Twenty Things I Learned In Nursing School That A Textbook Couldn’t Teach Me

Twenty Things I Learned In Nursing School That A Textbook Couldn't Teach Me

Hello everyone! I’ve been very MIA on here for the last few weeks (so sorry!). I was taking a break and just relaxing since graduating from nursing school. Yes, you read that correctly, I graduated! I’m now the proud owner of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Yay me, I know. I’m so happy to be done with that journey and begin my new one as a new nurse. In the coming weeks, I’ll be preparing for my NCLEX exam which will give me my Registered Nurse licensure. Time to hit the books one more time!

Nursing school was a journey filled with ups and downs of its own. From late night studying at the library, to managing to maintain mostly A’s and some B’s while having a part-time job and keeping my social life, you could say it was one hell of a ride. Many friendships were made and I’m forever grateful that I get to work alongside so many great people for the years to come.

While I learned how to take vital signs, start IV lines, and insert catheters, here are some things I learned throughout my 27-month journey through nursing school that a textbook couldn’t teach me.

  1. Compassion is a major key to being a successful nurse.
  2. Do not judge others based on their history.
  3. A little kindness goes a long way- a patient looked me in the eye and told me this one day and it really impacted me.
  4. Coffee will get you through anything. Yes, anything.
  5. Be friendly with your classmates.
  6. As much as the professors will try to scare you, you CAN do this and you WILL do this.
  7. Buy compression socks.
  8. Nightshift isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.
  9. Asking for help is ok.
  10. The more pockets in your scrubs, the better.
  11. Don’t let anyone call you “just a nurse.” And if they do, show them what being a nurse means.
  12. Take your time with everything that you do.
  13. I already knew this, but nursing school reinforced that I am definitely not a morning person.
  14. Always have your patients’ lab values handy.
  15. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
  16. Always ask questions during clinical hours. You can never know too much.
  17. Do not consider any task as “not your job.”
  18. Be humble.
  19. Be helpful.
  20. Thank God (or whoever/whatever you believe in) for your health each and every day. The patients you will see as a nursing student and eventual nurse are very sick, and we are there to help them get better. We cannot take our health for granted. Although I have always been an advocate for being thankful for one’s health, nursing school definitely emphasized that belief during each shift.

My advice for anyone thinking of applying to nursing school is to take a leap of faith and do it. And for those of you who are about to start, congratulations- you have an amazing, difficult, but more than worth-it journey ahead of you! Your classwork and clinical hours will consume most of your time, but you can still travel, work, spend time with your family, and live your life. It’s doable, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.

It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, and you’ll notice that as soon as you first step foot into the hospital. You will be scared your first day, but soon it will become second nature. The moment your first patient genuinely thanks you and tells you how much your care impacted them (or their family), all the stress from school will be worth it.

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Scrubs: @wearfigs

Wishing everyone the best in this new year,

(Future) Nurse Nicki G.

3 thoughts on “Twenty Things I Learned In Nursing School That A Textbook Couldn’t Teach Me

  1. Nicki, as a nurse myself I love the list that you wrote because they are so very true! Except I’ve never done night shift and I’m a morning person so I can’t speak for those two.. but definitely showing compassion and kindness are the things that patients remember most- more than all the medically necessary things that we’re doing for them. You will be a wonderful nurse!
    Also when you enter the career of nursing, remember to have at least one person you can vent to- we see and deal with a lot of things from the very bad to the very good and everything in between. It definitely helps relieve the burden and emotional baggage that we carry! Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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