Nurses - what makes a good student nurse??

(28 Posts)
aspiringnurse Sun 29-Mar-20 19:02:20

The title really..
I'm due to start uni in September and wanted some advice on what makes a good nurse, how I can prepare and get the most out of my study?

Thank you grin

OP’s posts: |
damekindness Mon 30-Mar-20 21:50:29

Someone who:
Is organised, punctual and plans ahead
Knows when to ask questions (and when to save them for later) but always asks questions
Is able to manage own learning and seeks out learning opportunities
Talks and properly listens to patients/service users/carers to find out about them and their health and wellbeing
Writes clearly and concisely
Understands the importance of an evidence base (research) for care interventions
Reads beyond the reading list
I would also recommend developing coping mechanisms now - exercise, yoga, running, mindfulness that you can use when you find student nurse life stressful ( it will be possibly the most stressful thing you will have ever done)
Look for the role models, watch them closely and reflect on what they are actually doing and what you can learn from that

Probably a whole lot more...

FloofenHoofen Mon 30-Mar-20 21:56:53

Ooh watching with interest. I've applied for Mental Health Nursing, and I have an interview in April albeit not face to face, I'm hoping this will somehow help my anxiety as I struggle with interviews as it is anyway.

Any tips and tricks for the interview?

Innitogether Mon 30-Mar-20 21:59:02

I’m not a nurse, but I have logged records of student nurse attendance at a large university. I would say turning up for placement would be a good idea. It shocked me the number of students who just didn’t bother turning up for lectures and placements. A significant number had less than 70% attendance rate.

aspiringnurse Mon 30-Mar-20 22:39:47

Thank you for your replies!

In terms of interview @FloofenHoofen, when going for my interview we were told at the start of the session (group interviews) that it's not a competition, we aren't going for a job and they're wanting to see your true personality, what you're like as a person. Smile, be yourself, have questions to ask at the end of your interview, read up on why you chose that uni, 6C's, the NHS values, what makes a good nurse, why they should choose you, what can you bring to the course, when have you demonstrated teamwork etc.
Good luck!!grin

OP’s posts: |
FloofenHoofen Mon 30-Mar-20 22:50:27

Thanks @aspiringnurse these are all the areas I'm currently trying to cover so glad to hear I'm going in the right direction!

@Innitogether quite surprised to hear that many didn't attend placements, that's probably the most important part.

Graceymac99 Mon 30-Mar-20 22:58:41

I am a mental health nurse. Kindness and compassion and empathy are very important qualities. imagine yourself in your patients shoes and how care for them in the way you would want to be.
On the wards get involved, ask questions, educate yourself about the area of care that you are on placement in. Know your professional boundaries. Be organised with your assignments, it can be difficult working shifts and keeping on top of study. I have found my niche and have a great job working with some truly lovely service users.


Historyofeverything1 Tue 31-Mar-20 00:06:53

I'd also add I'd want to know you're a safe practitioner - you know your limitations and aren't afraid to say. No one knows everything and no one expects that.
As a former nurse and now a regular patient I want to trust you but after years of bad care you need to show me you care, your knowledgeable and you want to be there. I want to maintain my dignity and not be looked down upon because I am no longer able to work. I want to be communicated with in an upfront and honest way - if the waiting lists 18 months tell me because I can deal with that (I can't deal with oh it's 10 months only to get to the top and be moved onto the next waiting list). Get to know the patients and find out their history it will help you care for them in the present. As a nurse I always found if you give a small bit of you to the patient it helps build a relationship.
Best of luck its an amazing career for the right person.

IPityThePontipines Tue 31-Mar-20 00:18:34

All very good advice.

I would add that being a good student helps too. Be engaged in academic work and be willing to read and broaden your knowledge base. Academic work is not an optional extra as your practice should be evidence based.

Alittlewornout Tue 31-Mar-20 08:30:45

Compassion and kindness, as a mentor I cant teach that. The not turning up for placement is very true sadly or arriving late wanting a Friday off as it's a community placement etc etc. Be open to new ideas but dont dismiss the old ones. Recognise your own limitations the most dangerous are those who are over confident but dont know what they dont know. It's much better when caring for someone to say you dont know but that you will find out for them ( and for you for next time). I have been in the profession for 30 years and I still learn new stuff nearly every day.
Good luck to you I know this may sound a bit odd but try and enjoy your interview I promise they want to find reasons to take you not the other way round.

JazzTheDog Tue 31-Mar-20 08:38:10

All of the above.

I'm a mental health nurse and the students who have struggled are the ones who have 'seen it before' and don't use a person centred approach. 25 people with mental health problems may have the same diagnosis but entirely different presentations.

Good luck and enjoy your time off before you start!

FloofenHoofen Tue 31-Mar-20 08:49:15

@JazzTheDog I know what you're talking about. I have family members with all the same diagnosis but they all present differently.

There's some really good advice here smile

JazzTheDog Tue 31-Mar-20 08:55:59

@FloofenHoofen it might also be worth doing a little research into functional mental illness, organic mental illnesses and personality disorders. Just enough to give you conversational knowledge 🙂

FaithInfinity Tue 31-Mar-20 09:53:33

FloofenHoofen look up Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on Body Language, it’ll help you seem confident at interview.

Good students I’ve worked with do some reading in advance of the placement, listen, do as they’re asked (you’d be shocked how many don’t!). Over time I expect good students to start taking initiative, looking ahead at what needs doing. Basic fundamentals like time keeping, acting in a professional manner are still lost on some individuals! But a general positive attitude and a willingness to learn goes a long way.

Alittlewornout Tue 31-Mar-20 10:28:28

@Faith you are so right in all you say. There are too many students now who appear disinterested or lack any basic initiative. When I mean basic I mean things like holding a door open for client or colleague whose arms are full. Keep a wee note book close by to write down any terminology or conditions you come across to look up later and discuss with your mentor. I love a student who can reflect back on a care episode of a person and identify what went well and perhaps that could have gone better. Ask questions as those of us who have been around for a long time often do/ say things which may at first appear instinctive but actually its tacit knowledge built up from years of learning and caring experiences tailored to each individual we care for. I loved my student nurse days I had some fab ( if formidable) nurses teach me on placements but good or bad I learned from them all. Feel a bit nostalgic now!!!

GenXer Tue 31-Mar-20 10:41:08

Such a lovely thread.
Nothing new I can add only that I wish you the very best for the future.

I started my Nursing & Midwifery Training, as it was then, way back in 1991 and qualified in 1994 I have great memories of it and nostalgia has coloured how challenging it often was.
Being compassionate, actively listen and ask questions, being organised and turning up to lectures and placements have all been mentioned before but are key.

Never forget why you chose nursing, it sounds a bit corny but got me through some tough times.

aspiringnurse Tue 31-Mar-20 13:23:41

Thank you all so much for all your advice, stories and pearls of wisdom!! ❤️

I am looking forward to start but apprehensive as I lack self confidence and belief in myself.. I just want to create a better life for me, my partner and our little boy.. the current situation has people crying out for nurses and it has hugely firmed my decision that this is exactly why I want to be a nurse.. thank you again all smile

OP’s posts: |
Alittlewornout Tue 31-Mar-20 14:20:57

Good luck to you @aspiringnurse if it helps I really lacked in self confidence when I started but nursing was the making of me in that regard. My very first job on my very first ward was the 2O'clock obs. The sister allocated this to me for several sound reasons, it gave me a sense of purpose but also stopped me getting in the way. They had already been done at 10am so anyone of any concern had been highlighted and would be seen by someone more senior. I had to introduce myself and chat to every patient on that ward whilst carrying out the task but what a great confidence boost even though I was nervous to start with. Think it took me about 2 hours to do them all! She was scary if she had said jump zip would have asked how high!! When she did my final placement assessment she took her glasses off and said she would be happy to have me back as a staff nurse praise indeed!! I have never forgotten her 30 years later now I am her equivalent but I hope I am not scary to the students!! I wish you all the very best.

FloofenHoofen Tue 31-Mar-20 14:23:31

@FaithInfinity I watched the TED talks that you suggested, it's very helpful, and I'll be using that method prior to the interview.
Thank you so much for that. And thank you to everyone else for your insights.

Good luck with your course @aspiringnurse I hope it's everything and more for you and your family smile

FaithInfinity Tue 31-Mar-20 14:40:07

You’re welcome! I’ve found it helpful for interviews and just when my self-esteem has been low, it boosts my confidence.

Sidge Tue 31-Mar-20 14:55:59

For me I like mentoring student nurses who are curious - within their bounds of competency of course. Question things - too many things are done “because that’s what is always done.” Use that curiosity to read beyond reading lists, question data, question practices.

But do it appropriately and tactfully!

Then use that knowledge to underpin your own practice.

Be confident, but not arrogant. Nothing worse than a student nurse who thinks she knows it all or knows best. But also nothing worse than a student who lacks the confidence to try things, to put him/herself out there.

Don’t be lazy, don’t be rude, don’t think you’re better than HCAs or cleaners or ward clerks. We’re all important in the team. I remember having a student who was insufferable, she thought as a student nurse she was top of the tree when she actually knew nothing.

And most of all - care.

MagnoliatheMagnificent Tue 31-Mar-20 15:17:39

I agree with Sidge
Listen and learn. Don't consider yourself above anyone else, Be respectful - to all staff, patients and families.

I've seen many 'young' nurses coming through who act as though they know everything and look down on some of the older/experienced nurses and HCA's and yet they don't appreciate the experiences of others.

FloofenHoofen Tue 31-Mar-20 23:08:41

Super quick question - I was just thinking about my answer for why I want to be a nurse and I can answer in a superficial sense in that I have experience with family members and other personal care experiences which I can talk about but really the main reason is because of a traumatic experience I went through when I was a child and that led to some terrible mental health of my own, I actually had nobody to support me at that time and I remember thinking all I want to do is support people and if I could even be a glint of a help to someone no matter what their age then that would be the most fulfilling sensation.

Would it be silly of me to talk about personal experiences like this? Is this too personal? I don't want to bring up traumas if it seems too much. That is one of the main reasons but there are others I can use so what do others suggest?

damekindness Tue 31-Mar-20 23:20:47

Hello @FloofenHoofen it's really really common for students on mental health nursing programmes to have had experiences like yours. It's often what makes people consider this as a career in the first place. I think it's absolutely fine to talk about this ( if you'd broken your leg and decided to be an adult nurse because of what you experienced you would share that - mental health is no different ) I would think about telling your story in a way that's succinct and only reveals as much as you feel comfortable with revealing. Think about what you wanted in terms of support at that time and how you think a mental health nurse might have been able to offer you

FloofenHoofen Tue 31-Mar-20 23:30:08

Thank you @damekindness

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