5 Things That Aren’t Taught in Nursing School

March 24, 2016

The ultimate goal of nursing school is to teach you to function effectively as a nurse working in the field. However, some of the things you need to know just can't be found in a book. Here are five important things you won't learn during your nursing program. 

1. How to multi-task

As a nurse, you will be expected to handle a number of different responsibilities without forgetting anything. You will also be expected to prioritize your responsibilities so that the most important tasks are completed first.

Although you may have to multitask at certain times during nursing school, it won't compare to what you experience when you begin your actual job. As you work, however, you will learn to juggle all of your responsibilities efficiently. 

2. How to overcome emotions

When you begin treating patients, you will experience joy, despair and everything in between. Unfortunately, because nursing school won't prepare you for this rollercoaster, these emotions can overwhelm you at first. Regardless of how you feel at any given moment, you will have to continue to perform your job effectively. 

3. How to empathize with your patients

Many nurses are instinctually empathetic; it's often what leads them to the field of nursing in the first place. However, learning to experience and control your empathy on a daily basis is something you must learn on your own. For example, when you are placing an IV or performing another uncomfortable procedure, you can use your empathy for the patient to provide comfort and reassurance.

4. How to function on less sleep

With proper planning and good time management skills, you will be able to get enough sleep on most nights. However, your busy schedule may sometimes make it impossible for you to get your full eight hours in between shifts. In fact, when you are new to the job, you may find yourself running on limited sleep regularly. Learning to function without an adequate amount of rest can be difficult, but you will eventually adjust to the new normal. 

5. How much you'll love your job

Whether you take on a full-time job in a local hospital or work in different locations as a travel nurse, your job will be rewarding. The days will be long, but you will have the joy of providing care to people who need it, watching them improve, and forming lasting relationships with your coworkers. 

Adjusting to life as a nurse may be a challenge, and you will learn plenty of new skills along the way, but it will be well worth it in the end.