What I didn’t learn in nursing school

Why, hello! I write to you now as a JHUSON alumni and real, full-fledged nurse! I’ve had some ups and downs in my first few months, but overall, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve learned a thing or two here in the real nursing world that they just don’t teach you in school, so I thought I would pass along some of my new-found kernels of wisdom.

  1. You are always going to be sick–well, maybe not ALWAYS, but I have definitely been sicker in the past 6 months than I have been in the last ten years, thank you very much, hospital germs.
  2. Your shoe budget increases exponentially–good, comfortable shoes make a WORLD of difference between sore, aching legs, feet, and backs. Invest in good, quality shoes, even if they cost you $100
  3. Prepping patients for heart catheters can be awkward–especially if they start giggling during the prep
  4. Poop–Poop everywhere, in every crevice, in every color, in every form, in every possible consistency. It lingers and follows you around all shift
  5. 12 hour shifts do not exist–This is a myth. Sure, your schedule says that you work from 7A-7P, but it’s really more like 630-8 or 830 by the time you get all of your charting done.
  6. Scrubs–If you’re lucky enough to work in a hospital without a set uniform, dark colored patterned scrubs are the way to go. Why? It can save you ironing time because you can’t really see wrinkles. This might make me sound lazy, but when I work 5-12 hour shifts in a row, I barely have the time or energy to get my clothes in the washer, let alone iron them.
  7. 8 days off in a row? INCONCEIVABLE!–It’s true, and I don’t even have to use vacation time in most cases. My schedule is flexible enough that I can work Sun-Tues one week, and not work again until Thursday the following week. And you know, sometimes you need that downtime to really re-charge and re-energize yourself. Nursing takes quite a physical and emotional toll on you.

That’s all for now, I hope that I can continue writing as an alum and share the crazy things that happen to me on the floor.


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