The Nursing Student’s Mantra

Yesterday a classmate and I got together to do a craft project in honor of a truism we discovered over the past semester:

It is what it is.

Nursing school is hard. Really hard. And there will be moments when the only thing you feel like doing is bashing your head against a wall. Group projects will get dumped on you. You will not learn every possible clinical skill before entering the real world of clinicals. And you will make mistakes. But if you look for the negative in every situation, you will find yourself wasting a lot of energy complaining, energy that you could be devoting elsewhere.

This is not to say that you should be a doormat. If you feel the need to advocate for yourself, by all means do so. But pick your battles.  And be wise about how you approach such situations.  Our class was able to successfully advocate for an instructor change because we made rational arguments and communicated our distress calmly.  And we hadn’t already established a reputation for ourselves as complainers.  But there is a thin line between lobbying and whining.  And when that same instructor tried to helpfully send us an article about the challenges of being second-degree nursing students, several of my classmates became incensed because the opening paragraph contained the word “hostile.” They were offended because they believed that she was passive aggressively calling us hostile.  When a small but vocal minority suggested that maybe she was trying to help us by offering us some information, we were told we were being “too nice” (one person was even called a “suck up”).

So a word to the wise for future nursing students:  These programs are stressful, no matter where you go.  And there will always be opportunities to be negative.  Don’t get sucked in.  Do the best that you can do, work hard, advocate wisely and always remember … it is what it is!


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