Welcome to Episode 35 of Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor. Today, you’ll be hearing from Nurse Linda Bright, who is sharing her number 1 tip for new nursing students. Linda has a perspective that I know a lot of you will appreciate, because she was 50 years young when she decided to start nursing school as a second career, after working as a public school teacher for 28 years. So if you’ve been wondering whether you’re “too old” for nursing school, I know you’ll want to hear what Nurse Linda has to say.
But before Linda shares her tip, I wanted to let you know that this is the tenth in a series of expert tips for new nursing students. So subscribe to the podcast to get notified when each new tip is available, and be sure to go back and listen to the beginning of the series, starting at episode 26, so that you don’t miss any of the other expert tips for new nursing students.
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Links from Episode 35:
Linda’s Facebook Group: “Nursing School After 40” https://www.facebook.com/groups/2252351951657508
VIP Tutoring Membership: www.YourNursingTutor.com/VIP
Transcript for Episode 35
By the way, if you don’t already know me, my name is Nicole Whitworth, and I’m a Registered Nurse who failed my very first nursing school quiz in an Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelors Program…then went on to discovert a BETTER way to study so it would NEVER happen again. And it didn’t…in fact, I did so well that my school hired me as their official nursing tutor by the end of that very same semester.
It’s been a loooong time since I graduated with my BSN, and I’ve gone on to work as both a Pediatric Operating Room nurse and a Pediatric phone triage nurse. But I always wanted to return to my first love of tutoring and support the next generation of nurses…YOU!
Now I’ve been a professional nursing tutor for over 12+ years. I’m the founder of YourNursingTutor, and I specialize in training nursing students to study in a way that teaches you to think like a nurse WHILE you’re still in nursing school, and to do it in a way that doesn’t require you to put your entire life on hold until graduation.
Now it’s time to introduce you to my guest expert for today, Nurse Linda Bright. Linda retired from her first career as a public school teacher, and started her nursing school journey when she was 50 years young. So for all of you listening who are wondering if you’re “too old” to start nursing school, Linda proves that the answer is a resounding NO!
She hails from Missouri, which is also where my husband is from as a matter of fact, and she has been working as a nurse for over 3 years now. Linda has experience in telemetry, home health, Med-Surg, and Women’s Services.
Back when Linda first started nursing school, she also started a little Facebook group called “Nursing School After 40” because she wanted a drama-free place for more “mature” nursing students to come for help, support, to vent, or to celebrate with others around their same age. Although she said that she originally hoped to get maybe 50 people to join, it now has over 3 thousand 2 hundred members worldwide, and is growing daily.
If you’d like to join the “Nursing School After 40” Facebook group, the link is above.
Here is Linda’s tip for you today:
“My nursing tip is that new nurses need to remain humble. They need to realize that no they do not know everything, and ask questions. Offer to help other people. When you see people that are struggling, even experienced nurses, it goes a long way just to walk up and say, “Hey, can I help you with something?””
Thank you, Linda, for your advice about remaining humble, asking questions, and looking for ways to help..
Now I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own about Nurse Linda’s tip that she shared today.
Let’s talk about Linda’s first tip about being humble…it’s good advice. We talked about it from a different perspective after Devon’s tip in episode 32, so if you want to hear some more thoughts on that you can also go back and listen at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode32.
But Linda’s perspective ALSO made me realize that it’s not ONLY about your attitude of humility as a nursing student, but also about how your attitude comes across to others. Because sometimes as a student or new nurse, you might FEEL humble, and you might assume that’s how you come across to others. But at the same time, you’re also trying to establish your competence, and sort of “prove” yourself to others, and show that you belong in this role as a nurse. And sometimes, that second part accidentally gets interpreted as anything BUT humility, which can cause a lot of friction in your professional relationships both in school, in clinicals, and at work.
Let me give you an example. My 12-year old son thinks he knows everything already. If you have kids, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. So when I try to give him advice, he acts like any other 12-year old know-it-all would act, and he cuts me off mid-sentence by saying something like, “Mom, I know I know I know.” Which is super irritating, and feels very disrespectful and dismissive.
And in HIS case, the biggest issue is often that he DOESN’T actually know! Even though he thinks he does. Because the truth is that he’s like most of us…he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know!
Now, if you didn’t already know this about me, I actually have a background in clinical psychology. I got my Masters degree before deciding to switch tracts and go into nursing instead, so I’m always trying to analyze peoples’ motivations…especially for my kids. And in this case, I realized that while there is definitely a lack of humility playing a role with my son’s attitude, the REAL reason he often acts this way is because he is trying to project himself as knowledgeable and competent. He’s trying to establish himself as someone who knows what he’s doing, because that’s what he feels like he’s supposed be.
Unfortunately, it usually has the reverse effect of revealing what he DOESN’T know, without him even realizing it. Which is the complete opposite of the vibe he is going for, and sometimes makes him look a fool. From the listener’s perspective, MY perspective as his Mom, it also makes him seem like he could use a healthy dose of humility.
But if I asked him, he wouldn’t see himself that way, because he wasn’t being intentionally prideful…quite the opposite, in fact. He was actually feeling a bit insecure about his role, about his place in the world, and was compensating by making it seem like he knew more than he actually did. He probably actually believed it…or at least, wanted to believe it. This is the possible downside of the “fake it till you make it” style advice.
A better response for both my son AND any nursing student or new nurse, heck even a lot of experienced nurses would be well served to follow this advice, would be to quietly and patiently listen when someone speaks. EVEN IF you think you already know what’s about to be said. Because here’s what’s going to happen as a result, and I can say from personal experience because I have frequently used this strategy myself.
There’s no harm in listening, only an upside. You listen, and maybe you discover you actually DID already know what the other person was trying to tell you. And that confirms that you’re on the right track, which should be a great confidence booster.
On the other hand, maybe you listen and realize that you had a misunderstanding of something, or you knew most of it already except for one new little detail. In this case, you can be thankful that someone took the time to inform you so that you could learn something helpful and new, even if it’s just that one small detail you hadn’t been previously aware of. Not only that, but since you listened respectfully in both situations to the person teaching you, you’ve also made a better impression on them as well.
And if you’re in a situation where you respectfully and humbly listen and it turns out that you still think the person speaking is wrong…then seek another resource to confirm it. Even in this situation, you’ll end up feeling more confident in the end because you’ll go back and find support to confirm your original knowledge.
One caveat to this advice, though…this is all assuming that the colleague you’re talking with is genuinely trying to help and it’s not a “nurses eating their young” or lateral bullying type of situation. If someone is bullying you or acting passive aggressively towards you, then there are different ways to deal with that, too, and you should stay tuned for the next few episodes because I have expert advice coming up to help you out in those situations, too.
But assuming that the nurse you’re interacting with is treating you respectfully, like a colleague, then you definitely want to remain humble and show respect for them. After all, they are taking their time to work with you and help you improve, which is something you want to be thankful for.
And now to move on to Linda’s second tip about looking for ways to be helpful to others, even to nurses waaay more experienced than you…this might feel intimidating or even impossible as a nursing student, especially when you’re already feeling self-conscious, overwhelmed, or generally just afraid of messing up.
The ironic thing, though, is that when you take your focus off of yourself a little bit, and instead move it towards other people with the purpose of looking for ways to help them and serve them…this will also help you to feel less self-conscious, less overwhelmed, AND less afraid of messing up.
Not only that, but it becomes a positive learning cycle as well. You’ll be giving yourself more opportunities to learn by doing, which is ALWAYS the best way to learn. This can be easier to do in clinicals, but it’s also the best way to study for lecture as well. Although when you’re studying, you don’t usually have to look for ways to help others, instead you’re looking for ways to understand the material better. But this can ALSO be an exercise in humility, really, because it forces you to recognize all the things you don’t already know…unfortunately, recognizing that can also lead to a serious case of overwhelm.
Which is why a big focus of my VIP Tutoring Membership is to show you exactly HOW to study so that you know what’s most important, and you can immediately practice how to analyze and apply that information while you study. This makes it easier to focus, easier to get through the readings (mostly because you no longer have to read it word for word, instead you use a “search and destroy” type strategy to pull out only the most important information), and it makes it MUCH easier to answer exam questions about the information that you’ve been working so hard to study. So the end result is that you need less time to study, because you study more efficiently, your exam grades improve, you feel more confident, and nursing school starts getting easier instead of harder as you progress. So if all that sounds good to you, then you can find out more by going to www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip
But all in all, back to Linda’s tip about helping others…there really is no downside to looking for ways to help in the clinical setting, especially when you are a student. Because when you ask if you can help, even if you’re a student asking an experienced nurse, the worst that can happen is that she says no because she’s got it handled. But even in THAT situation, you have built up goodwill and demonstrated that you’re a team player who is willing to help, and that you went into nursing school for the right reasons.
I also want to mention that Linda is in her 50’s, doing nursing as a second career, and she is still advising humility as one of her biggest tips for new nursing students AND new nurses. I think it really shows evidence that this is great advice, because it is sooo true that with age and experience DOES come wisdom. And I know that Linda has a LOT to offer with her life experience, but she still knows that she’s not “too good” to be humble, learn from others, and work as a team. So I think that it would be wise for others to follow her example, as well.
Now as I mentioned earlier, Linda’s tip is the tenth in a series of tips for new nursing students from over 2 dozen different experts. On our next episode, Nurse Kimberly Probus will tell you exactly what steps you need to take when dealing with a nurse bully, which unfortunately is something you’re going to have to face at some point in the nursing profession, possibly even while you’re still in school. She’ll also share what you need to proactively do NOW, so that you can be prepared when bullying happens.
So if you’d like to hear her tip along with other essential advice from other 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.
If you’d like to spend less time reading your textbook and more time sleeping instead, I’d be happy to mentor you through the best ways to study so that you can study less and remember more with the VIP Tutoring Membership.
The VIP Tutoring Membership also includes live tutoring sessions via Zoom, topical trainings to help you learn faster and more efficiently, and a private Facebook group so you can connect with other students AND ask your questions anytime, day or night.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of your nursing school insecurities, and finally feel confident that you actually belong in nursing school? Learn the proven study strategies that will have you naturally thinking like a nurse in no time by joining the VIP Tutoring Membership today at www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip
Until next time, good luck on your nursing journey!
Nicole Whitworth is the founder of Your Nursing Tutor. She has a BSN and an MA in Clinical Psychology, and has been a professional nursing tutor for over 12+ years. Nicole specializes in getting nursing students through school confidently and calmly so that everything finally “clicks”. She is also the creator of the Silver Bullet Study System, an easy-to-follow study method that automatically trains your brain to become a nurse at the same time that you study for your normal nursing classes.