The First Year Newbie Nurse Survival Plan

  1. 19
    Being a new nurse is freaking scary. All the time you spent binge drinking coffee, cramming for tests and memorizing lab values seem so heavenly and pleasant in retrospect, for once you pass your state board exams and set off into reality, thats the actual tough part.
    After 2pm tomorrow, I have officially 3 more shifts at my job before I hang up my stethoscope, and try some new adventures for a bit. This doesn't end my nursing career by any means, I am just taking a small hiatus to travel, and enjoy being young - for if this job taught me one thing, it taught me to enjoy life while you can, because getting old and sick is super lame. This also means that my last day will mark one year of employment with one of the more challenging nursing facilities in my neck of the woods.. One year may not sound like much, but to me it is a major accomplishment, as I had found days where I wanted nothing less than to crawl into a soft cozy blanket cave, and stay there for days, eating ice cream and crying in the dark.
    In this year I have learned SO Much. Things that school was completely wrong about, and things that were spot on.
    Here is what I can tell you from my experiences:

    Doctors aren't all total A-Holes! In fact, as long as your efficient and nice, they're usually okay, Its the mean tired nurses you gotta worry about, they do eat their young, but not before stalking the hunt for weeks behind the victim's backs, then shredding them into pieces out in a desert safari.

    There is never enough time in your day. Ever. and you will never finish all your work. so quit trying. You will probably forget to drink water, eat, use the bathroom, or stop running for like the first 9 hours of your shift, and whatever youre scheduled to work, expect to stay about 1-2 hours past that, and you still wont finish. Oh and your scheduled "Days off" will be filled with calls from work, trying to take away your day off.

    You should probably get a sleeping pill prescription. Ambien is a beautiful thing, but the $2 "Sleep Aid" works just fine.

    Poo Happens. Alot.and Puke and Pee and Bedsores and Skin Tears and G-Tube intestinal fluid explosions.

    Many-a- Laughs will be laughed,
    so lighten up and retain your humor with every day. It will get you very far.

    Many a tears will be shed, so dont wear mascara, and dont think it's a bad thing to breakdown into a waterfall of sobs to your boyfriend at 12AM, hopefully he's nice like mine

    They can try and try, but Nursing Home food will never taste good. Especially Puree Ham Sandwiches.

    Sometime's your patience will wear so thin, that you need to step outside and breath, or shout into a pillow, or smoke a cigarette once in a blue moon, even if you dont smoke. Call me crazy but sometimes all you need is Three Words: After Work Cocktail.

    Death isn't as scary and sad as you'd think it to be, in fact, at times, it really is a beautiful release and a happy thing for many. I have experienced so many eerie, magical events happen before/during/immediately after a patient's death that it's made me reconsider alot about our existance on earth. and when people say "I just dont wanna die alone" Trust me, chances are you probably will, I think some people end up choosing it that way, and its not necessarily a bad thing.

    Buy good shoes. The uglier the better!!! Just do it. Those ugly shiny clogs are just perfect. Pink Snakeskin, Breast Cancer Ribbons, Whatevs! Your knees, back and feet are about to be sore and ruined for the rest of your life, so try to slow the process a little bit.

    Just Listen
    . Over and Over again on NCLEX questions, class exams, lectures, They told us, when a patient is talking, the best thing you can do is just listen. It sounds easy enough. Just do it! Even if your rushed, which you wil be, dont scramble for quick answers to problems, or ways to solve their emotional hardships, just sit down and dont say a word. They will do all the talking for you. They might cry, or yell, or whatever, but sometimes all they need is for one single person to just give them time to sort things out.
    and lastly:

    TRUST NO ONE. Seriously. Friendships in the workplace can ease the pain, but when there is a bunch of high stress women in a big room together, it is a big recipe for drama. Dont trust anyone else with your keys, dont tell anyone anything personal, dont add any coworkers on facebook, just do your work thing, and keep the rest of your life separate. It has been the best decision I have made this whole year. I have seen employees get girls "they dont like" fired, Narcotic Diversions, Marriages have split up, Cat fights have happened in the middle of the hall. All things I have had the pleasure of staying way out of. As if your job isnt hard enough, you dont need that extra Bologna. Just do your job, and leave.
    krazieklutz03, nurse8019, NurseJoy33, and 16 others like this.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Thanks for all th advice - great stuff!
    jjklpn likes this.
  5. 3
    Good advice for the years FOLLOWING the first one, too!!!!! I would emphasize the advice to keep your sense of humor. When someone says, you gotta laugh or you'd cry, they are telling the truth!!! Also keep your wits about you, don't let another nurse or other staff member get to you. Think before you speak. You can't pull words back after they pop out and you can do much damamge to yourself and others by not being careful. jmho
    NurseJoy33, jjklpn, and i<3u like this.
  6. 3
    I might add:

    Admit that you dont know everything. Ask questions, bring in fellow nurses to help you figure things out. The worst situation is being in too deep and not knowing who or how to ask for help.
    NurseJoy33, MeshiablessedRN, and jjklpn like this.
  7. 0
    I am about to enter nursing school but I like to read WAY AHEAD when I do something. Thank you so much for this amazing and well-written advice. I will read it over-and-over-and-over! Thanks again!!!
  8. 1
    SO SO TRUE ABOUT :

    Its the mean tired nurses you gotta worry about, they do eat their young, but not before stalking the hunt for weeks behind the victim's backs, then shredding them into pieces out in a desert safari.
    beeker likes this.
  9. 0
    Thank you for posting this! I loved it!

    Have a lot of fun with traveling. It's nice that you are taking time to enjoy yourself and your time.
  10. 4
    Quote from CaseyColorado

    Doctors aren't all total A-Holes! In fact, as long as your efficient and nice, they're usually okay, Its the mean tired nurses you gotta worry about, they do eat their young, but not before stalking the hunt for weeks behind the victim's backs, then shredding them into pieces out in a desert safari.
    Doctors, who are mostly men, think in a more linear fashion. You take care of business, that's all they ask. Nurses, mostly women, are way too complicated. Any little thing, any perceived slight can earn a grudge against you. Hell, if you are perceived as different from them, they will tear you apart. If you are seen as smarter, or nicer than them, heaven help you. Sometimes I wish I were a man, because I think more like one.

    TRUST NO ONE. Seriously. Friendships in the workplace can ease the pain, but when there is a bunch of high stress women in a big room together, it is a big recipe for drama. Dont trust anyone else with your keys, dont tell anyone anything personal, dont add any coworkers on facebook, just do your work thing, and keep the rest of your life separate. It has been the best decision I have made this whole year. I have seen employees get girls "they dont like" fired, Narcotic Diversions, Marriages have split up, Cat fights have happened in the middle of the hall. All things I have had the pleasure of staying way out of. As if your job isnt hard enough, you dont need that extra Bologna. Just do your job, and leave.
    This is a lesson I learnt the hard way. I should also add, it's good to ask for help, but do so wisely. If you have questions, exhaust all resources before you ask your preceptor. Find a trusted nurse and ask them any questions you have. Especially if you have a witch for a preceptor. If you are unsure of how to do a procedure, keep your skills lab check off list and memorize it. Don't let anyone see you sweat. You may be a new grad, but they don't care. It's sink or swim, even in a supportive environment.
    NurseJoy33, MeshiablessedRN, i<3u, and 1 other like this.
  11. 2
    As a new grad about to complete my first whole year as a nurse, I find a lot of this information accurate and helpful.

    However, the last section about trusting no one makes me somewhat sad. I will start off by saying I agree to never lend anyone your keys/passwords/whatever it may be. Also, while I am busy at work I like to focus on work alone, and leave the chit-chat to before/after my shift and during breaks. But, I have found some lasting friendships with several of the women that I work with. Most of my co-workers and myself know about eachother's families, when they buy a new house, get a dog, where they're going on vacation, when one of their children went to prom, etc. Of course there is the usual mild workplace drama, but I have NEVER seen a cat fight happen at work, let alone in the middle of the hall. It embarrasses me to know that professional, grown men and women, there are nurses behaving in that manner. As nurses the actions we make represent not only ourselves, but our entire workforce. I can not imagine what it would be like to work in that type of environment.

    All I can think is, it's no wonder why you are leaving.....
    That Guy and Miss Lizzie like this.
  12. 0
    Thank you for posting this!


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