I am a final year nursing student, I have been placed in the ED for the next 4 weeks. The only other nursing work I have done prior to this is aged care. Yesterday was my first day and I felt so under prepared it wasn't funny. The nurses were great and I spent most of the day observing and asking questions. I enjoyed the day but felt like I could never imagine myself being as knowledgable and experienced as those nurses, I felt like the only thing I knew how to do was take vital signs (and even then I became a nervous wreck and it seemed to take me forever to complete). I guess nerves are getting the better of me and i'm definitely feeling a bit lost. What is your advice for somebody new to ED, I really want to make the most of these 4 weeks and learn as much as I can.
Jan 6, '14
((HUGS)) the ED is an overwhelming environment. Ask to do procedures ask to put in foleys. Ask to go with patients to tests. Be helpful, eager. Write down all your questions and set aside a time with your preceptor to ask them or come and ask here. Watch the codes. I am curious what level ED is this? Community or university?
Jan 6, '14
Thanks Esme, It is a busy country ED. I'm sure as the days go on I will feel more confident but right now i'm definitely feeling like a fish out of water.
Jan 6, '14
Ask, take notes, take the time to look around, familiarize yourself with supplies, locations of crash carts, the trauma rooms, volunteer to do stuff and ask if you don't know. If anyone is condescending or mean, remember, it is not you; it is them. Everyone is a beginner at first and you will never have all the answers and only a fool would think he does. Good luck. I hope you have an amazing ED experience.
Jan 6, '14
First congrats. Seond, my suggestion is don't be intimidated. Ok, everyone is intimidated to some degree when they are first in the ED. What I mean is resist the urge to step back and watch, try to think of what you know you can do, what you can do to help. Like other said, ask questions, and if there are assessments to do, go do them. If you aren't sure all that needs to be assessed, ask or follow someone so you can do the assessment next time. The sooner you start getting your feet wet, the more you will learn and grow and find the ED can be a fun and exciting place to apply your knowledge and grow.
Jan 7, '14
Be proactive. Ask a lot of questions and don't be afraid to "get in there." I see way too many nursing students just standing against a wall because they feel out of place. I completely understand that they want to stay out of the way, but you're there to learn. Most nurses at my facility are happy to answer questions. But if you seem timid or disinterested you won't get the best out of it.
Also, I find it very nice when a nursing student introduces him or herself to all the nurses in the area at the beginning of the shift. Nurses would definitely welcome you if you said something like, "Hi my name is XXX I'm a nursing student and I'm here until 7pm. Let me know if I can help you with anything." We had one student like this and I was so grateful for her. She could assist with all the little tasks that no one else had the time for. One patient needed a PO trial but she seriously had to be spoon fed. I didn't have 10+ minutes to sit there and help her with her meal tray, so I asked the nursing student to help and it was a lifesaver!
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