Anything that boosts your confidence will allow you to take a stand when needed – whether that is for you, for another person, or for your patient. Initially, many new graduates are focused on being accepted rather than ‘standing out’ – this is natural and normal. Try not to feel guilty about not standing up when you just arrive – it takes time to trust those you work with in a way that allows you to share your feelings and thoughts. If you have a mentor or someone you think you can trust when you arrive (perhaps there is a preceptor you worked with when you were a student there, or maybe there is another new graduate in the same position as you), utilize them to bounce ideas off of or ask their opinion on something you have seen or experienced. That will offer you ‘perspective’ that you might not have if you are anxious about being ridiculed or rejected if you decide to say something.
Student loan forgiveness programs can help ease some stress over your outstanding balance over time. Nurses with access to this program have their student loans forgiven, cancelled, or discharged which means they are no longer required to repay some or all of their loans. To learn more about the type of forgiveness available and whether you qualify, contract your loan servicer for more information. Doesn’t hurt to apply!
Almost all students experience some level of test anxiety. It is impossible to learn and retain every detail. Focus on the most important concepts as this will help you tease out pieces of questions that connect with those concepts. Here are some tips:
When you’re doing your best and working through building on your strengths and the strengths in others, it builds a sense of hope. It’s easy to get pulled into self-doubt when you are a student. Whether it’s in clinical practice, labs or theory courses there are times when everyone feels overwhelmed or questions whether they have done enough - the only person that can answer that question is you. Do your best to improve your knowledge and skills that will build your strength and ultimately your confidence. When you’ve done your best - that is simply enough.
The purpose of reflective journals is to promote nurses' critical thinking, autonomy, open-mindedness, and attentiveness. Here are some ways to really REFLECT on your experience.
HEART - what touched you, moved you, inspired you about a care situation or workplace interaction during that week;
HANDS - what did you 'do' that you learned something about this week - perhaps it was a skill you performed or something you did (taught a patient or participated in a diagnostic observation);
HEAD - what did you 'learn' this week? It might be about something pathology related, or perhaps a new approach to dealing with conflict, etc.;
Go DEEP and BROAD as you articulate the above. Remember, your GOAL is to anticipate your instructor’s questions, answering them before they ask. They want you to be more aware of what is behind your actions: they want you to be considering WHY you are doing something, WHY 'something' is happening to your patient, HOW you should be responding, WHAT that response would be and WHY....DO NOT BE SATISFIED until you understand what is UNDERNEATH whatever it is you are reading, thinking, doing.
Online learning requires students to be independent, self-directed learners. However, for some without personal interaction between peers or instructors, students may fall behind. Here are some tips:
As a student or staff member, your orientation to the unit will include a manager or clinical coordinator that you can ask questions of prior to entering the area, including finding out which cultural communities are served by the area you are working in. Alternatively, you can speak to the staff you work with and ask questions about embedding respectful cultural knowledge (including local language) in your practice. For some areas, there will be staff orientation material created for the purpose of increasing cultural safety for communities who you are about to engage with. It is worth spending some time researching the area you are entering, noting the peoples and history whose traditional lands you are working on. As well, humbling yourself when working with Indigenous cultures (or any culture) is always appropriate – ask THEM to ‘teach’ you some words that would help you help them. Keep a book of culturally appropriate language phonetics to assist you to remember. Ask anyone with whom you are culturally unfamiliar if there are traditions or practices that you could include in their care.
All nurses in Canada are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act). Within the Act, harassment is defined as “improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace.” Offensive conduct includes discriminatory acts, comments, and displays. As such, a patient/client making racialized comments towards a nurse is considered harassment.
The Act states that the conduct must be repetitive in order to be considered harassment. This means that the patient/client makes a racialized comment more than once. If you have asked a patient/client to NOT make racialized comments and they continue to do so, it is your right to refuse care. That being said, a single act of racism can be considered harassment if it is so severe that the nurse is significantly impacted for a longer period.
In addition to the Act, nurses in Canada are covered under the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations. These regulations protect workers by outlining what is considered a “work place,” further defining acts of harassment, and your employer’s obligations to ensuring a psychologically safe work place.
If you encounter a patient making racialized comments, the first step is to approach your nursing supervisor to discuss changing your patient/client assignment. Other people that you can reach out to as resources include your local nursing union and regulatory body.