Your education doesn’t stop once you finally get your nursing degree, in fact once you enter the workforce you will find that your learning has just begun. The hospital and if you work the emergency room are all high pressure environments. Nursing school will give you the practical knowledge that you need to pass the NCLEX and get your license. You will spend the rest of your career getting on the job training. Here is what you don’t learn in nursing school.
As part of your education you probably went through a couple of months working in the hospital, this is meant to give you an idea of what to expect when you graduate. This sounds nice in theory but as a student nurse you only have a couple of patients and you only work for a couple of hours at a time. You have support on hand in case you are in over your head, but that gives you very little experience in all the things that can happen during a nursing shift, with many of them being life and death.
Hands on Training
Clinical training is valuable, make no mistake, but it doesn’t teach you everything and we are not talking about the unusual things that happen in an ER. You may not have covered admissions or discharges during the clinical training. There is a ton of paperwork that accompanies admitting or discharging someone into the hospital you may not be familiar with. The other thing you probably didn’t cover in much depth is the ordering of medications, in particular narcotics. There is a process to ordering narcotics that you wouldn’t have been allowed to do as a student.
Managing Your Time
The two most valuable skills that any nurse needs is organization and time management, neither of which are taught in school. Your clinical training is very regimented and for a short time so you really don’t get the opportunity to learn this skill. Nurses multitask more than any other profession, they have to prioritize and organize what needs to be done continually throughout their shifts. Experienced nurses do hundreds of different tasks during one shift, if you don’t have this skill you will become a burden to the other staff you work with.
Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career, but school won’t prepare you for everything you will face on the nursing floor. It won’t prepare you for the first time that a patient passes away nor will it prepare you for the emergencies that will happen during your tenure.