[VOICES of EXPERIENCE] Advice for Nursing Students From the Field


Voices of Experience…  Advice for Nursing Students

Some words of experience from men and women who are working nurses in a variety of settings, with myriad skills, perspectives, and levels of education.  Thank you to all of the nurses who have been so forthcoming in sharing their views and experiences !

It takes a lot of hard work and determination. You can start off by job shadowing at the hospital, that way you can get a feel for the nurse’s role first hand. I saw that you were an observer for a medical team which is a good start. If anything, for now get your prerequisites out the way. A community college is a good start for those, save you some money, just make sure your classes will transfer to the prospective nursing programs. I would definitely recommended getting your BSN though, it will be beneficial to you in the long run. Just know that nursing is a whole different field, a different way of thinking. Good luck to you! ~Jwana


Get ready to change your way of life! I was 47 yrs. old before I started nursing school.
I had to eat, breathe, and sleep nursing. I traveled 70 miles one way to class.
I ate my sandwich walking across campus to my next class. Maybe you can partner up
with a friend. I did and we traveled together. By the way,neither of us had prior nursing experience. We quizzed each other on what we had studied on the way, to and from class. I studied on the couch sometimes until 2;00 A.M.and set my alarm clock. I had to wake up early early in a.m. to hook up with my ride and get to class on time.

It won’ t be easy, but you can do it. You really have to be determined that you will make
it through the course and graduate. By the way, if you are married or in a relationship,
I hope you have a supportive spouse or partner. That will help a whole lot.

Nursing was the experience of a lifetime. You will never be sorry. Being a nurse will do
a lot of things for you. It will makes you a more caring, organized, stronger person (emotionally), able to make right decisions for your patients. It teaches you a different way of thinking. I had a little trouble leaving my patients at the hospital, when my shift ended. I hope that you learn to do that. Be determined and stick with it. Do not let the words, “I quit!” creep into your mind. Good luck!
mind, no matter what. ~Katie

Get as organized in your life as possible.
Make sure you have everything in your life done ahead of time. Get all your dental, medical, car appointments, etc….. done beforehand. We weren’t allowed many absences and if you missed something it was hard to fill in the gap.
Expect for your world to revolve around school and most things will be second.
Best of wishes, ~Lynda


[VOICES of EXPERIENCE] Advice for Nursing Students From the Field

ImageSome words of experience from men and women who are working nurses in a variety of settings, with myriad skills, perspectives, and levels of education.  Thank you to all of the nurses who have been so forthcoming in sharing their views and experiences !

“Nursing is an art and a person needs to have that inner desire to help others and at times wear their hearts on their sleeves. I have been in the medical field 27 years, I started out as a Medical Assistant in Denver, CO than realized I was doing almost all that an RN was doing than returned to college in Washington and it was like boot camp but it was worth all the sweats, blood and tears I shed, now I am 2 classes from graduating with my BSN since that is what employers are looking for. I have loved all the different types of busting I have done and if you find yourself liking to teach than get out and get your degree MSN and get some experience under your belt and colleges are needing teachers. I have found my love in wound care and that will be my next degree wound care specialist if anyone knows of a great school. Nursing is awesome.” ~Jodi

“You should ask recent grads in your area how the job market is, or look in job postings to see if they hire new grads.  Nursing school is challenging. Start listening when anyone around you talks about their health problems. Ask them about their signs and symptoms. Try to find people who have recently entered the programs you’re interested in and ask them how it was for them, see if they have any tips for you.”  ~Dawn

“Congratulations! Now, prepare yourself for the most grueling years of your life. Nursing school can be intense (no social life for 2-4 years), but it is more than worth the grind. Go for Bachelors; and when applying for a job try to find places that have some type of Nurse Residency programs for new grads. Nurse residency programs help ease graduate nurses into “real” nursing and taking a full patient load, and can help provide great learning and mentoring opportunities.” ~Lyla

I have several suggestions:
1.  Try to get a position while you’re in school as a CNA or PCT, so you will have some direct experience with pt. care, and the nurses (& Manager) will get to know you. During this time, the Manager will be evaluating your interpersonal skills, to decide if they want you to be part of their team as an RN.
2.  Before graduation, apply at hospitals with a New Grad RN Residency Program, & try for one that provides 12 months of support, with classes and peer discussion groups. These programs have become a “best practice”, so getting into one is difficult. If you already work there as a PCT, & the Manager likes your work ethic, you’ll have the inside track.
3.  As an RN, the PCTs, as well as the other nurses, will watch you to see if you are able to work as a Team Member. You have to be willing to help others, in order to survive.
The worst thing is when an RN is seen sitting at the desk, whether charting or not, when everyone else is super busy–or when the RN “refuses” to do the dirty work. You must recognize that certain PCTs (& Unit Secretaries) hold “positions” as informal leaders in the unit culture. I remember one student in a BSN program who planned to be a Nurse Practitioner. She announced, in front of her peers, that she would not empty bedpans.
Good luck! ~Jean

[VOICES OF EXPERIENCE] Advice for Nursing Students From the Field


Some words of experience from men and women who are working nurses in a variety of settings, with myriad skills, perspectives, and levels of education.  Thank you to all of the nurses who have been so forthcoming in sharing their views and experiences !

Be ready to eat, breathe & live for nursing school; even when you are on break. You really need to have a great support system. Your friends and family will have to realize that you won’t be around much because you are studying, preparing for clinicals, etc.
Don’t let all the madness of constantly having your head in the books get to you. Keep yourself focused because this is what you want and the road to get there is not easy. ~Jasmine

Realize that most places are requiring a BSN to get through the door. Also new grads tend to have a harder time finding a place to start as most hospitals do not want to put any money into training new nurses, i.e. using requirements that say 2 -3 years of recent acute care experience. The “recent” part of that means within the last year so, even nurses who have experience but were not working for over a year may tend to have difficulties as well. While it does not happen everywhere, you may run into nurses who still believe that males should not be in nursing. There are also patients who do not like male nurses, think labor and delivery. That being said I have had male patients who really wanted to have a male nurse because they were somewhat embarrassed to discuss some things with female nurses. Watch how much debt you build up just in case it takes a while to get a nursing job, very few creditors have much, if any, sympathy. ~Edward

Congratulations, you have to stay focus, and committed.  Some older nurses will try to discourage you, but if this is what you truly want then go for it. There are some many opportunities once you get over the honeymoon period the sky is the limit. I enjoyed nursing so much that I opened a nursing school and it is wonderful to see my students as colleagues. Good luck ~Mabel