We get it–nursing school can be difficult. Balancing everything from classes and clinicals, to studying and socializing, can make your life hectic. But fear not, faculty is here to help.
We asked ten nursing school faculty members what advice they would give to the busy nursing student. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Nursing is part of a bigger healthcare picture
“I think it is important for nursing students to be aware of the big picture in healthcare and to stretch their thinking.”
Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor, Nursing – Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences
2. Nursing is more than a job
“What is important to me as a professor is that you understand that your life is forever changing due to your choice to CARE. I feel that if you felt a “call” to be a nurse you will then be the best nurse ever. You will not feel it is a burden but a gift to share.
My 2nd one is that I so wish students could grasp the concepts in nursing and just not focus on the grade. No one in the hiring process asks “what was your grade in patho or pharm” but they do expect you to understand the concept of how meds treat a disease process.
Thirdly, being real in nursing is very important. Showing your personality and the side of you that connects to others is very important to your client, or patient.”
Mary Lou Converse
Instructor – University of Portland School of Nursing
3. Get to know your faculty on day one
“After being a nurse educator for nearly 20 years, I think what I want students to know is that the faculty are happy to help and want students to be successful. We do not know students are struggling unless they tell us, and by the time they reach out for help many times it is too late. Engage faculty from day one and understand that students success is our # 1 priority.”
Michelle Cheshire, EdD, RN
RN Mobility Coordinator – University of Alabama College of Nursing
4. Understanding research is critical
“I currently only teach students in the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. I would say that I would like them to understand that the healthcare system is trying to move towards more evidence-based practice and that, as future front-line health care providers, DNPs must understand the basic principles of data management, statistics, and research methods. They must be able to understand and evaluate the research that guides their clinical practice.”
Ann D. Bagchi, PhD, BSN, RN
Instructor – Rutgers School of Nursing
5. Nursing school isn’t a competition
“Students need to understand that nursing school is hard and that they don’t need to have straight A’s to be a good nurse. They also need to understand that once they’ve been accepted into nursing school their mindset needs to change from competing with classmates, to helping one another along through the nursing program journey. It’s very competitive to get into certain nursing schools like BYU, so the ones that get in are very competitive and have high stress. We have dealt with way too many students that struggle with anxiety issues. If we could help prevent this in some way, it would be wonderful.”
Tracy Dustin MSN-ED
Assistant Professor – Brigham Young University College of Nursing
6. The purpose of the program is to teach you concepts
“I think that students entering into the program need to understand the definition of a concept based curriculum. Many of them have not encountered this format and some feel that by the time they are seniors or in their final semester, that they are “repeating” the same material (e.g. “We already had leadership, ethics, etc.”). They fail to understand the purpose of the curriculum and that they will be advancing their skills (learning outcomes) and building on them from semester to semester. To my knowledge this is not addressed or emphasized to its fullest extent.
Also, I would want to emphasize that our profession is just that, a profession, set apart from others with its own science base; held to the highest standards of excellence. I think that going through the program (or at least at first) students tend to compare their general studies or whatever schooling or career they have encountered prior to the program, failing to truly understand that our profession (baccalaureate preparedness) is so much more.
Lastly, it should be emphasized that their level of preparedness for class is changing based on education research and literature. Coming to class prepared (assignments, READINGS, etc. completed) is absolutely essential as it makes for more active participants in the learning process.”
Caitlyn Bosch, MS, RN
Instructor – SDSU College of Nursing West River Campus
7. Critical thinking is more important than grades
“I wish nursing students would understand that the requirements for the nursing program (assignments, skills labs, exams, etc.) are to prepare them to safely care for real clients in the future. Not everything is about point totals and grade point average. Put it this way… If you have a nurse caring for YOU or a loved one, which one do you care about more… Your nurse’s GPA in nursing school, or their clinical judgment and critical thinking skills they learned in nursing school to safely care for you or a loved one?”
Lecturer – University of Iowa College of Nursing
8. Your faculty understands your stress
“I would love for nursing students to know as faculty….we see and know how stressful nursing school is. We get it! And it’s ok to ask for help. I would also like them to know they have to make time for themselves. I would also advise aromatherapy or yoga as a stress reliever!”
Christine DiLeone MSN, RN
Assistant Clinical Professor – University of Connecticut
9. Faculty wants you to succeed
“I wish nursing students would understand that we (faculty) truly want them to succeed and any critique and feedback we provide is to enhance their performance as a student, and their future role as an independent nurse.”
Erin Currie, PhD, RN, NRP
Assistant Professor – The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing
10. Above all, nursing is about people
Nursing is a privileged profession which requires intimacy and thus an attention to dignity, privacy, and confidentiality. The patient and his or her family members are at the core of what we do; it is not about the nurse but about the people we serve. A nurse must care for himself or herself in order to care for others, and we do that caring with an eye toward acceptance, embracing diversity, understanding culture and an appreciation for what it means to be human.
E. Carol Polifroni EdD, NEA-BC, CNE RN, ANEF
Dean and Professor – University of Connecticut