What nurses DON’T learn in nursing school

Image by: Thinkstock | Hemera

I had this conversation recently with some fellow professionals: We were discussing the increasingly large void between what they teach in nursing school and what you learn in your first job.

It’s become very clear that most school programs are not focused on teaching you how to be a nurse, but teaching you how to pass your boards. They pour enough knowledge into your brain bucket so that you can pass your national exam.

Is that enough? Or is there more to nursing than one final exam?

Some would argue that you can’t become a nurse and learn the “real-world” nursing skills until you’ve passed your boards. Others would argue that’s the only thing some are concerned with learning.

It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? We need a passing grade on that exam, but the exam is not reflective of our practice in motion.

Many in the academic world would scoff at those words, but the truth of the matter is that any new grad is barely prepared to handle what gets thrown at them. It’s only when their practice is set in motion do they truly come into their own.

Are other health care professions the same? I wonder.

I also wonder if there are just some things that cannot be taught but will be learned as you progress in the profession? What if we broke it down into a list?

What you must learn in school:

  • Applied anatomy and physiology
  • Basic biology
  • Applicable pharmacology concepts
  • Basic microbiology, mathematics and chemistry

What you will learn once you graduate:

  • Efficient time management
  • Didactic emotional resistance
  • True patience
  • Skill development

I guess you could say there are an infinite number of intangibles that cannot be presented in the traditional classroom. And it’s those intangibles that separate our profession from most others. You have to walk in our shoes to appreciate the climb.

Like us on Facebook and join the Scrubs Family