Almost half of my placement allocations would be termed as being “highly specialised”. Although there are many glaring differences between the two, both are at the forefront of medical developments and treatment methods in their fields. This makes for a very interesting and fast-paced learning environment but can also, at least in my case, make you feel downright lost from time to time.
That is completely normal!!!
It’s taken me hours and days and weeks to get my head around the concept that – I wont know all the answers. I’m a very competitive and driven person and I take great interest in the theory of Nursing so that when patients or mentors ask a question – I know the answer. It feels good knowing what you’re doing with a patient, what their plan is and the rationale and evidence behind it.
In specialised medicine – you’re dealing with an ever-changing beast. This makes for a dynamic, challenging and engaging workplace for even an experienced consultant let alone a student nurse. This often means the staff on these wards are super passionate about the practice area. I believe inherently that this is a wonderful thing: You want proud, passionate and enthusiastic mentors and educators because that passion will rub off on you and fire your thirst for more information on the area. However, this pride can often be misconstrued as prejudice.
You should never be shy about asking questions in practice. It’s an essential part of the learning process. But, sometimes if you ask a question on a topic that the Nurse Practitioner you’re with has been researching for years and could explain in her sleep, she/he may be less than enthused to answer it.
Yes, it is a privilege to train in practice areas so advanced in their field, but you have the right to learn and be taught at a pace you can manage. Don’t be shy and not ask what retinal papilledema, even if it is for the third time!! It would be a waste of that privilege if you leave your placement with unanswered questions.
And don’t forget, you’re a Student Nurse at one of the best Nursing schools in the country so take pride and confidence in your own knowledge and skills and go out there and get curious. I’ve never heard of a student being evaluated negatively for asking too many questions, but a perceived lack of curiosity and vigor isn’t met as openly.