- Here's how we can encourage our nursing students through the ups and downs of their training, especially during this difficult time
Americans have never needed nurses as much as they do now. With a pandemic continuing to rage, the nation’s health care resources remain tapped. What can you do to keep the student you love from burning out before obtaining their high-demand degree?
1. Show Interest in Their Studies
Nursing school can be grueling, and when you undertake such an endeavor, you need all the encouragement you can get. Sadly, friends and family rarely get past a noncommittal, “How’s school?”
Show genuine interest in what the nursing student you care about is tackling in their coursework. Ask them what fascinates them the most about what they’ve learned. Tread carefully — the rules of professional ethics prohibit students from giving diagnoses or recommending treatment. However, given the current climate, you might ask, “Have you discussed infectious disease yet? What’s your take on the Great Mask Debate?”
2. Remind Them of Their Value
You know that society needs more nurses — but have you shared that insight with the student you love? Nursing remains one of the top ten most in-demand majors because of the need. Your student can choose from multiple specializations, from working with geriatric patients to tending to infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
When the nursing student in your life grows overwhelmed, remind them how much they are needed. Make them feel like a superhero donning their cape, and they’ll find the energy to make that 8 a.m anatomy class.
3. Make a Food Care Package
Everyone needs to eat, but college has a way of draining the food budget. Your favorite nursing student knows how to get adequate nutrition, but they might not have the time or money to tend to their needs as they should.
Why not make them a food care package? Instead of going with a commercial gift basket, give them a box full of healthy freezer meals and snacks that they can grab-and-go. They’ll thank you for the low-carb breakfast burrito that keeps them from hitting the drive-thru for a greasy morning meal.
4. Write a Handwritten Note
Email is useful, but few things top the charm of opening your mailbox to an unexpected card or letter. Why not take the time to write a handwritten note of encouragement that they can pin to their dorm room bulletin board? They’ll smile at your thoughtful gesture, and you’ll fill up a few hours of quarantine if you’re homebound.
5. Take Something Off Their Plate
If your favorite nursing student is a parent, why not offer to babysit and give them a few hours of study time uninterrupted by cries of, “I’m bored?” If they don’t have a little one, they still need to do laundry and get the oil in their vehicle changed. Take these necessary but time-consuming tasks off their plate.
6. Give Them the Gift of Privacy
Sleeping in a dorm room can prove challenging if someone is light-sensitive, and their roommate pulls an all-nighter. Why not give them a bit of privacy with an adult bed tent that lets them shut out the world? If you still have money in your budget, a pair of noise-canceling earbuds helps them drown out reggae music blaring down the hall.
7. Invest in Scrubs
Nurses need a ton of scrubs — particularly busy students in a COVID-19 world. They might have to doff their duds as soon as they return home, but who has time for endless laundry while hitting the books?
Give them the gift of more scrub pants and tops. Look for features such as chest pockets for added storage and ask about their neckline preference.
8. Protect Their Weary Dogs
Nursing students might walk well more than 10,000 steps daily while doing a clinical rotation. Hospital floors aren’t known for comfort. Help the one you love to prevent sore feet and low back pain with one of the best shoes for those in the profession.
9. Share Unique Opportunities
If your favorite nursing student alternates hitting the books with working, parenting or both, they might not have time to network. However, according to LinkedIn, as much as 85% of new jobs stem from who you know. If you hear of any hot openings, give them the 411. Better yet, offer to help them polish their resume if career writing isn’t their strong suit.
10. Shower Them With Self-Care
Busy students have little time for self-care. Do what you can to help in this regard. If you have the means, a spa gift certificate is always welcome — pampering feels incredible.
However, if you are on a shoestring, you can still nurture the nursing student you love. Whip up a batch of homemade massage oil and rub the tension from their weary shoulders. Plan a relaxing Sunday afternoon of giving each other pedicures while sharing camaraderie.
Encourage Nursing Students — America Needs and Appreciates Them
If there’s one profession America needs most right now, it’s nurses. Show the student you love how much you appreciate them by encouraging their studies with these ten tips.