Things you wish you knew as a new RNRegister Today!
- by mofomeat Aug 13, '12Hi folks...
For both new grads and seasoned nurses, what are some things about the day-to-day job you wish you knew when you first started? How about things that you wish you knew better?
And for seasoned nurses who have had to train new grads, what are some things you wish new grads had a better grasp on, or at least had SOME understanding of when they started?
This would include academic subjects to experience to attitude to interpersonal relationships. Skills, knowledge, all that. Thanks!
- Aug 13, '12 by mustlovepoodlesWhat I wish I knew then...that my feet are my biggest asset. I wish I had known how important taking care of my feet should be. I wish I had worn good shoes with arch support from Day 1. I wish I hadn't ignored the pain in my feet until I had incurred permanent damage. If I had taken better care of my feet when I was younger, perhaps I wouldn't be nearly disabled by severe arthritis in my feet now.
- Aug 14, '12 by mofomeatQuote from mustlovepoodlesI just learned this lesson recently. I'm on my feet all day in my current job for 10 hours, and it started getting where 10 was tough without a rest. Then 8, then 6. Losing weight didn't help as much as I had hoped. Last week I broke down and bought the best set of boots they had at the shoe store. They cost me almost $200. I'll be eating beans and potatoes for a few weeks now, but hopefully my feet will be ok.What I wish I knew then...that my feet are my biggest asset. I wish I had known how important taking care of my feet should be. I wish I had worn good shoes with arch support from Day 1. I wish I hadn't ignored the pain in my feet until I had incurred permanent damage. If I had taken better care of my feet when I was younger, perhaps I wouldn't be nearly disabled by severe arthritis in my feet now.
- Aug 14, '12 by RNsRWeI wish new grads would remember that there's more than one way to skin a cat---the seasoned nurse that "doesn't do it the way we learned in school" isn't necessarily wrong. Open your eyes and LEARN.
I wish when I was a new nurse I paid more attention to body dynamics and remembered NOT to haul Patient Jumbo up off the floor when I really should have let someone stronger take the lead. My back pain and injuries are mine to keep long after Jumbo goes home.
I wish new grads would remember that it's a 24-hour-a-day job, and that something left undone can be picked up by the next shift. But I ALSO wish all nurses would remember that this doesn't mean leaving something or lots of somethings EVERY shift ALWAYS.
I wish new nurses didn't roll their eyes at the seasoned nurse who points out something the new nurse isn't doing well, or could be doing better. I wish the seasoned nurses didn't roll their eyes every time they found they had to tell a new nurse something. We all have to learn sometime.
- Aug 14, '12 by blondy2061hI wish I had known that mistakes sometimes happen no matter how careful you are, and that if you don't "freak" and stay calm you can do better damage control. I remember as a new grad something would happen that is relatively minor (say, forgetting to draw a tube with the blood draw) and I would flip, be upset, and go tell the patient, "OMG, I'm so sorry, I need to stick you again! It's my fault!" No I know enough to calm down, call the lab and ask to see if it can be added on to a different tube, or ask the doctor if it can be done with the next scheduled blood draw. Even if I would need to stick the patient again, if I just calmly said, "I'm sorry we need another tube" it goes a lot better than going in in a panic. And that's just one example.
- Aug 18, '12 by mofomeatGreat comments everyone. I ask these questions because I hope to be a better new grad someday.
- Aug 18, '12 by TarabaraStill a new grad but I would say I am so so glad I had a wonderful preceptor who would always remind me that I am only one person, I can only do so much. Now whenever I feel overwhelmed I just stop for a second and tell myself "I am only one person" and then prioritize.
- Aug 19, '12 by Ruby VeeWhat a great idea for a thread!
I'll second the "take care of your feet" sentiment. It's worth spending the money for expensive shoes that will be supportive and prevent foot discomfort and injuries. Good shoes will also be worth the investment because they'll save your back and knees. Get two pairs and rotate them -- they'll last a good deal longer and cost less in the long run. I wish I'd known this 35 years ago!
Protect your back and your knees. Advice I personally could have made use of.
If you choose to work in a facility that is open 24/7/365, you will be expected to be available to work your shifts 24/7/365. Don't be the new nurse who starts her job by demanding seven of the next weekends off for the weddings of friends, don't be the one who objects to working holidays and accept that nights are usually part of the deal. Questions about how you deal with missing weddings, family celebrations and holidays are better received than questions about how you get out of working. And questions about how to make sure you stay healthy while working nights are better received (both here and in real life) than questions about how to get out of working nights.
Make sure your car is in good working order and has decent tires. If you live in the snow belt, make sure you know how to drive in the snow. If you live in the hurricane regions, make sure you have a plan for your pets, children and/or elderly parents because you will be expected to work.
Learn to take criticism, however ineptly delivered. Both online and in real life, you'll sometimes get criticism you're positive is unfair and inaccurate. Take the time for some healthy self-examination to make sure you're not missing a nugget of truth in criticism you're tempted to dismiss because you don't like the delivery.
You don't have to be a great nurse in your first year or three. In fact, you almost certainly won't be. It's all but impossible to be great at anything without experience. Strive instead to be competent and to learn something new every shift. That's an attainable goal.