When I was a new nurse working in the hospital, I quickly learned who one of my best allies was – the respiratory therapist! As I moved into the ICU, they were invaluable as we weaned patients from the vent and rescued them from death. My second ICU job was at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in NYC. I was working nights in the NeuroSurgical ICU and almost fainted when during my orientation, I was informed that there really was no RT support at night. In fact, the nurses did the vent checks, blood gases, retaping ET tubes (this is where I learned NO pink tape!) and even the weaning and extubation! Say what!! I was grateful for the great RT’s that trained me – I would have been so lost without their valuable insight and knowledge that they instilled in me (and I am pretty sure the patients are thankful also… I still remember my first extubation – not pretty!) Lessons learned and I truly discovered the value of the RT on my team during my shift when I moved on to another hospital.
So, you could say, I had a new found respect for the masters of the lungs, wizards of the vents and providers of smoke pipes! But, one thing in my journey as a nurse I have discovered, they find us pretty annoying…. and rightly so! I often come across nurses who lack respect for their discipline and yet want them to rescue their patient they have let go down the tubes. So what do they wish we knew about them? What do respiratory therapists wish nurses would understand? Well, I asked one of them and here is what he said….
You come on to your shift as a nurse and you find out a nursing student is assigned to one or some of your patients. Now what…?
So a few weeks ago I wrote a little piece on how nursing students could better manage a challenging nurse they had been assigned for the day. (You can read it here!) Wow – did I hit a chord with folks! I literally had over a thousand views over the course of three days. (For perspective – that was more views for my humble blog since its inceptions! Thanks for all the love!) It went crazy pseudo-viral on Pinterest and beyond. I am beyond humbled that my message resonated with so many. It really got me thinking of how sad that so many students are struggling with this same problem – nurses not being so friendly to them during clinicals. My first instinct was frustration as I LOVE my students and enjoy being with them – I can’t understand why no one else does?? But, then I got to thinking a bit more about the situation, I couldn’t help but think about all the nurses who seem kind of lost with the students they are assigned for the day. Well, this ones’ for you!! Here are my humble tips for nurses to help nursing students!
This week the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is holding their annual conference, the National Teaching Institute – affectionately known as NTI. Oh, how I wish I could be in Denver this week, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year for me. There is nothing more inspiring than being surrounded by over 6000 nurses who are gathered to make themselves better so they can take care of their patients better. Just the gathering in that space is worth the admission.
I remember my first NTI. It was in Orlando 2004. When I left, I felt like I could do anything! I had learned so much. Validated what I did know. Been inspired. Overwhelmed. I literally felt the power of nursing. If you have been to NTI or any large conference, you know what I am talking about. The energy is contagious. I used that inspiration to power me forward. A few short years later, I had the opportunity to speak at NTI. It certainly was a career high point.
I am often told that these large conferences are not worth their time or money. I beg to differ. Here are my reasons why nurses should attend conferences.
So yesterday was the last group clinical day in the hospital for my senior students. Then today was the last group clinical day for my fundamentals students who will be entering the hospital for the first time in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but reflect on the next chapter they will each encounter….
The seniors are anxiously counting down graduation and stressing that they get their choice preceptorships. I have had the unique opportunity to have these students in fundamentals and then at the end of their journey. It has been so fulfilling and rewarding to see each of them grow and learn. They each will make amazing contributions to the nursing profession and I am so proud of them – just like a mom! My hope for them is that they remember what they know – hold on to it! Do the right thing, no mater “what everyone else is doing”. Treat every patient as the special person that they are – treat them like your family member and you will make the right choice. Go above and beyond – you owe it to them and would want the same. NEVER stop learning -the wonders of healthcare is that it is always changing and there is always something to learn. Make me proud when I see in the halls with my new group of students!!
On the other side, the fresh students are anxiously awaiting the unknown of their new roles and responsibilities in the hospital. Documentation, med pass, caring for multiple patients…. it sounds so overwhelming. But, your advice is the same, make the right choices with the knowledge you do have. Seek out every possibility the day brings you – the world is out there to teach you so much – but you have to go find it sometimes. You have the skills and you are ready – now show them what you got!!
Good luck to you all – keep in touch…. and make me proud!!
So what advice do you have for nursing students…. leave me your comments and make an impact on the next generation!