Pearls of Wisdom: Advice for New BSN Students

These are written by current BSN students for the new incoming students. Good luck, J1s!!

One way to survive in this class is to enjoy what you are doing.

Please be active, talking with residents at the nursing home and a well-elder, practicing your skills on them and thinking “why.” Why is this resident taking this medicine, why does this resident have this symptom etc? You get to teach them and you will learn something from them too. They are great teachers.

Please focus on what you need to do in EACH week. Try not to think about how many packets you need to be done at the end of this semester etc. Just do whatever you plan to do or as many things as you can.

And, please remember why you are doing these. You are not simply here to struggle to pass classes, but you are here to be a nurse. (In the first semester, I struggled a lot and forgot why I was here….)

Time will fly. At the end of semester, you will be surprised by many things and skills you learn in this class.


Skills are very important this semester, however, the most important thing you will learn this semester is therapeutic communication. This is the foundation of all nursing practice.

Don’t be afraid to touch your client; a reassuring rub on the back, an affectionate pat on the shoulder, a compassionate hand to hold. You’ll be surprised how therapeutic touch is.

Work as a team with your clinical group. Everybody has something to contribute. Where you are weak a classmate will be strong, teamwork builds competency and strength. Don’t try to outshine each other. It won’t work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit you have made a mistake.

Appreciate your CNA’s and acknowledge how hard they work. They are an essential part of nursing, without them your job would be a lot harder. Appreciation fosters a good work relationship.

Utilize the staff. They are full of knowledge. Ask questions. Most of the staff love teaching students.

Relax, this semester will be a lot of work, however, it also will be very rewarding and you will live through it. Have fun and smile a lot.

Be a professional. Don’t get sucked into office politics. When staff members or fellow students are acting in an unprofessional manner. Choose not to participate. Walk away.

Be a patient advocate, first and foremost. It is your most important priority.

Know your skills. Study your packets. Practice your assessment skills.

Listen to your patients. You are now a nurse. They will tell you everything including detailed descriptions of their bowel movements to their most intimate, private thoughts. Don’t act shocked or surprised and you will obtain their ultimate trust, which is very important in collecting information that can be implemented into the holistic treatment of your patient.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything you have to do. Break it down. Tackle it one step at a time. You will get it all done.

Find out where everything is the first day. It saves a lot of time.

Take care of yourself, eat well, and get enough sleep and exercise. This will be the most difficult semester you will face and at the end of it, you will feel that you are well on your way to being a “real nurse”. Good luck!!

If there is one thing that I have realized over this past semester it’s that nothing is as difficult or as impossible as it may seem at first. People will tell you how little sleep they got or how amazingly difficult certain classes are but in reality, you just have to take things one week at a time and you will be fine. I promise you from the bottom of my heart that all of that hard work you put into school will pay off that first time you are able to implement what you have learned to help a real person. As a nurse, you will be there when somebody is born or dies. Something that you say during a “teachable moment” will help change destructive behaviors or encourage a family going through a difficult time. And when you share someone’s joy, grief, fear, hope, or sadness in the way you will as a nurse, you will be forever changed. You will be an intimate witness to the entire range of human emotions and in the process will develop tremendous empathy which will influence everything you do in life. You have picked a truly incredible profession.

Congratulations on beginning your career!