29. EXPERT TIP #4: Want to feel more 💥 confident 💥 in Nursing School? Guest Expert Nurse Laura of “Nurse It Like You Mean It” on Instagram tells us how!

Welcome to Episode 29 of Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor. Today you’ll be hearing from Nurse Laura of “Nurse It Like You Mean It” on Instagram. 

Laura will be joining me to share her best strategy for self-evaluating HOW you’re doing in nursing school, and particularly in clinicals, so that you don’t have to suffer with a lack of confidence.

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Links from Episode 29:

Laura’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nurseitlikeyoumeanit/

LIVE Tutoring Membership: www.YourNursingTutor.com/VIP

Transcript for Episode 29

Before Laura shares her tip, I wanted to let you know that this is the fourth in a series of expert tips for new nursing students. Although honestly, I think you’ll find today’s tip extremely useful throughout nursing school, and even after you’re a new grad working at your first nursing job, too. 

So make sure that you subscribe to the podcast so you’re notified when each new tip becomes available, and also make sure to go back to the beginning of the series if you haven’t already listened to the earlier tips because you definitely don’t miss any of these expert tips. 

By the way, if you don’t already know me, my name is Nicole Whitworth, and I’m a Registered Nurse who earned her BSN through an Accelerated 2nd Degree Program. I’m also a professional nursing tutor with over 12+ years experience helping nursing students learn how to study in a way that teaches you to think like a nurse WHILE you’re still in nursing school, so that you can spend less time studying, get better grades, and feel confident when it’s time to take NCLEX and start your first nursing job.

Now let me introduce you to my guest expert for today, Nurse Laura.

Laura and her friend Rebecca met in their High school science class in 2006, and eventually went on to achieve their Bachelor’s degrees as Registered Nurses. Ten plus years later and they have remained friends, and are collaboratively providing education, empowerment & suggestions to nurses, nursing students, and other healthcare professionals across the globe. 

They know firsthand that healthcare can be a challenging profession but also the most rewarding. So to lighten your spirits, they have created a space for all healthcare professionals. They’ve put their originality, imagination & hearts into each post that they create on Instagram. And I encourage you to follow their page, @nurseitlikeyoumeanit on Instagram.

You can also find a direct link to the “Nurse It Like You Mean It” Instagram page near the top of this page.

Here is Laura’s tip:

“Hi everyone, it’s Laura from @NurseItLikeYouMeanIt on Instagram. Thanks for the opportunity to provide a tip, and mine is all about for new students: feeling confident. 

And feeling confident really comes down to being able to trust in your own abilities. Especially for new students or if you’re new to a unit, often I find students are too hard on themselves because they look at senior staff and have expectations that they should be functioning at that level right away. And that’s really not realistic. 

So one tip I have is to consider looking at the novice to expert model, and where you need to be within your rotation based on the learning objectives of the course that you’re in. Many courses and licensing bodies have competencies that are specific to where you should be at. 

So I think by reviewing those and setting realistic goals and expectations of yourself, it can really help you to feel confident for the level of where you’re at, and recognize that you will eventually get to where you need to be. This can be particularly helpful as well when you transition to new grad, to divide your responsibilities and guide you for professional development planning for the next year.” 

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your advice on how students can feel more confident while still having an honest idea for how they’re personally doing during nursing school. 

Now I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own about Laura’s tips that she shared today. 

I love that she’s advising you to trust your own abilities. I think in her context she’s mostly talking about in terms of your hands-on skills and how you perform and take care of patients in a clinical setting, but you should take her advice when it comes to the lecture side of things as well. 

It’s what I tell my students in the VIP Tutoring Membership all the time. Actually, at my last live tutoring session I was explaining to my students how everybody really knows a lot more than you think you do in nursing school…you just haven’t learned how to connect the pieces yet. And then nursing school feels so intimidating, that often you’ll just shut down your brain and start trying to memorize when you SHOULD be trying to understand instead. And when that happens on an EXAM…well, let’s just say that nobody likes the consequences of that.

Here’s the example that I used to prove my point…I was explaining how to think things through using the 4-steps of the Silver Bullet Study System, which is the method that I train students to use when studying because it mimics the way that experienced nurses think. And therefore it can help you think more effectively about a topic EVEN IF you’ve never ever studied it before. 

So on to my example. Take the femur bone…you know something about it, even if you’re pre-nursing and haven’t finished Anatomy and Physiology yet. It’s a bone in your leg, and it helps support your body and is necessary to walk. So what happens if you fall out of a tree and BREAK your femur? Well, it’s gonna hurt!! And you won’t be able to walk. 

So because I know what to expect when the femur is functioning normally, and I know what it means to BREAK the femur…then there is absolutely NO need to START studying by reading my textbook and trying to memorize a random list of symptoms for a broken femur!! Because I can take a really good, educated guess that there’s gonna be a lot of pain, and you’re not gonna be able to walk. Not only that, but I can also take a few educated guesses regarding what we’re going to DO about it, too…like limit your movement, for one thing. Probably splint it if you can. Get to the ER, and get it set with cast. Possibly surgery.

And you already knew ALL of that without having to read it in your textbook. I bet you could even answer a few test questions about it too, so long as you trusted your brain and what you already knew. Because I basically just walked you through the 4-steps of the Silver Bullet Study System right there, and you can apply that process to literally ANY topic in nursing school. 

And let me tell you, it starts to work even more powerfully as it also guides you through how to identify the most important information in your textbook so that you can combine the new information that you’re learning with what you already know.

That’s actually one of the major things I do in the VIP Tutoring Membership, which is help you learn how to think through this process for yourself. It’s that whole “give a man to fish, and he eats for a day…versus teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime” kind of concept. Except for nursing students. And no fish. Because you need to learn how to analyze and apply ALL the nursing information you’re learning, just like experienced nurses do. And you will need to use this skill for your entire nursing career. If you’d like to get more information about how I can help YOU learn to “fish” for yourself in nursing school, then go to www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip to read more about it.

Anyway, as Laura said, trust yourself! But she also said to self-evaluate and be honest and realistic about where you SHOULD be at, skills wise. And she mentioned the “Novice to Expert Model” which is a model of learning that was first applied to nursing practice by Dr Patricia Benner. In fact, you’ll probably find it in your Fundamentals textbook…so look it up! It’s on page 2 in my book, so that gives you an idea of how important and relevant this should be to you.

And make sure that you read through the descriptions of each of the 4 phases. Which one do you think you’re in now? Which one do you think you’ll be on when you graduate? I think you’ll be surprised, because it’s not as much of an expert as you probably feel like you “should” be!

Because it’s true that the NCLEX is only checking to see if you’re a safe, effective, BEGINNING nurse. NOT an expert nurse. And not a specialty, expert nurse, for sure. But a nurse who has a good, general foundation of nursing knowledge, and a proven track record of being able to learn. But if you’re expecting more of yourself than that, then Laura is absolutely right…you are being too hard on yourself, and it’s NOT realistic. So be kind to yourself in the meantime while you’re still in this beginning learning phase.

IF you want to connect more with Nurse Laura and see her fun and educational content for nurses and nursing students, you can find her posting at “Nurse It Like You Mean It” on Instagram. You can also link directly to her IG page near the top of this page.

As I mentioned earlier, Laura’s tip is the fourth in a series of tips for new nursing students from over 2 dozen different experts…and in our next episode, Nurse Esther, the author of “Nursing Audio NCLEX-RN Review Series”, will be on the show to tell you her absolute best hack for how to maximize your study time…especially when you spend a lot of time “on-the-go” while commuting, driving kids to soccer practice, washing dishes, walking dogs, or other “real life” activities that you’ve gotta do.

So if you’d like to hear her tip along with other essential advice from experienced nurses and nursing students who have been in your shoes (and lived to tell the tale), then make sure to subscribe to this podcast to be notified when the next episode in this series goes live. 

And while you’re subscribing, if you liked today’s tip and are looking forward to the upcoming tips as well, please leave a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast app to let me know! A 5-Star review with 1-2 sentences of your honest opinion goes a looong way towards helping other nursing students find these tips, AS WELL AS motivating me to create even more useful resources like this for you in the future. 

One last thing…remember that if you’d like some assistance moving up the steps of the Novice to Expert Model so that YOU can start thinking like a nurse quicker and easier using the Silver Bullet Study System, then I invite you to try the Your Nursing Tutor VIP Tutoring Membership for free to see if it’s a good fit for you. I USED to have to charge $75 PER HOUR for individual, 1:1 tutoring, so this membership is a MUCH more affordable way to get my expert guidance on how to tackle nursing school in a way that will have YOU feeling confident instead of stressed. Membership comes with the curated resources you’ll need to conquer ALL the common nursing school challenges, and also includes live tutoring sessions, trainings, and a private Facebook group so you can ask questions anytime. 

Membership ALSO means no more getting sucked into that “black hole” of YouTube, and ending up in tears wondering how in the world you’re ever going to learn anything…and STILL not quite knowing the answer to your original question, either. Quit that negative cycle forever by joining today at www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip

Until next time, good luck on your nursing journey!

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