Whoever may be thinking that nursing is an easy profession to get into is in for a ride! Becoming a nurse means mastering a lot of concepts, drowning in at least 10 ‘essential’ textbooks plus countless notes, and having great interpersonal skills.
If you’re reading this, then you are probably a nursing student or someone who’s seriously looking into nursing as a career option. Becoming a nurse is increasingly getting popular not just because of how much nurses make, but also because of the presence of more nurses in TV shows and movies that share a glimpse of how rewarding being a nurse can be.
Just a heads up, the road to becoming a nurse is not an easy one although it can be a lot more bearable if you know which nursing concepts are the most important to master. Whatever type of nursing student you may be, mastering the following nursing concepts will put you ahead in your class and help you adjust to hospital life later on.
The Nursing Process
Sure the nursing process may look as though it is a simple as pie (get it? ADPIE?), but it can actually be like trying to gobble down a pie on steroids! From NCLEX to real life nursing, the nursing process is every nurse’s best friend. Simply knowing the correct order can make your life as a nurse so much easier. Test takers secret: At least a few questions in your state boards can be answered just by knowing the basics of the nursing process. That’s an NCLEX hack!
Principles of Asepsis
Forget about becoming a nurse if you have no inkling about what the principles of asepsis are all about. This is something that you will use every single day as a nurse, no matter where you may be or where you will end up working. There’s just no way you can be a nurse and be able to protect yourself, much more your patients, without fully understanding this basic but fundamental nursing concept.
Blood Flow Through the Heart
From passing quizzes, understanding anatomy and physiology, and knowing life-saving measures, fully comprehending blood flow through the heart can save patients’ life and the nursing student’s life as well. There are actually a few anecdotes of nurses not landing their dream job because they failed to correctly answer an interview question which asks them to describe how the blood flows through the heart. Ouch, that’s heart-wrenching!
Therapeutic Communication Techniques
Mastering nursing communication techniques mean a lot more than just knowing how to say “tell me more” (although that works a lot of times!). First off, your skill in communicating with patients is what sets you apart from healthcare staff in other professions.
Nursing is called THE ‘caring profession’ for plenty of reasons, and a lot of those reasons are associated with how a much better a nurse can make a patient feel just by using the right choice of words. Being a nurse also entails knowing how to coax important details from patients who may not be very comfortable sharing very personal facts. Nurses are able to do that by being communication ninjas (for the most part). In fact, an NCSBN study shared that 100% of new RNs said that they use therapeutic communication techniques in 100% of all their nurse-patient interaction. And by the way, this nursing concept is also an NCLEX favorite.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
We know how basic Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, but a lot of more complex concepts are based on it (like prioritization and triage). The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is every nurse’s blueprint in answering NCLEX questions and real life situations that have to deal with decision making. You absolutely NEED this to save yourself from the trouble of not passing your state exams and for saving patients’ lives.
Speaking of saving patients’ lives, knowing how prioritization works is more than just memorizing what ABC stands for (that’s airway, breathing, and circulation by the way). What if a real life situation or an exam question asks you to prioritize 3 patients with airway problems? How will you pick which patients needs the most immediate care? It all boils down to applying your ABCs of prioritization PLUS understanding which conditions are the least stable.
In prioritization, life-threatening conditions always takes priority over less serious conditions with the exception of patients whose conditions will most likely not respond well to the application of life-saving measures that a nurse can provide (an example would be a patient with half the neck hacked off or a patient fully impaled in the torso with a tree branch).
Principles of Delegation
Nursing delegation goes hand in hand with prioritization and is more than just telling someone to do nursing chores and task for you. It is actually quite complicated and that could probably be a reason why it is also a favorite nursing concept in the NCLEX.
First off, you have to know exactly what procedures and tasks each nursing staff knows how to do and can do. What you can delegate must fall into that nursing staff’s scope of practice. More so, you have to make a judgement call on what to delegate, when to delegate, and how to communicate what you are delegating properly. No wonder delegation in nursing is a dreaded concept in exams!
Forms and Routes of Medications
Another NCLEX favorite and a real life saver is knowing the routes of medication administration as well as the different forms of medications. We know that we’ve been saying this again and again but only because this list really contains must-know concepts for nursing students.
For nursing exams, the questions about these nursing concepts usually center on how to administer a certain drug or what would be the patient teaching associated with a specific type of medication administration. You surely won’t want to make the mistake of orally administering a suppository in real life nursing, right? Kidding aside, just having an understanding of these nursing concepts can save you from malpractice as well as negligence charges later on, so be sure to know both by heart.
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