Easy, dumb, common new grad mistakes - page 2

by SubSippi | 13,391 Views | 28 Comments

I'm about to start my first real nursing job, and I know that I will forget things, and make some mistakes. I was hoping to start a thread where people could share some common mistakes they've noticed that new grads make. Or just... Read More


  1. 5
    My biggest two bits of advice having just gotten past the "new grad" stage (19 months in now):

    1. Load your pockets before you hit the floor. Alcohol swabs, blunt tips, a couple of flushes in the cargo pocket, pens, maybe a pill splitter and a white board marker. I wasted a LOT of time as a new grad (and a lot of energy) having to run back and forth to get basic supplies because I didn't have them on my person when I needed them. Once I solved this little personal problem my shifts started to get easier on me.

    2. Delegate any time you are able to. You are going to fear doing it. You may even feel like it is just easier to do it yourself. But once I learned to respectfully and appropriately delegate things REALLY started to fall into place.

    In summary - time management is key.
    Carpediem1012, newkidnurse, GrnTea, and 2 others like this.
  2. 6
    You are definitely going to make mistakes. Even seasoned nurses make mistakes. It's inevitable. We're all people. However, a new grad should, theoretically, make a few more. Haha. I think it was my second week as a working RN and I was changing my patient's lines - he had a CVC with pressors and sedation and antiarrhythmics infusing through it. What did I do? I flushed the CVC without pulling back waste to clear the lines. I KNOW I KNOW! Yeah.... so the patient went SUPER hypertensive and brady'ed down into the 20s. Almost had to code the poor guy. That was a hard lesson to learn. But, after that, you can bet your arse I was the most careful and questioning new grad there ever was. Haha. Take it easy, ask questions and admit your mistakes. You'll be fine.
  3. 0
    Mistakes are going to happen, so go easy on yourself when it happens. As a new grad myself I would suggest to ask questions! There is never a dumb question, especially when it comes to patient safety! Things may seem to be overwhelming at times so ask several nurses on your unit for tips on how they are able to handle different situations and how they are able manage their time. You can incorporate their different styles into your own as you start to get your groove and with time things flow a lot smoother. Hang in there!
  4. 5
    Remember to remove the tourniquet after starting an IV. "Gosh it looked so good....I just can't figure out why it isn't dripping better." OOPS!!
  5. 2
    Quote from julz68
    When you hang a piggy back, remember to open the roller clamp!
    That was my first dumb mistake.
    And when you spike IV fluid, make sure your tubing is clamped, so it doesn't prime by gravity, then end up with air bubbles all throughout once you get to the pump and try to prime it again!
    bigsick_littlesick and amoLucia like this.
  6. 0
    Thanks for all the words of wisdom! I'm starting my first job next week and I'm suuuper nervous and excited! I just want to be a good nurse and I hope I can do it!
  7. 8
    Don't unspike a pressure bag while the bag is still inflated. !!!!
  8. 1
    If you need a surgical consent signed for a confused patient, and family is at the bedside, assume the family is leaving in 30 seconds. Grab them ASAP and ask them to wait a few minutes before you lose them and have to track them down by phone.

    I also ask the ER nurse to ask the family to come to the floor for when I get an admit from ER. Families often take off when the patient transfers if not specifically asked to stay. A brief chat with family gives me a clarified understanding of the patient's baseline behavior. For example, I once had a confused but interactive patient suddenly stop eating, talking or even making eye contact. The family (after being contacted) was able to confirm that it was "normal" for him and occurred several times a month for a few days.
    AutumnLeavesRN likes this.
  9. 1
    I just finished my first year and the things that help me most is after loading my pockets with alcohol swabs, flushes, pill splitter and white board marker and getting report is to review the charts, make a brain sheet of meds by time and check boxes next to my "to-do's that also includes finger sticks by time with a space to write the sugar and how much insulin they get next to it, its a great reminder of my to-do;s and i add to it throughout the shift as new orders get written, and i admit is feels great to see things checked off throughout the shift. I use similar strategies on my patient's white boards so they see their plan written out and things checked off, or the list updated. It helps me feel organized, and the patient informed. Once I have my brain sheet, I grab meds and my stethoscope, listen to my patients and do a quick assessment before rounding with the rest of their meds. That gives me a good feel for their status, mental and physical, immediate needs and organize their white boards. Good luck!
    seaghost likes this.
  10. 3
    When you are hanging blood after you prime the tubing don't forget to clamp the tubing attached to the NS. You don't want to get blood in the bag of NS.


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