The top 10 things nursing school can’t teach you

Galina Barskaya | Veer

As a nurse, “book learning” can only getcha so far! Here are the top 10 things nursing school can’t teach you as told by Scrubs’ Facebook fans. Don’t worry, you’ll surely learn all of these things in your first few years on the job (if you know what’s good for ya)!




The top 10 things nursing school can’t teach you
1. Bladder training
—Mandy Jacobs

2. That real people move
—Kim Miller-Varney

3. How to prioritize what is truly important (and what is not!)
—Kathie Brown Carpenter

4. How to prevent the dreaded “foot in mouth”
—Lucie Palumbo

5. That sometimes it’s better to listen than talk!
—Schelly Owens

6. You never get lunch…let alone those two 15-minute breaks!
—Miriam Cote

7. To trust your nursing intuition or judgment. That comes later—one of the true gifts of nursing experience.
—Wendy L Cohan

8. Defense training
—Mandie Vick Miller

9. How nurses “eat their young”
—Kimmy Siebens

10. That nursing school is just a foundation!
—Angela Choulat

Seasoned nurses: What else does nursing school NOT teach you?

, , ,

Scrubs Contributor

We welcome your ideas and submissions to Scrubs Magazine! Here's how to submit your own story or story idea to our editors.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

4 Responses to The top 10 things nursing school can’t teach you

  1. minajon

    I REALLY wish we would stop saying we don’t get lunch. TAKE LUNCH!! There is NO WAY I am going to work a more than 12.5 hour shift without stopping for my 1/2 hour lunch break. Granted, I don’t take the 15 minute breaks, but, first, it is the LAW that we get/ take a lunch break and, second, it would be impossible for me to not eat AND sit and relax for the short 1/2 hour that is lunch; I would be far too hungry and unable to work properly without my ‘fuel’. JUST TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAK ALREADY and stop acting like we should martyr ourselves to that degree, unless you enjoy being a martyr :( I REFUSE to feel bad about taking a 1/2 hour break in a 12.5 hour + day of constant work!!

  2. beliefnhope Caption Contest

    They don’t teach you in nursing school that the disease processes didn’t read the textbooks!

    In response to minajon… I never feel bad for taking my lunch break and dont think I am a martyr for not taking one. Sometimes the patient load of the day requires my missing lunch to meet the needs of those I am caring for. Other days I can slip away for that coveted 30min lunch break. Unlike office work where you can set the project down and walk away without causing harm, walking away from a patient to eat could. I think we can all agree that when it comes to being a nurse, we are all very likely to sacrifice our lunch break for the good and benefit of our patients when truly needed!

  3. mom_nml RN

    I agree with minajon, if you work in a facility that does not promote a climate where lunch breaks are not only allowed, but that breaks are encouraged, you need to do something to change that climate. If you choose to not take your breaks, including your 15 min rest breaks, you are not only hurting yourself, you are ultimately putting your patient safety at risk. Nurses are not martyrs, and should take care of themselves first.
    Nurses also do not eat their young, that is called bullying, and should not be tolerated. For the few nurses I have met in my many years of nursing that could be classes as “eating their young”, I have met far many nurses that have supported me and encouraged me as I grew and developed as a nurse.
    The one thing that nursing school and the books did not teach me is how to deal with the myriad changes in technology as the changes have taken place. Nurses today not only must use technology, but must also know when to rely on their nursing judgement regardless of what the technology says.

    • Steph Student

      As a student, I’ve already been paired with a clinical nurse who is likely one of the bullies…It made for an awful day as a clinical student, but I still learned something: I don’t have to be like her or treat anyone that way.

      I loved number 2…Yup. :-)