what I learned my first year as an RN

  1. 1. something all new doctors and nurses learn fairly quickly.. it's a universal law in hospitals... never ever EVER say "slow" in a hospital.. or "quiet"... or "calm".

    2. do not ever say "I don't know what day shift was talking about, he hasn't had a bowel movement all night" because within an hour you will be engulfed by poo...

    3. it is ok to cry after your patient dies.

    4. a wall suction canister works great to drain your Foley bag, especially if you need to walk any distance to dump it and don't walk to wear urine on the front of your scrubs.

    5. there is no "I" in nursing unless you are trying to win a spelling bee.

    6. the opposing shift is not your enemy (see #5).

    7. it is ok to say "I don't know" and usually if you are willing to ask you can find someone who does. always always always put patient safety before your ego.

    8. charting is very very very important.

    9. 'real world' nursing is SO not like Grey's Anatomy or ER. believe it or not, we do NOT have sex in the breakroom, in fact we are too tired from working hard to do anything but eat, pee, and sleep in the breakroom.

    10. we as medical professionals often get so used to being elbow deep in other people's body fluids that we forget that our friends and families might not want to discuss stomach contents, rectal tubes, sputum samples, or spurting arteries over dinner.

    11. always always assume your sedated patient can hear you. also always assume your brain damaged patient can hear you. ALWAYS treat ALL of your patient with respect.

    12. do not ever let a patient die alone.

    13. Vicks Vapor Rub under your nose works great to help with not-so-yummy odors. So does putting a tea bag in your mask before you put it on.

    14. it is entirely normal to hear ventilator, tele, bed, and IV pump alarms in your sleep during your entire first year as a nurse.

    15. use good lotion to keep your hands from getting too dry from all of the alcohol antiseptics we have around.

    16. a good stethoscope and comfortable shoes and scrubs are worth their weight in gold.

    17. ask for help (see #5).

    18. if you are caught up ask your coworkers if they need help (see #5).

    19. when you have an opportunity to learn something new, take it. (see #5)

    20. when you have an opportunity to teach something to new, take it. (see #5)

    21. if you clean your stethoscope with a bleach wipe after using it on a patient with c.diff make SURE you let it dry before you put it around your neck again... and after you've accidentally bleached your scrubs once or twice you'll never forget again.

    22. nursing is an art, science, way of life, and a privilege. HAPPY NURSES WEEK!
    Last edit by nursgirl on May 12, '11
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    About nursgirl

    Joined: Jan '09; Posts: 130; Likes: 166
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Critical Care, Operating Room


  3. by   reddellrn
    I love this, it's so true!
  4. by   bsyrn
    Excellent post...Thanks
  5. by   Witty3RN
    I love it -- great post
  6. by   learning&yearning
  7. by   futureRN_Anastasia
    Thank you for sharing!
  8. by   royhanosn
    surprising the number of people, that see TV medical shows are the REAL thing. First thing I learn being first year RN...keep your mouth shut and LEARN. You got the text book stuff, now its real world.
  9. by   hecallsmeDuchess
    Well, I slightly disagree with #9. Recent breakroom rumors have it that some coupling (between staff) has been going on in some dark rooms at night.

    Happy Nurses' week to you too!
  10. by   pinkstethoscope
    Awesome post, thank you!!!
  11. by   supermotojen
    I am not yet a nurse, but I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing, happy nurses week!!!
  12. by   hiddencatRN
    Quote from nursgirl

    9. 'real world' nursing is SO not like Grey's Anatomy or ER. believe it or not, we do NOT have sex in the breakroom, in fact we are too tired from working hard to do anything but eat, pee, and sleep in the breakroom.
    Yeah, for some reason, thinking of all the germs floating around in the hospital keeps my libido in check pretty well during work. I have a hard time thinking of a LESS sexy place!

    I love your list. Spot on.
  13. by   NurseNathalie
    Nice list! This is SOOOOOO true!!
    Happy nursesday!!!:heartbeat
  14. by   tiredstudentmom
    Thanks for posting this! Still want to become a nurse!