new grads that don'y ask questions

  1. The hospital I work at usually gets new grads in during the month of July. I love seeing them come with their excitement, curiosity, and actually nervousness. Only b/c it keeps me grounded and reminds me of how I felt the first day I stepped on the floor I for one don't mind all the questions (even when they are repeated over and over); it lets me know that the new RN realizes they don't know everything and are smart enough to find out through asking, researching, and asking again. They are (lets be real now) what we call "Fresh Meat"!!
    I have a problem with the new grad that walks in and NEVER asks any questions!!! When you try to explain something to them the space out and/or walk away from you. You guys know what I mean; the know it alls!! These RN's scare me a lot!! As long as I've been a nurse I still learn something everyday; and I sure as heck didn't know "everything" when I got handed my degree and passed my Boards....
    Does anyone else have this problem or feel this way; and what do you do about it?
    I keep notes and report my feelings to the "mgmnt".
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  2. 47 Comments

  3. by   JohnnyGage
    Yes, I've encountered these folks, too. It seems to me that the ones that never ask questions also don't appear very interested in learning anything new -- the don't seem to socialize very well either. In our unit, after orientatino, we set all newbies up with a mentor. Usually this helps them break the pattern of "all-knowingness", but if it doesn't, and they continue in their patterns of not wanting to learn/socialize, we find it best to have a meeting with them and strongly suggest that they think about a different area of nursing. Fortunately, the mentor plan usually works very well. Good luck!
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Why not STIMULATE questions or thought YOURSELF? Maybe they are too scared and/or intimidated to ask. Could that be? How about you take teaching situations and ask critical-thinking questions that stimulate more than "yes" or "no" replies....Such as--- why certain labs are required at certain intervals when patients are on meds such as coumadin....(just a lame example,I work in OB remember). The more you ask and the more complex, the more they will realize they DO NOT KNOW. Dont' you know often that is a defense mechanism of people who are intimidated, to pretend to know what they don't? Where else but in nursing is such a defense often employed cause people are plain ole scared????? You might be missing an excellent opportunity to mentor. (yes I have worked with people like this myself so I know what I am saying)...anyhow...bear with me:

    I remember when I floated to CCU/ICU my first year cause OB was slow....I was so imtimidated and freaked I could not speak. I literally froze solid at the nurses station and did not move a muscle. That is how scared I was! An excellent nurse who knew that area like she knew herself, came over, took me under her wing and took me thru a head- to- toe assessment, including Glasgow scoring , vent settings, you-name-it! Then, she began to ask me questions about the things she was doing and the rationale behind them. ---"why would this be important to do; what kind of information do I get when doing this exam?" etc.-- At first, I would bluff and say I knew but really I did not. She saw through me and would ask MORE questions. It worked.....Then she took me to charts and had me looking up lab tests, their results and helping interpret how they impacted the care those nurses/dr's were giving ICU patients. Well, the more she asked, the more I thought; the more I thought, the more I asked back. It was an EXCELLENT learning opportunity for me and I never forgot it....one this nurse chose not to waste. Yes she was BUSY as HELL and I was about as useful as you-know-what on a bull. However, learned a lot and when told I had to float, I would always request CCU/ICU cause I wanted to learn more.

    Anyhow, this is too long. All I am saying is YOU are the EXPERT in your area...so SHOW IT OFF and be KIND to these new grads and engage them. Easily, that nurse could have said the same about me: "Damn this nurse scares me"!! But instead, she took the high road and the opportunity to stimulate my mind and learning. You could easily do the same, afterall we nurses are the CONSUMATE teachers! Best of luck to you!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Dec 30, '02
  5. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    The ones that dont ask questions Should scare you
    I love having a newbie with me I try to get them into as much as they can handle and let them see just how much they do know and what not to be afraid of. I did have one that didnt ask questions I had to watch her like a hawk. It made my day worse, give me one that rattles off at the mouth anyday. Love someone who is so interested and willing to know everything, I may not know everything but Im sure we can find someone who does.
    Zoe
  6. by   SCB
    If the new nurse will not ask questions, I ask them questions. I do expect them to know, or be willing to learn what is going on with the patient at the anotomical & physiological level.
    How many nurses do we all know who fail to keep up with the knowledge base. There is an art to nursing as well as a science. We don't want or need nurses who just follow MD orders without knowing what they mean and what the patient outcome will be.

    If they don't ask, then ask them.
  7. by   emily_mom
    A new nurse that refuses to ask questions is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
  8. by   Furball
    Many times newbies are ridiculed for their questions. I got my head ripped off because I didn't know platlets could drop bp's. (1 week into orientation or there abouts) I pulled out the blood product protocol and followed it to a tee....made sure we had the proper lab work done, consent signed, ect ect ect......but didn't know about the possibility of hypotension Sorry, I didn't know EVERYTHING...grrrr


    I learned REAL QUICK not to ask certain nurses ANYTHING....not even for a quick boost for a pt who had slid down in bed.. NOTHING NADA ZIPPO

    Thank heavens for the kind souls who do answer legitimate questions.

    It's possible that these newbies had tyranical morons for nursing instructors and now scard to death?

    Can you tell I had a nasty experience in my orientation? I left......
  9. by   Jenny P
    When I work with newbies who don't ask questions, I find my speech slows down and I hear myself asking "do you know what I'm saying?" all of the time. I go into great detail and end up repeating myself several times in different ways in order to help them understand what is going on. Happened last night when I gave report to an on-coming nurse.....

    Of course, I really love it when someone new asks me questions about things. I do love to share my knowledge and teach new things! This also happened last night; but not to someone I gave report to; just a newbie who is smart enough to ASK!.....
  10. by   altomga
    First let me say, I have greatly enjoyed this board, it makes me feel like all my thoughts, feelings, and concerns are shared by others..THANKS!!
    Okay, I definately do ask questions all the times, give them scenario's and try to get them to talk through them so they can see/practice using their critical thinking skills. Our orientation is based on something called PBDS and it's basis is that we ASK QUESTIONS CONSTANTLY! The newbies responsibility is to attempt to answer them or tell us they don't know, but will find out...if they can't find the answer that is when we walk them through it. We do use mentor's; in fact I am one for nights. I attempt to expose the new nurse to everything and verbalize and demonstrate skills, interventions, critical thinking skills they will need on our unit. (I work a step down medical ICU floor that has everything from Vent's, mulitiple gtt's, GIB's, Good Pasteur syndrome pt's, guillian barre, ARDS, etc...you name it we get it.) We typically run our own codes and greatly depend on one another to "back us up"! Those of you who work nights know that you have to depend on the staff that is there; b/c that's all you've got!
    Maybe I do strike some new one's as intimidating; I honestly don't think so, but I will look into that, and some of these newbies are on days and I only see the mess that they leave (blood not given that was ordered at 0900 and more that I am sure your imagination can think of
    Anyway, I appreciate the input; and like I said will make sure I'm not pushing the newbies away with "intimidation" or scaring them more. Some though have simply told me; I already know everything and walk away"...that is a problem.......and yes a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Thanks Guys!!!
  11. by   AHarri66
    You all are correct about the non-questioning grad being a law suit waiting to happen... I had the experience of re-orienting a new grad who appeared to be competent & independent, but who had a role in a patient's death. She had finished her regular orientation, and due to her 'confidence' had everyone thinking she knew what she was doing. She could quote you lab values and physiology like a textbook, but putting it all into practice was another matter. I became her mentor after the incident, and during the first shift with her found many things that she needed guidance with...scary things. Critical thinking skills just weren't present, questions were non-existant, rationales weren't understood...and policies & protocols? Basically ignored. She was very bright, and had graduated from prestigious private college; I just don't know how she made it through her clinical component.

    I tried --and I think succeeded-- in making her comfortable enought to ask me anything, but it took a few private discussions with both me and the DON to make her realize how important questions and double-checking really are.

    I think mentoring programs are a must with any new grad, or even a nurse transfering to another specialty area. We can all use guidance, and we should all be learning every day.

    The day I go to work and I'm not just a bit nervous, is the day I quit and open a flower shop.

  12. by   zudy
    I always try to "think out loud" with the newbies. I always tell "If I repeat something that you already know, don't be offended, but if you don't know something, ask! No one comes into this world wearing scrubs and burkenstocks!" The ones that I had that didn't ask questions simply did not last in the ER.
  13. by   Furball
    Originally posted by zudy
    I always try to "think out loud" with the newbies. I always tell "If I repeat something that you already know, don't be offended, but if you don't know something, ask! No one comes into this world wearing scrubs and burkenstocks!" The ones that I had that didn't ask questions simply did not last in the ER.
    Bingo Zudy! I used to ask my preceptor to please think out loud because that truly stimulated questions that I otherwise wouldn't have thought of to ask.
  14. by   Flo1216
    No one will have to worry about me asking questions. However, some people view this as a sign of weakness and use it against you, as though you are incompetent. For example, I am doing my clinical rotation in the ER and I asked a question about interpreting a rythym strip or something. I know how to read strips, but I am no expert. I mean I just learned it, for crying out loud. Well, this nurse goes to me, " And you're graduating soon,"? and rolled her eyes. I felt that was unnecessary. I find that a lot of nurses don't like to teach or answer questions. I try to stick with the ones who do. I like the ones who quiz me better. It keeps me on my toes.
    Last edit by Flo1216 on Dec 30, '02

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