63. Being told you’re wrong, but NOT told how to fix it: How to handle negative clinical experiences in nursing school

Did you know that I have a free Facebook Group you can join to connect with other nursing students AND get some help from me? It’s called “Nursing Students in Nursing School”, and today I’m answering one of the student questions I received there. Melissa asked,  “I am 43 years old, and I feel like I’m treated like a child! Most of the time they tell me what I’m doing wrong, but not how to fix it. Can you please help me? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.”

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Transcript for Episode 63

Did you know that I have a free Facebook Group you can join to connect with other nursing students AND get some help from me? It’s called “Nursing Students in Nursing School”, and you can find the link in the show notes for today’s episode, located at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode63. If you’re new to this podcast, welcome! I’m Nurse Nicole, founder of Your Nursing Tutor. And today I want to share with you a taste of the kind of mentorship and tutoring support you can get with Your Nursing Tutor, and how it can be a positive place for you to make nursing school easier, by answering a student question recently submitted by Melissa I recently received in my free Facebook Group. This is the way it works…I post a Q&A thread on the “Featured Posts” for Facebook group members to submit questions for me. Then once a week on Friday, I post a video answering all their questions! If I have any free resources available that I think would help them with their question, then I’ll send that to them as well. Not only is it a free way to get practical advice from a professional nursing tutor, but just like this podcast you will hear that a lot of other nursing students are asking the same questions, wondering the same things, and dealing with the same challenges as you are. So you’ll be able to learn a lot simply from listening to how I respond to other students.And like I said, if you’d like to get the link to join my Free Facebook Group, or get the links for any of the other resources I mention today, you can find them at the show notes page at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode63 Enjoy today’s episode!—————Hey, there it is nurse Nicole from the group, “Nursing Students in Nursing School: Get Better Grades with Your Nursing Tutor, otherwise known as Your Nursing Tutor, and I’m doing the weekly Facebook Live to answer your tutoring and mentorship questions for nursing school. 
This is one of the perks that you get for being a part of this free Facebook group. Now, this week, I only got one question from one person. So you guys utilize this resource, okay. But Melissa asked me, let’s see…she’s in her third semester, which is Med Surg, at an Associate’s in nursing program. And she has five weeks left of clinical this semester. So she says that her problem is with time management, and it seems like it takes her so much longer than the other students to complete her required paperwork along with all the other patient specific tasks we have throughout the dates. “I am 43 years old, and I feel like I’m treated like a child, most of the time they tell me what I’m doing wrong, but not how to fix it. Can you please help me any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.” So first of all, Melissa, this is unfortunately, a really common situation. It’s like a mind game that gets played on students a lot of times during nursing school. So first of all, the thing that you need to put kind of, you know, first and foremost in your mind is that it’s not you, it’s them. Okay, there if you feel like you’re being treated like a child, like that’s kind of an unhealthy environment. And I think this happens a lot too, in, you know, the, the returning students. So you said, you’re 43, I work with a lot of returning students who are in their 30s 40s, and even 50s In my VIP tutoring membership, which is my paid tutoring program where I work with students, you know, more regularly with tutoring, to answer questions and mentorship. And this is what they feel a lot of times, because it’s really hard when you’re going from being a competent adult, to turning around. And now you’re learning a new skill, which is nursing, it’s a whole new world for you probably, even if you worked in healthcare, you didn’t say if you did work in health care before this, but some, you know, some people may have had some sort of healthcare experience before going into nursing school, and still end up feeling like they get treated this way. It’s not right. It’s an unfortunate happening in a lot of nursing school cultures and hospital cultures, even nowadays, it’s one thing that I am working to fix. And it’s one thing that now you someday when you become a successful nurse, you are going to work to fix to that’s what this is going to take is that ripple effect of people turning around and not treating the next generation of nurses the way that maybe we were treated. So I just want to encourage you in that, that just because they’re treating you that way doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out to be a nurse. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be there. Okay, what they should be doing for you is treating this like a learning experience and helping you go forward and move forward. And you also said they tell you that what you’re doing is wrong, but not how to fix it. I will tell you this funny story from when I was in clinical, you know, a long time ago, and nursing school. There was this one time we were supposed to change the bed linens. And I had never worked in health care before going to nursing school, so I was totally green. I changed the bed linens. And I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. And my nursing instructor, you know, was just standing there in the room watching me and I go to put the bed linens on. I think on the chair. Oh, no, no, no, you can’t put them on the chair. She told me they’re, you know, contaminated or whatever. Okay, I go to put them on the floor. No, you can’t put them on the floor. Somebody could trip. I’m like holding them out. You can’t hold them because if you hold them against your your scrubs, you’re gonna contaminate yourself and spread it. I’m like, Okay, well, maybe somebody could just bring the laundry basket in the room because I couldn’t leave the patient there right then. And she’s like, No, no, you can’t bring the laundry basket in the room because that’s bringing other contaminated things in. And, to this day, I still do not know what she expected me to do. I don’t know if there was some magic nursing thing I never learned that helps long, dirty laundry to float to the laundry basket or what but I still don’t know what specifically she wanted me to do with that dirty laundry. But in any case, eventually it made it to the laundry basket. I probably did it wrong. But she didn’t tell me and I still don’t know what it was that she expected from me. That is not a good learning experience. And it happens a lot. It doesn’t just happen in clinicals. It happens a lot in academic experience in nursing school. I hear complaints from nursing schools or nursing students a ton of time. where they are told you have to think like a nurse, you have to think like a nurse, you have to think like a nurse. But then they’re just left on their own to figure it out. So I don’t know, you’re talking about that side of things, too. But that’s a really common experience. I want to mention that to anybody else who might be listening as well. That there are ways to explicitly learn how to think like a nurse. You don’t have to be left on your own to think that way. And you can, you can find ways and that’s what I specialize in helping nursing students do a study, very specific way that mimics the way experienced nurses thinks that you can learn to think like a nurse without having to feel like you’re just thrown in the deep, deep end of the pool and left to sink or swim on your own. Like you really don’t even like a swim coach to come in and show you how to swim so that you don’t drown. And that’s what I like to do with my my tutoring. So I do have a free study video that you can watch that kind of gives you an overview of the process. And this can help you in clinicals, too, because it really shows you how to break down the information, how to think through things step by step in a way that an experienced nurse does so that you can make connections of everything that you’re learning. And then you can use those connections to make clinical judgments by analyzing and applying your knowledge. So that is, it’s available on my website for free. But you can also find it in the free Facebook group here. Let me make sure I answered all your questions. Normally, I only will answer one question per person in this group. But since you’re the only one this week, then I have the extra time. So I’m happy to answer them in this case. So you’re saying that it takes you so much time management, so I’m assuming with the clinical, I assume you’re talking about like time management during your clinical day. And completing the required paperwork. So a lot of that takes experience, okay, and just thinking through the day. So you don’t always know what type of patients you have, you know, coming into the clinical day, but you can think about what sorts of things you need to do, because especially as a student, you’re going to be having the same sorts of tasks that you have to do, you know, the maybe vital signs, passing meds, doing, helping the patient with basic care and things like that, in addition to paperwork, and what type of documenting you have to do if you have to do a full health history or care plans and things like that. So it can help to sort of think through the steps before you go. And then also do kind of what we call a post mortem, after each clinical day, where you sit down by yourself and you think about what things went well today, and what things could I improve on. And when you think about the things you can improve on, you want to kind of look at that objectively. And just think, where did I lose track of my time? Where could my schedule have been tightened up a little bit? Could I have changed the order of tasks that I did in order to make it more efficient? Is there something that I could learn how to speed up a little bit so it doesn’t take as much time? And if you’re thinking through things like that, then like I said, it’s a learning process, like learning to ride a bike, then over time, you will get that better at it. And in the meantime, you really do I just have to emphasize this again, keep your blinders on. So people are being negative around you, don’t compare yourself to other people in your class. And if if you find that the other nurses and the instructors are being negative. Now, if they’re giving you some if they’re giving you some valuable feedback, obviously we want to listen, we don’t want to just dismiss everything they say because they’re saying it in a hurtful way. You know, so it can take a little bit of like opening yourself up and just really inspecting like, is this a true thing? Is this something with, you know, what can I pull out of their feedback that can help me, but then discard the rest. And don’t let it speak to who you are as a person and who you’re going to be as a future nurse. And that is a skill that will serve you well for a lifetime. If you’re talking about care plans when it comes to completing paperwork, then I just wanted to throw this in. This is the book I recommend for care plans. It’s the nursing diagnosis handbook. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same edition. But this is essential if you have this handbook and you learn how to use it. You should be able to write your care plans in 30 minutes or less. Like it doesn’t take that long because it can walk you right through exactly what to say the wording, what nursing diagnoses to pick what interventions to pick, and things like that. And I have an extra training about that in my VIP tutoring membership which is my paid membership where people can get additional tutoring from me on an ongoing basis. So I hope that answers your question and good luck in your clinicals and good luck on your nursing journey ——–I hope you found that Q&A helpful to you. Maybe you’re in clinicals and have been having a similar experience, my advice holds true for you, too! If you’d like to be able to look at that Care Plan book I mentioned, I’ll have the amazon link on the show notes page at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode63. That’s also where you can find the link for my free Facebook group where Melissa originally asked her question, in case you want to join it too. Or if you already know that you’d like to get this kind of mentorship and encouragement full-time, then I invite you to join my VIP Tutoring Membership instead! It’s a monthly tutoring membership, it’s all entirely on my website at yournursingtutor.com in case you prefer not to use Facebook at all, and it’s where you can post questions for me to answer anytime (versus only once per week like in the free facebook group where Melissa posted her question). As a VIP Tutoring Member, you’re also able to attend weekly Live Group Tutoring sessions where you can ask me your questions and get more practice and help with learning to think like a nurse. And the link for the VIP Tutoring Membership will also be on the show notes page at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode63. Before we end today, would you mind doing me a 30-second favor? Would you go to Apple Podcasts and write a 2-sentence Review for Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor? Simply tell me where you’re at on your nursing journey, and why you like listening to this podcast. It’s one small way that you can support the mission of Your Nursing Tutor by helping other nursing students discover that it IS possible for “normal people” to get through nursing school without completely sacrificing their family, their job, and even their sanity. Until next episode, good luck on your nursing journey!

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