Where to get the most experience an a new RN?

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    What steps should I take to gain the most experience and competency during my first year as an RN? My areas of interest are ER, ICU med/surg but I want to have a comfortable transition into it, if at all possible. I will sit for the NCLEX-RN this summer and will have completed ACLS (all through an ADN program). I'm 22 y/o, live in Kansas, and am excited to start my career as a nurse. Any of your shared wisdom would really be appreciated and taken into consideration. Thanks!!
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    ER is mostly what I think is the best learning experience.
    I'm not sure if a lot of hospitals do hire new grads, so start with anything you can find, and then transition..

    A good nursing skills base will help you out anywhere really...
    Da-ved likes this.
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    Medical for sure. I did my first year on there and you learn and see a lot. Actually it was in kansas too.
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    The best learning experience will be the department/area that is most prepared to help you with your transition into the working environment.

    It is not just about 'tasks'. Higher-tech areas may have more tech toys, but this is not what nursing is about. The most important outcomes of your new grad orientation will be your ability to actually apply all that 'stuff' you learned about (and hoped never to see again) such as critical thinking, delegation, time management, communication & dealing with conflict. These are core skills that are essential for nursing practice in ANY clinical specialty in any setting.
    Da-ved and Flatlander like this.
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    The best ER nurses started out on the floor, learning the big pic, and the reasons why we do what we do... IMO.
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    The hospital that I work at does not hire new grads for ER or CCU/ICU. They want at least 2 years experience. I eventually want to work in CCU, as a new grad myself, I am starting off on the medical unit. I'm actually in general orientation right now and start on the floor next week. Good luck to you!
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    I see, that's exciting! I hope you have/find a good mentor (that's a whole new topic in itself).
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    I agree with you about the technology. I've learned by observing, that experienced nurses base their actions on assessing the patient first and not the monitor. Good advice throughout
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    I've been on a general surgery floor (we also take medicine and trauma overflow) for 7 months now, and I have learned SO much. As a new grad, it really teaches you how to prioritize and become organized; it's extremely hectic and overwhelming at times, but it really helps you establish your practice and start to learn the ropes. I call my floor "the floor before the door," because we usually send people home; however, you learn quickly what signs to look for that indicate when someone is deteriorating. You learn when to get a stat workup for a temperature and when you need to just remind that patient that they need to use their incentive spirometer. It's little things, and most of the time, I still feel like I don't know anything! I highly recommend teaching hospitals if possible; you see a lot, and they're usually pretty awesome about guiding new grads along. Good luck to you!


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