Nursing students are coming to your floor! How exciting!
Don’t make that face. We all precept. We do this because someone precepted us. This is nursing tradition. You are responsible for molding the future of nursing. It is actually a pretty damn weighty responsibility. Some of my nursing school and new grad preceptors are actually still in my life. Some are on SMYS. At least one of them would love to tell you a story about me injecting air into a carpuject vial to draw it into a syringe and showering her with morphine.
Nursing students really are our future coworkers, and in this moment we really DO have the chance to shape their thinking when it comes to advocating for the profession, themselves, and their patients. Is there anything more important than that? They will learn to start an IV after they miss five or six. They will learn time management after they have time to manage. However, they are not taught to advocate for themselves. How many of us heard “Do not take an unsafe assignment or you will put your license in jeopardy” in school with absolutely no suggestion how to not get bullied or fired for refusing one?
You can be that nurse, you know. The nurse who teaches that student what it means to stand up for all that is good and right. To do what is right for her patients and not what is right for a multi-billion dollar healthcare company. You can be the nurse who encourages students to get involved with nursing professional organizations like….SMYS. Or whoever. You can encourage them to check out a website or organize their peers to join a Rally on May 12, 2016 in Washington DC or in their state capital.
You may be setting his feet on a path of lifelong advocacy for his profession. He may become a nurse leader you will read about and fondly remember. You will know who lit that spark in him. He will spend his career making nursing better, and you will be at least partially responsible.
Or you can be the nurse who rolls her eyes, gives the student little direction, and makes them do the dirty jobs for six hours. Because being a nursing student is all about cleaning behinds for nurses who are really sick of doing it, right?
Teach. They are sponges. Let them soak up the knowledge you have gained in your career. Your clinical smarts are extremely valuable, and your healthcare policy and safe staffing knowledge will make them a real member of nursing.
It is your choice. Please make it a good one
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