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Precepting nursing students

I am always amazed about how little "hands on experience" nursing students have received from local colleges. Two senior nursing students that I precepted had little experience with injections and absolutely no experience with the use of glucometers. The opportunities to teach and mentor were necessary and constant! The teaching methods that I used were repetitive demonstration with verbal instruction when caring for children and then the opportunity for the student nurse to provide direct care with supervision. The nursing students had never been provided with this instruction!

When tutoring nursing students for exams, I understand that discussion of the material must include possible real time situations to make the material relevant. This reinforces the knowledge base of concepts in nursing.


After graduating from nursing school (got a BSN in 2006), I'm not surprised about the lack of hands-on experience. We were in the hospital a mere ten hours a week, which amounted to less than eight hours of actual work after pre- and post-conferences. I left school having never given an IM injection. Besides the sheer lack of hours on the floor, the vast majority of nurses had no interest in teaching us - it wasn't in their job description, so unless they really wanted to do it, they didn't. My gut feeling is that unless real partnerships are made between nursing schools and hospitals, this problem will only continue. 
Tutoring nursing students is very different because the students are preparing mostly in an online modality. I am teaching students to review the question and read the answers based on priority and safety measures. Reminding the nursing student that the NCLEX is testing " are you safe at an entry level of practice."