Things They Never Taught You in Nursing School (But They Should Have)

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Almost every rookie nurse has the same thought as least once or twice during the first few years on the job: “Why wasn’t I told about this?”

But as you know, there are some lessons that can only be gained through experience…At least until we develop an app or a textbook that can teach skills like these:

How to handle multiple responsibilities at the same time

While you’re calculating a medication dosage for your patient, you’re interrupted and asked to handle a quick emergency. Then you’re given a message that’s very important—you’ll need to remember it for later. Then you’re asked a critical question by a nursing student, a physician, a patient, or a manager. You deliver the answer, remember the message, solve one problem, prevent another, and now it’s time to get back to your calculation. Where were you? This barrage of multitasking may describe just five minutes of your working day.

How to manage your emotions

As a nurse, you know that emotional and psychological health are important, and simply repressing or ignoring the joy, fear, pain and sympathy you feel for your patients won’t work— It won’t work for you and it won’t work for them. Navigating the emotional currents of this profession can very hard, but navigate them you must. And since you won’t learn how to do this in school, you’ll have to pick it up on the job.

How to empathize

When you have to perform uncomfortable procedures or share difficult information with patients all day, every day, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and burned out. Empathy fatigue is common in healthcare fields, but as you’ll soon learn, you can avoid burnout by channeling your empathy into comfort and reassurance for your patients.

How to function on inadequate sleep

At first, the expectations of your employers may seem unreasonable when combined with your new sleeping schedule. It may feel inhumane—or even dangerous—to take on high-responsibility tasks while fighting a state of exhaustion or sleep deprivation. But we promise you, you’ll get used to it. Shorten the path to that breakthrough point by adopting healthy habits, exercising, and eating well.

How to manage your time effectively

Nursing can bring long days, double shifts, night shifts, and sometimes a hectic schedule that changes every week. So you’ll have to find a way to care of yourself and manage your personal to-do list while still being there for your patients. Don’t worry; you’ll get there. Just pace yourself and learn as you go.

For more on how to succeed in your brand new nursing career, turn to the Little Rock employment experts at CSS.

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