I spent 4 years in nursing school and I thought I learned everything there was to ever shove in my brain. I was oh so very wrong about that. I go into work every day and realize just how unprepared I was coming into this job and the things that I actually have to do. Here’s just a few things that I wish nursing school had taught me.

  1. How to talk to doctors: Sure they always told us it’s part of the job and they even had us practice these obnoxious SBAR phone calls with one another but actually talking to a doctor either on the phone or face to face is totally different! The SBAR bull doesn’t apply when actually talking to a doctor. Luckily at my hospital we text page the residents and usually we don’t have to talk to them at all. But when we do have to talk…ohh boy do I become a basket case. It has gotten easier but I do feel my heart racing a little when my phone rings and its an MD.
  2. How to put in an IV: Now I get that this is a safety thing for schools and they don’t want anyone getting an accidental stick, but come on! at least let us practice in the simulation lab. I have zero confidence when I have to put in an IV. I’ve put in 4 since I started at the hospital..and that was during orientation. Since then I haven’t had any luck. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it but so far nada.
  3. How to take and give report: Again, we practiced the SBAR shit but that’s not what actual report is like. 9 times out of 10 its nothing like that. Some nurses like just the basics, some nurses want a full head to toe, some nurses don’t want anything besides what meds you gave them. Its all a mess. I’m slowly starting to get the hang of it but it’s still nerve wracking when I have to give report (especially to those nurses I know are going to grill me).
  4. How to deal with a difficult patient or family: Every patient a student nurse in school is given is the ideal patient. They don’t have a lot going on and there isn’t a lot that they don’t know about their plan of care so you don’t really have to answer any questions. Now become a nurse where you don’t get the pick of the best patients and you have do deal with the crazy family drama and the patients that are screaming at you because they don’t think you know what you’re doing (fake it til you make it, right?). It’s something I still don’t know how to handle. I’m getting better at answering questions to the best of my ability and when I can’t I say let me page the doctor to come talk to you. Maybe I’ll start gaining some more confidence in this stuff as time goes on?

Well there you have it, 4 things I REALLY wish nursing school taught me. It would have made the transition a hell of a lot easier. For those of you who graduated, what are some things you wish you learned in school?? For those of you going into nursing school, what do you hope you absolutely learn to make you the best nurse possible? Let me know!