I remember being a student nurse – I studied at the University of Sydney and we had a number of clinical placements in a wide range of health care facilities.
I was always so scared before my placements, I’m not sure why, I would prepare myself by researching practice as much as I could and I have always had a strong sense of purpose about why I studied nursing.
Yet I was scared. I would spend a lot of time on my first days in a new ward observing the practices of the registered nurse I had been paired with and in down times when the registered nurse would be completing their charts or talking to colleagues I would deliberately position myself as far away from the resus trolley as possible … just in case something happened and I would have to push the trolley, that seemed like a HUGE responsibility.
When I finally finished uni and got my first job as an RN (or Real Nurse!), I completed my new graduate program at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. My first shift was okay. I was very much supported by all the nurses working with me and felt I was doing really well my first week.
That was, until one”funny” nurse asked me to go and pick up a pair of fallopian tubes from the steriliser. I guess the worst thing about that story is that I trotted off to find the fallopian tubes!
I think we as nurses have a responsibility to offer support and education and to act as preceptors for student and junior nurses. It can be challenging at times due our heavy workloads and the high acuity of patients but it is important that we take our role as educators for future nurses seriously.
Do you have any stories about your trials and triumphs as student nurse or new graduate? Or how about any thoughts about what it is like to teach or precept other nurses?