Welcome to Episode 39 of Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor. Today, you’ll be hearing from Senior Nursing Student Devon Taylor, who is rejoining us today with another valuable contribution to this Expert Tips for New Nursing Students Series. His first tip was in episode 32, answering the question of whether you should work during nursing school.
But in THIS episode, he will be sharing a special tip for all the aspiring male nurses out there, about how you can create quicker connections with your patients AND help them feel less anxious working with a male nurse. Even if you’re a female student, I promise that this tip is well worth listening to, and you will get some good guidance from it as well.
Before Devon shares his tip, I wanted to let you know that this is the fourteenth in a series of expert tips for new nursing students. 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 this series, starting at episode 26, so that you don’t miss any of the other expert tips for new nursing students.
Some links below may be referral links…purchases made from referral links don’t cost you any extra, but may provide a commission that helps support Your Nursing Tutor’s free content, so thank you!
Links from Episode 39:
Devon’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MemoirsOfAMurse
Devon’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw2vmG1zcqS1GK7PiBLe22Q
Devon’s FB Group: Black Nursing Students: https://www.facebook.com/groups/662343510843225
Listen to Devon’s advice on whether you should work during nursing school: www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode32
VIP Tutoring Membership: www.YourNursingTutor.com/VIP
Transcript for Episode 39
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 discover a BETTER way to study so that it would NEVER happen again. And it didn’t! In fact, I did so well that my school actually hired me as their official nursing school tutor by the end of that very same semester.
It’s been a loooong time since I graduated with my BSN, and I’ve worked in several different nursing roles in the meantime. But I always wanted to return to my first love, which is tutoring, mentoring, and supporting the next generation of nurses…YOU!
Now I’ve been a professional nursing tutor for over 12+ years. I’m the founder of Your Nursing Tutor, which features the VIP Tutoring Membership, 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, Student Nurse Devon Taylor. If you don’t remember from Episode 32, Devon is a non-traditional RN student in his last semester of nursing school, so he is in the trenches with you and still vividly remembers what it was like being a brand new nursing student. He is simultaneously working as an ER tech while finishing his last 2 classes this semester, and will be graduating in December of 2021.
As if attending nursing school while working wasn’t enough, Devon is also a moderator for the Black Nursing Students Facebook Group, which has over 12,000 members, and provides a safe forum for black individuals to express themselves, openly discuss any challenges or experiences they’ve had, and truly vent around other people who look just like themselves…all without the risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted by other groups, as is unfortunately so common in our modern culture.
And even MORE impressive, Devon is launching a podcast called “Memoirs of a Murse” to showcase the unique challenges faced by men in the female-dominated field of nursing. The first season of that podcast is currently in production, and will soon be available on all major podcasting apps.
In the meantime, you can watch an introductory trailer video for Memoirs of a Murse on his YouTube page, and I will be updating the show notes when the podcast is available. So if you happen to be listening to this at least a few weeks after this episode came out, you should check the show notes page to see if it’s available to listen to and subscribe.
Here is Devon’s second tip for you in this series:
“Hello, it’s Devon again, and I’m back to give you my number one piece of advice for MALE nursing students coming in. This is just kind of a piggyback off of the “Memoirs of a Murse”, because being a man in nursing school is very unique. And we have a very special niche to fill. So this is going to be my number one piece of advice to males coming into nursing.
The biggest thing that I can tell you as a guy is that if you can work and master therapeutic communication it’s going to go a LONG way for you. Because the minute you step into a room, the first interaction that you have is when you introduce yourself, and you do your I-WIPE: you introduce yourself, you wash your hands, you identify your patient, you provide them privacy, and you explain what you’re going to do.
A lot of times a lot of people mess this up, and they create a therapeutic block for their patient before they even have a chance to work with them. And so you’ve created a therapeutic block, you raised anxiety in your patient.
And if you are a male who’s taking care of a female, we have to do everything we can to make sure that we can alleviate anxiety in that patient, because if not, we’re gonna have a hard time, we’re not even going to be able to render care for that patient because they’re gonna prefer a female. Now, a lot of female patients do prefer males, but if you master that therapeutic communication, and you can connect with somebody through your words, before you even touch them, it’s gonna make your life so much easier.
Especially as men, we have to be a little more gentle in our approach, because we can be a little bit intimidating, but just how you structure your words, how you choose them, how you speak them, your tone and your inflection. If you start there with making that connection with your patient, through your words, they won’t have a problem with you touching them and taking care of them because this field and the level of care that we do is very intimate.
So that intimate, therapeutic working relationship starts with how you talk to that patient, because if you can’t talk to them and you can’t make a connection with them in a few words, you’re going to be digging yourself a hole trying to take care of this patient that does not, who is not really in the mood to deal with you.
So master therapeutic communication, it’s going to take you a long way.”
Thank you, Devon, for sharing your insight on how to make your job as a male nurse easier both for yourself, AND a better experience for your patients.
Now I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own to Devon’s tip that he shared today.
First off, if you’re a female listening to this episode today, don’t start thinking that you can’t take this advice too. While focusing on therapeutic communication definitely takes centerstage as a great way to quickly connect with patients who would otherwise feel hesitant to work with a male nurse, it’s also a central skill that can be useful for any nurse, male or female, as well.
Many nursing students think about therapeutic communication only in terms of psychiatric nursing. And while it IS a big deal in psychiatric nursing, that’s not the only situation where you’ll use it. And therapeutic communication is also not only about WHAT you say, but also about how you say it, like your tone of voice. And it also includes your nonverbal cues, like body language.
It reminds me of a little story that happened to the husband of a very good friend of mine. Totally not nursing related at all, but it illustrates this point perfectly. My friend’s husband had gone to the grocery store after their kids went to bed. He was probably going to get ice cream or something like that for my friend, because that’s the kind of really great guy and husband that he is.
But to describe his physical appearance: he’s well over 6 foot tall, a very fit and muscular Navy guy, of Puerto Rican descent and with a few tattoos. He’d look like a pretty intimidating figure if you saw him walking through a grocery store parking lot after dark. Which is exactly what he was doing, when he saw a lady struggling to get some heavy items from her cart into the trunk of her car.
Like I said, he is one of the sweetest, kindest, most helpful guys I know, which is why his instinct was to do the gentlemanly thing: he automatically changed his walking course, and headed her way with the intention of helping her to load her car.
But as he stepped up closer, he realized that she suddenly looked more than a little bit alarmed, ya might say terrified, and started backing away from him.
Which is when he realized WHAT this situation probably looked like from her perspective: Big, strong guy rapidly approaching an isolated woman in a dark and lonely parking lot. So he immediately stopped where he was, put the palms of his hands in front of him to show that he wasn’t holding anything, calmly apologized for interrupting her, and quietly explained that he noticed her heavy groceries and wondered if she needed any help.
That’s a perfect example of therapeutic communication right there, even though it’s in a non-medical setting. My friend’s husband was able to assess the situation and understand how he might be perceived outside of his own intentions. And then he was able to turn that perception around by addressing it in a calm and friendly manner. The lady was relieved, allowed him to help her, and they both went on with their night.
And here’s the thing…when you hear this story, you can easily identify more or less what was effective about the way he communicated with that lady. Which means that you already know more about therapeutic communication than you think you do, even if you’ve never studied it before in nursing school. In fact, I also guarantee that therapeutic communication is not the ONLY thing you know more about in nursing school than you think you do!
But part of learning to think like a nurse involves learning to trust your own brain. It’s letting go of the anxiety that makes you try to memorize every single detail in your textbook, and instead focusing on understanding how all those pieces fit together. THAT’S what will help you learn to analyze and apply the nursing information, and THAT’S the skill you are actually in nursing school to learn. Because that’s what NCLEX is going to test you on, regardless of which version of NCLEX you end up taking, AND that’s ultimately what you will be doing in clinical practice after you get your nursing license, too!
But it can be intimidating to know how to make that mental switch, especially if you’re already in the midst of a busy semester, and you’ve already maybe gotten a few not so great grades on quizzes or exams. You’re overwhelmed, so it feels safer to stick with what you already know, even if it’s not working…mostly because you don’t know what else to do. So you keep trying to memorize, make flashcards, read the textbook, study the powerpoint slides, listen to lecture, and watch YouTube videos. But it all ends up making you feel more overwhelmed, instead of less overwhelmed.
That’s why I developed a different way to study that mimics the way experienced nurses think, and gives you a practical, hands-on way to study that guides you through the most important information. Even better, it trains you how to analyze and apply that information, so that you can identify all the knowledge that you already have in your brain. The more you practice studying using this Silver Bullet Study System, the more confident you will become, knowing that you really DO know more than you think you do.
And that is the secret to getting better exam grades, too.
That’s why I teach all of my VIP Tutoring Members how to use the Silver Bullet Study System as part of their membership. And it’s not just a bunch of pre-recorded videos for you to watch, like a lot of other nursing memberships offer. With the VIP Tutoring Membership, I actually work WITH you to help you learn the best way to study, so that you can learn how to think like a nurse. If you’d like more information about how to do that, then check out my VIP Tutoring Membership because I honestly would love to work with you. You can find it at www.YourNursingTutor.com/VIP
One more thing I want to add about Devon’s tip is about the IWIPE acronym he mentioned. If you’re a newer nursing student or pre-nursing student, then you already know that nursing school introduces a WHOLE other language. Which is why I always recommend taking the time to understand what everything stands for, instead of simply reusing the same abbreviations but maybe you don’t truly understand what it means.
IWIPE might not be one that you know yet, so I just wanted to make sure that you noticed that Devon used the term, and also defined it in his tip. Because if you didn’t already know what it meant, then you might not have realized that’s what he was explaining. The first “i” stands for “Introduce Yourself”, W stands for “Wash your hands”, the second “i” stands for “Identify your Patient”, the “P” stands for “Provide them Privacy”, and the “E” stands for “Explain what you’re going to do.”
None of that is rocket science, which is GREAT news because it’s another good example of how you need to learn how to trust your brain more in nursing school! But it can be easy to forget one of those IWIPE steps if you are feeling a little nervous. I always say, when your anxiety turns on, your brain turns off! And so it can be nice to have a little, easy to remember acronym like IWIPE to focus on and help you get the therapeutic communication right the first time, even if your nerves are starting to act up a little bit.
And with that, I want to take a moment to thank Devon for representing all the future Murses out there and sharing his experience. Even though I’m not a Murse myself, I look forward to hearing his upcoming podcast, “Memoirs of a Murse”, and I will put a link to his podcast on the show notes page when it’s available. That’s also where you’ll find direct links to the “Black Nursing Students” Facebook Group, as well as the social media accounts for “Memoirs of a Murse”. The show notes page is located at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode39
Now as I mentioned earlier, Devon’s tip is the fourteenth in a series of tips for new nursing students from over 2 dozen different experts. On our next episode, Dr. Brad Wojcik, an experienced pharmacist and author of the book, “Dosage Calculations for Nursing Students” will be joining us to share his THREE best tips for making Dosage Calculations a whole lot easier.
You can hear Dr. Brad’s tip, along with other essential advice from experienced nurses and nursing students who have been in your shoes (and lived to tell the tale), by subscribing to this podcast to be notified when the next episode in the series goes live.
And another thing…I work hard to provide valuable free resources to help you through nursing school, so could you do a quick favor in return? Would you please take a moment to go to Apple Podcast, and leave a rating and review for the “Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor” podcast? It won’t take you long, and would mean SO much to me…in fact, you might even get a “shout out” on a future podcast episode if you do!
Before we end this episode, I have a question for you…do you trust that you know more than you think you do in nursing school? Or are you always in a situation where your anxiety turns on, and your brain turns off?
Because, especially if you’re a non-traditional student, you already have a wealth of knowledge and life experience floating around in your head that can help you in nursing school. Through the VIP Tutoring Membership, I can show you how to unlock that knowledge and experience so that you can start trusting your brain more. This will help you have less stress, less overwhelm, AND get you more correct answers on exams…even if you didn’t study the exact fact being asked about.
Sound like magic? It’s not! It’s simply the Silver Bullet Study System, which is the secret behind how experienced nurses think…and you can learn it in the VIP Tutoring Membership.
Don’t waste even more time in nursing school…let me show you how to study in a way that will efficiently build your knowledge AND your confidence AND your critical thinking skills…all at the same 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.