Tips for nurses in their first year of nursing

  1. 45 Please share any tips you might have for our new nurses. Hopefully, this will become a great resource of nursing tips from all of our experienced nurses from around the globe.
  2. Visit  Brian profile page

    About Brian, ADN

    Brian has '18+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele'. From 'Minnesota'; Joined Mar '98; Posts: 15,299; Likes: 16,275.

    437 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  NursePamela profile page
    30
    Never be afraid to ask questions. If you let people know what you do not know they will be more apt to teach you and nursing is forever a learning field.
  4. Visit  SmilingBluEyes profile page
    479
    Ever have an "I wish I was told this" moment? Well, we all do as nurses regarding school. Here are some things I wish they told me nursing school (and some I wish they had emphasized more)----and what I told another new BSN nurse in a different thread (and it would be the same advice I would give any new nurse/grad):



    You have achieved a great thing, graduating and earning your degree (BSN, ADN , LPN or Diploma). Now, the REAL learning begins......

    Don't ever pretend to know what you don't. Be a sponge---watch and listen to what is going on around you. Take mental notes. Find mentors and emulate their good habits. Take note of the bad habits and avoid those.

    Listen to your patients; they know their bodies better than you do.

    Have integrity----be honest with yourself and others.

    Stay out of the gossip game/circle. It goes nowhere and brings down morale, including your own.

    Be on time! EVERYtime. When you are late, so am I. And I don't like to be late!

    Stay organized as possible. Keep up on your charting and tasks as they come up. Dont' save it all for "later"---there may not be time, "later".

    Do it right the first time, even if there IS "no time". Believe me, there is no time to "Do it over", either.

    Plan for the worst; hope for the best.

    Be someone they can rely on---and rely on yourself!

    Take good care of yourself; eat well, exercise. It's the only body you got and you are gonna need it. Nurture the self. Nurses have a tendency to martyr themselves and neglect their own needs. Don't be one of them; it's a fast superhighway to burn-out.

    Nourish the mind. Plan on spending a LOT of time investing in your continuing education as a nurse. The world of nursing/medicine is changing faster everyday. You are going to have to make a conscious and concerted effort to "stay abreast". It's more work than you imagine right now.....plan on it.

    Learn assertiveness if you have not already. Lots of good books and conferences/seminars exist. Learn early-on you no are NO ONE's doormat. Also, know there is a difference between "assertion" and "aggression".

    Work hard, yes, but don't forget to PLAY hard too! Have hobbies you enjoy. Your life is NOT your work, and while being a nurse is part of who you are, it need not *define* you.

    Believe in your self and good instincts. Sometimes, "instinct" is what lets us know something is amiss or wrong with our patients. Never ignore that gut instinct. It's very often right! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!!

    After 8 years in nursing, these things are things I have learned the "hard way"; hopefully you don't have to.

    Warm, hearty congratulations to you and all new grads here. I wish you all good things in your new careers.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jun 27, '05
    jynxx, Boots RN, yourstrulyjmc, and 476 others like this.
  5. Visit  SmilingBluEyes profile page
    6
    Brian, maybe this should be a STICKY???? I bet lots of good tips will show up here. And new nurses are always joining the boards!
  6. Visit  pedi-RN profile page
    2
    that was great! thank you for sharing it - i think i will share it with my graduating class!

    holli
    jynxx and Mariannsi like this.
  7. Visit  PeachyOrthoRN profile page
    13
    Learn to admit when you have made a mistake, it can get ugly down the road.

    Always, Always ask questions.
    Temeika, ticklemenita, Kricket1017, and 10 others like this.
  8. Visit  Brian profile page
    1
    Sticky it is Great advice SmilingBluEyes!
    ok_girl likes this.
  9. Visit  leslie :-D profile page
    157
    a few more tips:

    - find a mentor- look for advice from a senior rn. this person should be different from your supervisor and can provide a soundingboard, giving you objective advice.

    - don't be too hard on yourself. although exciting, it's also a stressful time. you're going to make misktakes- we all do. what's important is you work to correct those mistakes and learn from it. a sense of humor truly helps.

    - be aware of corporate culture- use all your senses to find out what's accepted in your organization, i.e., patterns of communication, dress codes, etc.

    in choosing your first job, consider:

    1. orientation progtram for the new RN. a strong orientation and preceptorship will be what makes or breaks your 1st job experience, and possibly, even your career in nsg.

    2. policies on continuing ed, including tuition assistance/reimbursement. this policy will also help you understand the employer's views on continuing ed.

    3. work environment & attitudes of potential co-workers. what is your 1st impression of the unit during a walk-through?

    4. nurse-to-patient rations, patient acuity, size of unit, mgmt. structure, staffing mix (rns relative to lpsn and nsg assts), availability of ancillary staff (housekeeping, dietary, unit secretary, maintenance, etc)

    5. availability of mds (esp after hrs), autonomy vs.responsiblity of RNs,type of nsg care delivered (team, primary, etc)

    6. type of work scheduling (weekend programs, M-F, 8-10-12 hr shifts, floating, overtime policy, weekend requirements, holiday requirements)

    7. opportunity for advancement?

    8. salary including shift differentials and cost of living increases.

    9. benefits including vacation time,sick time, childcare, staff health services, parking, cafeteria.

    tips for survival:

    - think before answering
    - take vacations
    - remove energy drainers
    - support co-workers
    - treat yourself
    - avoid aggravating people
    - keep in touch w/yourself and your needs
    - say no w/o guilt
    - ask for help
    - use available resources
    - evaluate your growth and stay focused.
    - re-energize

    we are not superhuman- lest we not forget that. and we are no one's doormat. love yourself enough to avoid ANYONE treating you badly.
    strive to treat each patient as you would yourself or a family member.

    and take a deep breath.

    peacefully,

    leslie
  10. Visit  live4today profile page
    13
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    Ever have an "I wish I was told this" moment? Well, we all do as nurses regarding school. Here are some things I wish they told me nursing school (and some I wish they had emphasized more)----and what I told another new BSN nurse in a different thread (and it would be the same advice I would give any new nurse/grad):



    You have achieved a great thing, graduating and earning your degree (BSN, ADN , LPN or Diploma). Now, the REAL learning begins......

    Don't ever pretend to know what you don't. Be a sponge---watch and listen to what is going on around you. Take mental notes. Find mentors and emulate their good habits. Take note of the bad habits and avoid those.

    Listen to your patients; they know their bodies better than you do.

    Have integrity----be honest with yourself and others.

    Stay out of the gossip game/circle. It goes nowhere and brings down morale, including your own.

    Be on time! EVERYtime. When you are late, so am I. And I don't like to be late!

    Stay organized as possible. Keep up on your charting and tasks as they come up. Dont' save it all for "later"---there may not be time, "later".

    Do it right the first time, even if there IS "no time". Believe me, there is no time to "Do it over", either.

    Plan for the worst; hope for the best.

    Be someone they can rely on---and rely on yourself!

    Take good care of yourself; eat well, exercise. It's the only body you got and you are gonna need it. Nurture the self. Nurses have a tendency to martyr themselves and neglect their own needs. Don't be one of them; it's a fast superhighway to burn-out.

    Nourish the mind. Plan on spending a LOT of time investing in your continuing education as a nurse. The world of nursing/medicine is changing faster everyday. You are going to have to make a conscious and concerted effort to "stay abreast". It's more work than you imagine right now.....plan on it.

    Learn assertiveness if you have not already. Lots of good books and conferences/seminars exist. Learn early-on you no are NO ONE's doormat. Also, know there is a difference between "assertion" and "aggression".

    Work hard, yes, but don't forget to PLAY hard too! Have hobbies you enjoy. Your life is NOT your work, and while being a nurse is part of who you are, it need not *define* you.

    Believe in your self and good instincts. Sometimes, "instinct" is what lets us know something is amiss or wrong with our patients. Never ignore that gut instinct. It's very often right! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!!

    After 8 years in nursing, these things are things I have learned the "hard way"; hopefully you don't have to.

    Warm, hearty congratulations to you and all new grads here. I wish you all good things in your new careers.
    :yeahthat: I couldn't have said this better, Deb. Great job!!!
    Mr I Care, suzi-Q, chappelowgirl, and 10 others like this.
  11. Visit  gerrihorses profile page
    1
    Quote from PeachyOrthoRN
    Learn to admit when you have made a mistake, it can get ugly down the road.

    Always, Always ask questions.

    thanks for that whole bit. I'm a student and that really helps.

    Gerri
    ybq2008 likes this.
  12. Visit  TypicalFish profile page
    2
    in choosing your first job, consider:

    1. orientation progtram for the new RN. a strong orientation and preceptorship will be what makes or breaks your 1st job experience, and possibly, even your career in nsg.

    2. policies on continuing ed, including tuition assistance/reimbursement. this policy will also help you understand the employer's views on continuing ed.

    3. work environment & attitudes of potential co-workers. what is your 1st impression of the unit during a walk-through?

    4. nurse-to-patient rations, patient acuity, size of unit, mgmt. structure, staffing mix (rns relative to lpsn and nsg assts), availability of ancillary staff (housekeeping, dietary, unit secretary, maintenance, etc)

    5. availability of mds (esp after hrs), autonomy vs.responsiblity of RNs,type of nsg care delivered (team, primary, etc)

    6. type of work scheduling (weekend programs, M-F, 8-10-12 hr shifts, floating, overtime policy, weekend requirements, holiday requirements)

    7. opportunity for advancement?

    8. salary including shift differentials and cost of living increases.

    9. benefits including vacation time,sick time, childcare, staff health services, parking, cafeteria.

    tips for survival:

    - think before answering
    - take vacations
    - remove energy drainers
    - support co-workers
    - treat yourself
    - avoid aggravating people
    - keep in touch w/yourself and your needs
    - say no w/o guilt
    - ask for help
    - use available resources
    - evaluate your growth and stay focused.
    - re-energize

    we are not superhuman- lest we not forget that. and we are no one's doormat. love yourself enough to avoid ANYONE treating you badly.
    strive to treat each patient as you would yourself or a family member.

    and take a deep breath.

    peacefully,

    leslie[/QUOTE]

    Leslie
    Help! Hello; I am a 40 yo new grad with 14 years' as a CST but also a few years as a Pharmacy Tech, and monitor tech

    I was recently offered a fellowship at a magnet teaching hospital; it was the only place that made my heart beat faster when I actually thought of working there. The pay is excellent, even though I have to pay for parking. I will work two 12's and two 8's (D/N) for a year, plus classroom; In a year I should be a certified onc. nurse. Everyone there was super-the NM has been there for 30 years. The DON was awesome, and to my great surprise they offered on the spot. Awesome, bright, clean and very positive atsmophere. Great preceptor porgram, sign on bonus, CE support. The drawback is that they are at leasr 1h 20m, if traffic isn't worse than normal; I have three teen sons, one with some learning issues, and one who has been diagnosed with cortical fibrous defect, who also wrestles and will be in AP and honors classes this fall; my youngest will be walking 30minutes to and from middle school by himself(likely with a friend, though)-Is oncology a bad/good place for a new grad to start? No family near by to help, and dh can't be counted on to help-and he is also always at least 1-2.5 hours away.

    I have gotten another offer from the hospital where I used to work for an ICU internship; it pays less but they offer $8/hour for night differential, no sign on bonus, and I don't have to pay to park. It the same old same old there-at least I'd know some of the negative/gossip hounds to avoid. They are also about 30/40minutes from here, even less in off hours. I'd work three 12's D/N-This place has a mediocre rep-they lost accreditation about 4 years ago (they got it back quickly, though); they are trying to turn it around -My interview was a debacle, because the HR person forgot what time she told me to come, and I waited
    1 h 35min before anyone interviewed me;the head nurse couldn't make it, and the education dir had to wing it- but I was impressed by the education director for the ICU-she's really trying to make some positive changes,was very positive and had great organization and I did kind of like the thought of the wide variety of patients/experience I'd get-good for a new grad....

    The first place is my dream job (I think), the second place makes more sense as a working mom, and prolly would be more likely to work-The money is about the same, I just don't want to take the "dream" job farther away and and find out that it just doesn't work with my family etc etc; but neither do I want to take the closer job and feel like I missed a great opportunity-I am really confused....

    So , what do you think?
    linrae1173 and NurseKristiGrif like this.
  13. Visit  leslie :-D profile page
    1
    ok fishy,

    first, congratulations on 2 job offers.
    is the 2nd job offer as an icu nurse/internship?
    if so, that too, is an incredible opportunity.
    don't get hung up with titles of whether it's a magnet hospital or not.
    there is absolutely nothing wrong with being trained to become an onc nurse or an icu nurse- just make sure your orientation is adequate.

    if you use the guidelines i've provided, you should have an idea what you're getting yourself into.
    but being a mom first, i truly don't think you'd be happy with the long commute. you're familiar with the 2nd hospital and again, if you're being trained for an icu nurse, make sure your orientation is long enough. to get an idea, ask the magnet hospital how long their orientations are for icu.

    but for now, i agree....go w/the 2nd job offer.
    regardless of its' reputation, they are trying to improve themselves, the experience will be invaluable and you'll be able to sleep at noc,knowing you're that much closer to home to oversee your boys. after a year, if you're not happy, you can look for greener pastures or even maybe transfer from within the hospital....that you know so well. it just makes more sense at this time, to take job #2.

    best of luck to you.
    i know you'll do wonderfully.

    leslie
    NsgChica likes this.
  14. Visit  TypicalFish profile page
    0
    best of luck to you.
    i know you'll do wonderfully.

    leslie[/QUOTE]

    Thanks, leslie-Your advice makes perfect sense. Thank you for taking the time to reply~Peace and Blessings, Fishy

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