Student nurses and new nurses – we invite you to share your fundamental questions with us on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook Page and on Twitter @JNJNursingNotes! Each month, we will pick a few questions to highlight in this section with responses provided by seasoned nurses.
Q. What extra steps beyond the classroom can students take to gain more experience and enhance their future career?
A. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, take it. Experiences gained while working overseas can be transformative. You will not only grow and become more aware of different cultures, your assessment skills will become enhanced as well. In addition, study abroad trips are often organized with both nursing and medical students. This teaches students the value of collaborating with doctors to improve patient outcomes – a skill that will help you for your entire career.
-Susan Fletcher, Ed.D., MSN, BSN, professor at Chamberlain College of Nursing in St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Fletcher has been a nurse for more than 40 years and a nurse educator since 1993.
Q. What advice would you offer to those interested in becoming a nurse?
A. Nursing is like art. Everyone has their own interpretation. It is up to you to interpret your experiences based on your perceptions. Keep an open mind. You will be surprised where your career can take you.
-Hershaw Davis, Jr., MSN, RN, a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Davis has been a nurse for four years.
Q. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first began your nursing career?
A. I wish I had known how important it is to be to be an advocate for your patients, their families, your peers and the nursing profession. Every day nurses speak up and speak out for different reasons, and while it takes time to develop your own “voice” as an advocate, it’s important for new nurses to recognize the importance of advocacy at all levels.
-Megan P. Williams, MSN, RN, FNP, clinical assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, N.C. Williams has been a nurse for 15 years.
Q. What advice would you give to students who are just starting out in nursing school?
A. Jump at every new opportunity you have, even if it makes you nervous! This is the time to learn – to be exposed to new experiences and learn from them. It will make you more competent and confident when you come across the same situation in the working world.
It’s also important to find an outlet. Find something you enjoy doing outside of nursing. It is important to have a balanced life. For example, I volunteer at the animal shelter, which I love!
-Lindsey Lang, RN, BSN, a level one trauma center nurse at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. Lang graduated from nursing school in May 2012.