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10 Things I Didn't Learn in Nursing School


superhero nurse rectangle magnetLet’s face it. You finished nursing school and now you got your first big job.You’re feeling good about yourself... on top of the world. As the weeks start to pass, you start thinking that you missed the "survival skills" class during your college career.

We've rounded up a few Nebraska Methodist College grads to give some (humorous) input about what they didn't learn in nursing school.

How to survive the night shift.

You never knew how little sleep you can survive on until you work the night shift. Sleep schedules are constantly being turned around. You do a ton of “snacking” all night to keep yourself awake. It’s not all about giving people their pills and tucking them in—crazy stuff happens at night! It’s bizarre to want to go get a nightcap with your co-workers at 8 am.

“Gross Story” Etiquette.

Unless you are surrounded by other nurses or healthcare professionals at all times, it is typically not okay to discuss all the gross things you see at work on a daily basis. We just assume everyone else thinks those gross things are acceptable dinner conversation.

Never buy white shoes. Ever!

I still think it is crazy they require nursing students to wear white shoes in the messiest profession around. When you are dealing with the kind of “clean-ups” nurses deal with daily, the last thing you want is a pair of bright white tennis shoes. The all white uniforms still baffle me!

Bladder control.

It is not unrealistic to hold my bladder for 6-12 hours a day. Seriously… a nurse never has time to pee. There should be bladder training programs in nursing school. 

How to eat on the go.

Nurses don’t get to eat or drink either- which is good for the above bladder issues. You have to learn to eat a bite here, a saltine there- just to keep your blood sugar up. 

It's dark in there.

Often times you need a flashlight when putting in a catheter.

Nurses eat their young...kind of. 

It's not really true in the sense that everyone thinks. Nurses don’t have TIME to eat their young. We have time for working as a team, caring for our patients and a whole lot of charting. If other nurses can’t keep up, well, the ship is sailing without them.

Gas Mask Etiquette.

Often times when you're inserting a suppository, a patient will pass gas in your face. It took me awhile to figure out how maintain my composure and not let my gag reflex take over.

Personality Disorder.

It's just general knowledge that you're going to deal with different people with different personalities. But being able to work with grouchy doctors with multiple personalities is something that takes fine practice. You have little contact with REAL doctors in school so I was quickly surprised by the working relationships I would form with them.

Making a Difference.

We all know that we will make a difference in our patients' lives. But until you really feel that and see it in their eyes, you just can't teach it in a classroom.  

No nursing school can teach students what it's like to live nursing every day. Nurses are lifetime learners and continue to build on their knowledge base. Nurses see it all but it takes a career to do it.


Thank you to Jillian Plymesser, BSN, RN, Kristin Markel, BSN, RN and Annie Bowman, MA, BSN, RN for contributing.

Nebraska Methodist College Holds Unique Perspective in the Wellness World


describe the imageIn an effort to control costs and improve public health, the culture of our nation’s healthcare is changing from one of treatment to one of prevention. That same attitude is being adopted across the country by companies that are feeling the bite of health insurance premiums into their profits and organizations that are seeing preventable diseases taking significant tolls on their communities.

As an organization, Nebraska Methodist College is no different than companies from the corporate sector. We have the same goals to keep our workforce healthy and well. But as a college, we have the opportunity to not only practice workplace wellness but we also educate the future health promotion professionals.

So what is a health promotion manager?

This emphasis on prevention has created demand for health promotion managers who are responsible for designing and overseeing wellness programs and initiatives in corporate, public and nonprofit settings.

In a corporate setting, a health promotion manager might lead an employee wellness program. Wellness programs aim to reduce healthcare costs, improving a company or organization’s bottom line. The programs also work to ensure a happy, healthy workforce, which can have a number of positive effects on productivity.

In public and nonprofit settings, a health promotion manager could be responsible for overseeing a publicly- or grant-funded initiative focused on improving public health in their community. Such initiatives have become common across the nation targeting health concerns such as obesity and diabetes, among others.

How We Do Wellness

Nebraska Methodist College has implemented one of the more successful wellness programs in the country, according to the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). The WELCOA Well Workplace Awards recognize companies nationwide for quality and excellence in worksite health promotion.

WELCOA designated Nebraska Methodist College a Platinum Well Workplace, the highest level of recognition. Thirty seven organizations earned the Platinum distinction nationwide this year. NMC, the only Nebraska college to earn the platinum designation, was one of the first three in the nation to earn the platinum award with its inception in 2001.

See the video shown during the 2013 WELCOA Well Workplace Awards Luncheon:

Health Promotion Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health promotions employment opportunities are expected to grow by 37 percent over the next decade, out pacing many other careers. Careers in health promotion range in pay. Here are some examples of average salaries for jobs in health promotion:

  • Health and wellness coaches — $41,000

  • Wellness program consultants — $61,000

  • Wellness program specialists/coordinators — $65,000

  • Wellness program directors — $70,000

Health Promotion Education Options

Nebraska Methodist College’s Health Promotion Management online master’s program prepares students for a variety of careers in health promotion. The program combines health and wellness concepts with theories in business and human relations principles, financial, organizational, management and communications.

health promotion degreeThat’s because health promotions managers need to be well rounded. They are expected to be able to implement wellness programs for both individuals and large groups. They also need an understanding of how their programs affect a company’s bottom line in order to make the case for their work from a business perspective to the CEO.

NMC students who earn a degree in health promotion management learn how to assess wellness situations in any environment. They can implement programs, demonstrate to management measurable and beneficial changes in employee wellness to have a direct impact on an organization's bottom line.

NMC’s Health Promotion Management program is flexible, allowing students to balance education with their personal and professional lives. Courses are five weeks long, with one week off before the start of another course. The program, which requires 33 total credit hours, can be completed in as little as 16 months.

What is a surgical tech?


what is a surg tech imageToday’s surgeons perform advanced procedures that save lives in ways we may have never thought possible years ago. But surgeons can’t do it alone.

So what is a surgical tech?

At the surgeon’s side is the surgical technologist, more commonly known as surgical tech. Surgical techs are the right-hand person of surgeons in the operating room. They set up the operating room for surgical procedures, making sure that all needed tools and equipment are available and working properly. Surgical techs then assist surgeons during surgery, doing everything from handing them instruments to cleaning and closing wounds.

Being a surgical tech can be fun and exciting, but it may not be for everyone. The job in many cases is not for people squeamish at the sight of blood. While some surgeries are routine, others can be stressful situations demanding quick and efficient work in order to help save a life. However, the job is equally rewarding to know that you have helped to make a difference in someone’s life.

“You may be doing surgery on a patient who has a brain tumor, and it is a great feeling when the surgeon is able to successfully remove the patient’s tumor allowing them to lead a normal life,” says Christy Grant, Nebraska Methodist College Surgical Technology program director. “Knowing that you had part in that procedure and made a difference for that patient is amazing.”

Surgical Tech Skills Needed

  • Composure --Working in an OR can be a highly stressful. The ability to maintain  calm and composed in high-pressure environments will help you be successful in this career.

  • Endurance -- as part of a surgical team, surgical technologists need to be comfortable standing on their feet for an extended period of time and have the ability to work quickly and accurately for long hours.

  • Details oriented -- Surg techs need to have the ability to pay close attention at all times to ensure procedures are performed safely and efficiently.

What is a surgical tech's salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median surgical tech salary in the U.S. in 2010 was $39,920 per year, with an average projected job growth until 2020 of 28 percent. Demand for surgical techs varies from area to area, but currently, the job is in high demand in the Omaha area with many job postings available.

Nebraska Methodist College’s Surgical Technology program offers students small class sizes that allow students more one-on-one learning opportunities with instructors. The program has affiliations with nearly every institute in Omaha to give students the chance to get a wide variety of experience in surgical specialties.

Nebraska Methodist College’s Surgical Technology program also has a 100-percent employment rate. Students often get jobs either before or soon after graduation.


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