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Professor of Nursing Writes a Guide for Student Success

Posted Nov 03 2008 9:02pm

My goodness, what took so long? Lots and lots of years after I graduated from nursing school, a professor at Rutgers College of Nursing in New Jersey has written a 256-page soft-cover book filled with sage advice on how to successfully take oneself from newbie student nurse to capable RN.

Robert Atkins, Ph.D., RN, canvassed nursing faculty, as well as seasoned practicing nurses who have professional contact with students, to gather insights into how a student can make the most of and get the most from his/her nursing education.

Getting the Most from Nursing School: A Guide to Becoming a Nurse covers myriad aspects of what a student encounters in school, from taking notes to writing papers to creating care plans.

Nursing school is emotionally demanding and plain hard work, whether it be studying and testing or on-your-feet clinical shifts. To become competent clinicians and caring nurses, students must learn the skills to anticipate challenges and, when they arise, to deal with them professionally. Atkins’s book shows the student the way.

Author Atkins says his aim is to help students with great potential become great nurses. The nursing profession and the nation’s health care system will be improved, according to Atkins (and who could argue with him?), by providing talented students with the tools needed to maximize their education. In turn, they are enabled to go on to be exceptional health care providers, policy makers, educators and researchers.

I am reminded of a statement (quoted here before) by the American Journal of Nursing’s editor-in-chief, Diana Mason, who said, "It does take a special something to be a nurse but it doesn’t have to be innate—it can be learned. With the proper desire, skills can be gained."

The Atkins book could give a student a leg up on becoming a superb nurse. In many ways, nursing students today are different from the students of my era. Few of us were married, those who had children were rare and we weren’t allowed to work at jobs outside our hospital. We weren’t pulled in so many directions. Today all of that has changed. Atkins’s book just might help today’s student stay focused and ease the stress of a plethora of responsibilities, both personal and education-related.

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