During my entrance into this wonderful profession I can still remember the stress over grades. Most ‘students’ in general want to excel at their studies. So as nursing students we fought for every point on our exams. From the first semester all the way to our senior semester there were certain students that just HAD to get that ‘A’.
I was one of them ‘in the beginning’. As the semesters rolled on I realized that being a competent practitioner was not about the ‘grades’ you got in school. Excelling as a nurse was not about the ‘exams’. What mattered most was how you put it all together for the ‘bigger picture’. That bigger picture was and still is all about your patients.
Does an A student equate to a ‘strong’ nurse?
Does a C student equate to a ‘weak’ nurse?
In fact in my experience your ‘grades’ as a student have absolutely no bearing on how you perform your duties as a nurse.
That’s the rub.
You can be a rock star-like student nurse. You can kick @ss and take names on all your exams, your clinical performances and even ‘knock them dead’ when checking off a new ‘skill session’. But none of it will matter once you get out there and practice the art of nursing.
Sure getting the good grades and mastering the material is going to assist you and even make your ‘job’ easier in the beginning (and in the long run some times), but if you can’t apply your knowledge, generate some sharp critical thinking skills and develop a compassion for the people you take care of, you will not succeed as a nurse.
In fact it’s my believe you will fail as a nurse (but that’s another story).
I only bring this to light since I’m back in the saddle again. My first semester as an acute care nurse practitioner student and I’m already caught up in the world of ‘grades’. I’m feeling like a failure if I don’t get the ‘A’, and I really need to stop it.
I need to center myself and be sure to keep my focus on the big picture. I will grasp and master the concepts, but I will not let the ‘grade’ dictate my success.
For all the ‘students’ out there – don’t lose sight of the big picture. In the end, your patient won’t give a damn what your grades were as a student. They will however give a damn about how you care for them.