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Nursing Student's Lack of Confidence

The increasing clinical nursing demands that students face today, as they move from the classroom to real-life patient care, can be scary for students. Not to mention, how the lack of self-confidence plays a role in self-doubt. As a clinical instructor, I see this everyday where students with the mere thought of asking the patient a question or attempt to go into the patient's room causes a compounding level of anxiety. Should students receive a "self-care" as part of their nursing education? Should more focus be placed on building and promoting the student's self-confidence in order to reduce the possibility of hindering the student's ability to use the newly acquired classroom knowledge into practice?

As clinical nursing instructors, we must be cognizant of how the student behaves in the clinical setting, and recognize symptoms that may affect the student's ability to manage different patient situations. In recognizing these symptoms early, we can promptly tackle the problem with uplifting words of encouragement that can help reverse the student's negative perception of the clinical setting, hence allowing confidence to build. It is normal for students to feel nervous, but it is important for them to learn that being confident in the clinical environment is not learned in the classroom, but acquired during the hands-on clinical environment. Clinical instructors can also help build clinical confidence by using different learning strategies, modeling expected behaviors, and guiding the student through a series of patient simulation scenarios that can give the student a bird's eye view of what they may expect.

The point is to provide the student with the ability to "preview" behaviors, as this will take away some of the "unknown" that the student is not confident enough to handle.

Lundberg, K. (2018). Promoting self-confidence in clinical nursing students. Nurse Educator, 33(2), pp. 88-89.

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