and that you learn once you’re on the floor working.

  • I have to think every day. Sometimes I think so hard my head hurts. I had no idea that this job would require so much thinking, but it does. Every day, all shifts, all the time, I have to think.
  • If you do your best to do the right thing, critically think and avoid laziness, you will be a much happier nurse and person.
  • You may not always be told if you are doing a good job. In fact, most nursing job descriptions have some line in them that states something along the lines of “work with minimal to no supervision.” What this line really means is don’t count one someone patting you on the back if you’re doing a good job; if you still have a job, you must be doing it good enough. What I mean by this is that just because your management doesn’t approach you to tell you they appreciate you doesn’t mean you are not appreciated. Your patients and your fellow nurses appreciate you. I appreciate you. Please don’t forget it.
  • The fruits of your labors will often be emotionally rewarding far more than monetarily. Nurses are paid a decent living; it could always be more, but it is decent. But I truly feel one of our greatest compensations is the reward we receive when we are able to provide good nursing care for our patients.
  • You will be the keeper of many secrets.
  • You will be with with people in their most vulnerable state and help them to transition to new phases in their life or death. Don’t forget to be respectful of just how much trust we are given. People are letting us into their inner circle just because we are assigned to them. Respect it. Honor it. And make them proud to have you as a nurse.

To read the rest of her sage advice, head on over to The Nerdy Nurse. Then, in the comments below, leave your own wisdom for new grads!


The Nerdy Nurse

Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN, also known as The Nerdy Nurse, is a Clinical Informatics Specialist practicing in Georgia. In her day job she gets to do what she loves every day: Combine technology and healthcare to improve patient outcomes. She can best be described as a patient, nurse and technology advocate, and has a passion for using technology to innovate, improve and simplify lives, especially in healthcare. Brittney blogs about nursing issues, technology, healthcare, parenting and various lifestyle topics at thenerdynurse.com

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3 Responses to 6 things they don’t tell you in nursing school

  1. newlyminted

    Unfortunately, nurses can be some of the most backstabbing, cutthroat individuals on the planet. Hard to believe when you are all working towards the same goal. Best tip is to remember that you are not there to make friends, and no matter how good natured and willing to help your coworkers you might be, there will always be the nastiest of nasties among you.

  2. PlumLizard

    Nurses eat their young. If you didn’t get a thick skin in nursing school, you will on the job or die trying. Sigh. Newly minted got it right. I’m just being more blunt.

  3. Paulette Larmond

    I find it hard to believe you were taught nothing about the six things you mentioned above!! Nothing about confidentiality even??? Or did you miss some classes? :)