Number One Tip For Nursing Students: Introduce Yourself

by | Mar 12, 2020 | Nursing, Video

I’m a brand new nurse in the ICU, and introducing myself was the way I got my first job right out of school. Being a nursing student during clinical rotations can be scary! There’s an art and a timing element to all conversations in nursing units, and this video is full of tips to properly introduce yourself and build a great relationship with the professionals you’ll be working with.

My number one tip for succeeding in clinical is to introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m Alley! I just graduated from nursing school a couple of months ago and I’m about to start my first job on the floor as an ICU nurse. Because I was just in nursing school a couple of months ago, I’m able to look back and realize that I changed a lot in the four years that I was there. I spent two years doing clinical rotations on the floor of the hospital. Now I went into nursing school right out of high school.

I was a pretty shy graduate of high school and I wanted to be a nurse but I didn’t really see myself in the nursing role. So while I went through clinical rotations I changed a lot and I became a lot more extroverted and a lot better suited to the job. So I have my number one tip for becoming that A student in clinical that’s really there for the patients and there to learn and grow.

My number one tip for succeeding in clinical is to introduce yourself. It sounds really simple but it really makes or breaks that first day on the clinical floor. So why is my number one rule, introduce yourself? As a student or a new grad on a brand new floor when you introduce yourself you immediately establish your role in the healthcare team. You start a professional relationship with the person you just introduced yourself to.

When you say, “Hi I’m Alley, I’m a nursing student “and I’m here to help”. It shows that you are ready to do one thing, help. It identifies you as a nursing student. And it shows that you want to get to know other people on the floor. To kind of set the stage of how it feels to be a clinical student, you walk up onto the floor on day one. Your scrubs look different from everybody else. Sometimes they’re different colors on the top and bottom. You really do look like a student to both the people that work there and the patients and the patient’s families. It’s like there’s a spotlight on you or you feel like it when you walk onto the floor.

I believe what separates the A students in nursing clinical from the students that don’t get off on the right foot is the belief that you are a part of the healthcare team as soon as you step onto the floor. Now, this isn’t an arrogant belief. This isn’t me saying that you should feel like a nurse when you’re a nursing student. But you can do a lot to help out on the floor. Even on day one nursing students can usually take vitals and grab things from the supply room to help everybody out. So if you introduce yourself, in a way you are saying I want to be here and I recognize myself as a part of a team. It also just helps not make things awkward.

One thing I learned really quick is people will help you, whether you ask for it or not. You could be in the supply room looking like, “Oh my gosh.” There’s this universal look like, “I don’t know where things are, I don’t know what I’m doing.” And people will help you. They’ll see you in the supply room and go, “Hey, what do you need?” You are assuming that role as the student whether you have introduced yourself or not. Say someone has walked in the supply room and sees you struggling and says, “What are you looking for?” You can do one of two things. You can turn around and go, “I’m looking for the IV start kit”. Or you can turn around and go, “Oh I’m looking for the IV start kit. “I’m Alley from the University of blank. I’m here to help out today”. It’s a little bit more of a mouthful and you have to decide to introduce yourself when you see someone for the first time.

But it really makes a difference. Because whoever just helped you, they may not remember your name but they remember that you introduced yourself to them. And they remember that you give off this vibe that you want to be there, that you want to belong in the puzzle piece of everybody on the floor. I can’t take credit for this rule. My instructor, in I believe my third semester of clinical, kind of laid out that on the first day we had to go introduce ourselves to everybody we saw on the floor. And we had to come back with a list of names of the people that we introduced ourselves to. So there were 10 of us in the clinical group and we all went out and we spent six hours on that floor. And I came back, my sheet of paper had three names. That’s not good. Some students had 10 names, some students had seven, maybe more than 10. There were some outgoing students that really made the most of that request from my instructor.

But what my instructor could see and more importantly what I could see is that I had trouble putting myself out there. So I took that information and decided to totally flip it around and become someone who made themselves known on the floor. I wanted people to know that I wanted to be there. It’s really easy, I feel like students don’t realize it but it’s really easy for students to look like they don’t wanna be there. There’s this kind of hands in the pocket like standing like this, head down. It’s true that your skills are limited on the floor. But good clinical nursing students will realize that you can help out a lot. You can be grabbing things from the supply room. You can be grabbing things for the patient and you could be learning.

So when you introduce yourself to everybody you see, this is the message that you’re saying. You’re saying, “I’m part of the healthcare team.” You’re saying, “I want to be here.” And you’re saying, “I’m not just here to learn, I’m here to help.” Yes, it’s easy to feel like you’re bothering people, whether it’s the patient or the nurse or other professionals on the floor. Yes, it’s easy to feel like you don’t know anything and it’s good to have that humility of I don’t know anything. But it is so easy to fall into the trap of I don’t know anything and I’m not helpful and I’m a burden on this floor.

Use your clinical rotations as your training wheels to being a nurse. Practice your skills like you’re about to be a nurse because you are and practice building those professional relationships by saying no, I am an asset to this floor. I do belong here and I’m gonna have a good time as a part of this team. Introduce yourself, that’s all I gotta say and you’re gonna have a good time as a clinical student. And it’s gonna be a clear path to an A with those professional relationships.

Just get your skills inline, learn how to pass those meds, learn how to start those IVs. That stuff will come but what makes a good nurse is that teamwork on the floor and you can start that even when you’re in the weird scrubs that no one else is wearing. It’ll work out, you can start all this as a nursing student. And you might have fun doing it too. All right y’all, thanks for watching, and if you want more tips on how to go from confused beginner to actual nurse then I’m happy to make more videos on it. Thanks, guys.