Revisiting Reality Shock – What’s Changed for New Nurses?

julie kertesz/ via flickr creative common julie kertesz/ via flickr creative common

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last month, we highlighted on Facebook a blog post I had written in 2010, “New Nurses Face Reality Shock in Hospital Settings – So What Else is New?” (It seemed timely in terms of all the June graduations.)

I wrote that original post in response to a study that had just been published in Nursing Outlook (here’s the abstract) describing the experiences of new nurses. Generally, these newbies felt harried, unprepared, overworked, and unsupported—all similar concerns voiced by nurses in Marlene Kramer’s 1974 book, Reality Shock: Why Nurses Leave Nursing. (Here’s AJN’s 1975 review of the book. It will be free for a month; note that you have to click the PDF link at the article landing page to read it.)

My post back in 2009 noted how nothing much seemed to have changed since the publication of Kramer’s book. Now, once again, this post has generated many comments, a number of them on our Facebook page as well as on the original blog post.

Here are a few. I’ll start with Facebook:

I’m almost a 20yr RN and have experienced [this] in a new job. I’ve developed skills to deal with this over the course of my career, so it doesn’t impact me like it did […]

Nursing Students and Then Some – In Opryland, Revisiting AJN’s Long Connection With NSNA

Revisiting AJN’s long connection with this vibrant student nursing association. 

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, editor-in-chief

Opryland critters Opryland critters

I’ve said it a number of times over the years, most recently in my editorial in the April issue of AJN: the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) is a vibrant organization and produces one of the most well-organized annual meetings in nursing. This year, it broke attendance records, drawing approximately 3,200 students and faculty advisors to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, where I spent part of last week.*

Supporting NSNA since its founding. The American Journal of Nursing has been a supporter and and sponsor of the NSNA since the organization began in 1952. The NSNA offices used to be part of the AJN offices at one time, and before NSNA had its own publication (Imprint), AJN published “The Student Pages.” We sponsor Project InTouch, an award given to the student who recruits the most new members for the organization. This year, winner Joanna Laufer from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, recruited 130 new members; overall, this initiative brought in over 1,600 new members this year. Impressive.

Impressive, and sharp dressers too! The students I met—mostly junior and senior nursing students—were also impressive. They were enthusiastic, eager to learn, and professional. I have to say this group as a […]

2016-11-21T13:05:02+00:00 April 14th, 2014|students|1 Comment

What Advice Would You Give a New Nursing Student? Our Readers Respond…

KarenRoushBy Karen Roush, MSN, RN, FNP-C, AJN clinical managing editor

My daughter Kim is starting nursing school next month, so last week I asked AJN’s Facebook followers for the best piece of advice I could give her. The response was overwhelming: over 600 people offered wisdom, encouragement, and tips for success. I went through and read them all and the following is an attempt to synthesize the advice.

Of course, with so many responses, there were many valuable pieces of advice I had to leave out, from the practical to the profound, such as:

sit in the front of class, stick to your principles, invest in good shoes, choose clinicals that push you out of your comfort zone, be early for everything, celebrate the small victories, get a really good stethoscope up front, believe in yourself, pick the hardest patient you can at clinical, audiorecord the lectures, be truthful and committed to your work, eat healthy, get to know your instructors, coffee and chocolate!

And finally: look into the eyes of your patients and be sure they know you care. Every patient, every time.

(Oh, and not to leave out the lighthearted—Don’t hold your nose in clinicals. The teachers frown on that.)

Below are five areas of advice that stood out:

1) “Take a good picture […]

Don’t Write Off Community College to Start a Nursing Career

By Karen Roush, MSN, RN, FNP-C, AJN clinical managing editor

KarenRoushMy daughter is about to start her nursing career. She’s got all her prereqs out of the way and she’s waiting to hear from the half-dozen colleges she applied to. Among them is the community college where I started my career 35 years ago. That’s right—a community college that confers an associate degree.

I hope she gets in.

Community colleges are seen by many as the bottom of the ladder of desired schools of nursing. Not only do they offer only a two-year degree, but they’re not seen as being as selective as four-year colleges and they don’t have the big name professors.

But community colleges can and do produce great nurses. Programs are rigorous, so a more liberal admission standard at the onset doesn’t necessarily change the caliber of student who graduates at the end. And once they graduate, they must meet the same standards as students from four-year schools to attain licensure as an RN—everyone takes the same NCLEX. At the time of my graduation, my school had a 98% pass rate, one of the highest in the country.

Community colleges even have some advantages over a lot of four-year programs. They may not have the big names—but really, how many of those big name professors actually […]

2016-11-21T13:05:07+00:00 March 26th, 2014|career, nursing perspective, students|12 Comments

Future Nurses—No Shrinking Violets

Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield. Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last week I had the opportunity to meet several members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) board of directors when they were here in New York for a board meeting. As is custom, NSNA chief executive officer Diane Mancino invites many of the NSNA sponsors and supporters to dinner to meet the new board.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn Brownfield, the nursing student editor of Imprint, the NSNA’s official publication. She’s a nursing student at Nash Community College in North Carolina. We sat with Thelma Schorr, AJN’s former editor and publisher (and a consulting editor at Imprint) and Florence Huey, a former editor of AJN and of Geriatric Nursing (and a former president of the NSNA). It was like homecoming!

I was impressed—as I always seem to be—with these aspiring nurses. Many of them are second-degree students and come into nursing with work experience, a family, and a maturity that was lacking in my cohort, which was largely younger, right out of high school, with little work experience.

I wonder how these nursing students will fare in their first nursing jobs. One hears a lot about bullying and lateral violence and how it’s driving some new nurses away. I can’t imagine any of the students I met being cowed by overbearing coworkers.

In November, NSNA will host its mid-year conference, which typically draws 1,500 attendees; this year, it will […]