As with many things in life, it can be easiest to look at the negative. Throughout my time as a nursing student, nurse, and nursing instructor, I have heard many people talk about how they don’t feel that nursing school prepared them to be a nurse. But, I’ve come to believe that while it can’t prepare you for everything, nursing school prepares you for a lot in nursing and in life. Here are 3 things that nursing school prepares you for.
The Building Blocks
Sure, it can feel like you aren’t ready when you get that first job as a nurse but nursing school really has given you the building blocks of nursing knowledge. The time spent in nursing school has given you an overview and introduction to caring for people throughout the lifespan. You’ll learn what is normal and abnormal and how to manage the care for a variety of illnesses. You are given time to practice technical skills like starting IVs, giving medications, and assessment techniques. All of this practice leads to a solid foundation from which you can grow into a skilled, capable nurse.
Nurses wear many hats as members of the health care team. They are caregivers, advocates, and educators. They can be responsible for the care of many patients at the same time. But, they also quickly learn that they can’t be everything to everyone all at once. Nursing school prepares you for this by teaching you to prioritize. Nursing students are under pressure to excel academically and clinically but, let’s face it, nursing students are people too! They have families, friends, and responsibilities outside of school. The time spent in nursing school helps students learn the value of prioritization. Nursing students develop skills in identifying what needs to be done now and what can wait for another day. It can be stressful but this is a lesson that nursing school teaches well and it serves nurses throughout their careers and lives.
Appreciation for Lifelong Learning
If there is one thing that I can say that nursing school prepared me for, it would be to accept that I am always learning. Nursing is a profession that deals with constant change and that propels nurses to challenge norms and take on new roles and responsibilities frequently. Nursing school is the very beginning of the nursing journey. There is so much to learn that it feels like you may never learn it all. And, there lies the lesson. Nursing is a profession of lifelong learning and nursing school lays the foundation for nurses to remain humble and curious about all there is to know.
It can be so much easier to list the challenges that new graduate nurses face and how nursing school might not prepare you for the realities of being a nurse. But, nursing school does prepare you in many ways too! You are provided with instruction on all the basics of nursing care and given the skills that will propel you into a strong professional. You will learn the skill of prioritization, both as a nurse and as a person, that can serve you throughout your life. Lastly, nursing school is a brief glimpse into a culture of lifelong learning. Of course there are things I wish I had been more prepared for but nursing school does prepare you for nursing life. Happy Studying!