6 Lessons You Won’t Learn In Nursing School

The educational requirements for prospective nurses are demanding, no doubt about it. A lot of critical information is presented to nurses enrolled in associate’s and bachelor’s degree or even online rn to bsn degree programs. But even though the demanding curriculum is comprehensive, the first thing nurses who’ve been on the job for a while tell new nurses is that there are lessons you didn’t learn in the classroom.

Lesson 1: Office Politics
A surprising lesson for new nurses  to learn is that “office politics” are practiced in every hospital, office, or facility. There are people in power that encourage, or might discourage, professional development and the quality of care. This is often shocking for those new to the field to learn. Relationships among medical professionals are important. It is critical that new nurses develop and maintain good working relationships with the administration and peers.

Lesson 2: Legalities
A second lesson is that the legalities in nursing are more than professional or ethical suggestions. State monitoring agencies engage in serious enforcement. Nurses are subject to severe penalties and loss of licensure as a result of violations of established medical practices and ethics. Shortcutting in providing care and recordkeeping leads to trouble.

Lesson 3: Treat the Patient’s Family With Care
The third facet of nursing seldom mentioned in school is that nurses treat the patient’s family as well as the patient. Successful nurses quickly develop the knack of effectively communicating with family members to enlist their support during the patient’s treatment. Family members handled correctly become allies. Those whose concerns are not addressed file complaints against nursing staff and act in counterproductive ways.

Lesson 4: Keep a Healthy Attitude
The fourth lesson learned on the job is that after being on the job for several years some nurses may develop a negative attitude. The insidious nature of burn-out is that it affects even experienced and caring nursing professionals. Young and eager nursing students never consider the possibility. Becoming cold and distant in response to overwhelming responsibilities is a problem if you don’t effectively cope with the stressors in nursing.

Lesson 5: It’s a Workout!
Your feet will hurt. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being a whole person is part of being a successful nurse. Buy yourself quality shoes and eat healthy. You can’t take care of others effectively if you don’t take care of yourself.

Lesson 6: Continue Learning

The last lesson is that learning never stops. The process of staying up-to-date in nursing practices and medicines begins after graduation. There is always more to know.

Experience is an education in itself.

Stacey Kerns is a contributing writer for rntobsnschool.org, a site where aspiring nurses can receive an education online.

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