What's your best 'Nurse Hack'?

  1. I'm a soon-to-be new grad RN (only 29 days!! woo-hoo!) and I am curious to know from the seasoned working nurses: What is your best 'nursing hack' or advice for a baby nurses like me?
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  2. 111 Comments

  3. by   JBMmom
    Congratulations on (almost) reaching the end of your journey, best of luck in your career. Your question is quite vague, and I think that much of the advice people might have is specific to a work environment. Certainly if you end up in long-term care you're going to have a very different set of skills you're using than if you're in an ICU setting. If you're already planning on applying to a specific area you might ask for tips in that realm. And I'm sure you didn't mean that you want to cut corners in your career, but when I hear the work "hack" I think- way to get around the right way with something that just gets by. Just my opinion. And I'm not trying to be condescending in any way, but I don't think you should refer to yourself as a "baby nurse", you're going to be a professional and you're going to be just fine after you've got some experience, you're in no way a baby (that's just a term that gets under my skin).
    Last edit by JBMmom on Nov 17 : Reason: grammar
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from JBMmom
    And I'm sure you didn't mean that you want to cut corners in your career, but when I hear the work "hack" I think- way to get around the right way with something that just gets by. Just my opinion.
    The first thing I thought of was "hacking" PEG tubing to fit an IV line.
  5. by   Rachelshphrd
    Congrats!! I bet u could find things on YouTube that people have posted about what they do to make their life more simple as a nurse and as Least Complicated as possible. I love going on there. Lots of good suggestions. Good luck.
  6. by   HermioneG
    Quote from JBMmom
    And I'm not trying to be condescending in any way, but I don't think you should refer to yourself as a "baby nurse", you're going to be a professional and you're going to be just fine after you've got some experience, you're in no way a baby (that's just a term that gets under my skin).
    I call myself a baby nurse because I'm a New Grad, and I've heard that word used a lot on my unit. And its accurate.. especially the other day out in the ambulance bay during a disaster drill when I was trying to navigate an empty gurney that was gaining speed and I couldn't seem to get it under control. My preceptor called out across the ambulance bay "what are you doing, girl?! Put it on steer!! You look silly!!!" Oops... I still get really excited and wide eyed about everything, fumble around awkwardly a lot, and get weirdly proud when I'm able to find a commode for my patient all by myself while managing, for the first time ever, to not get lost or locked out of the supply closet. My preceptor still gives me pep talks in the morning (you CAN do this, today WILL be a good day) and I'm finally able to keep my cool and not get giggly or nervous while trying to overhead a message. When I went to go help on a trauma one preceptor said it was an emotional moment because it was like seeing his kid skip out onto the playground by themselves for the first time and it made him proud because he can see my growth. Sorry it gets under your skin but I love it and am happy to be called a baby nurse. It encourages me to be easy on myself, and allow myself to make mistakes and be awkward and learn

    You're going to REALLY hate this but the other new grads and I are transitioning into the "tween" years. We're getting our own groove of how we do things, crave more independence, and look forward to "adulthood" and flying the nest hahaha.

    Anyways, I know that wasn't the point of your post at all, but I wanted to share some different perspective on it!

    OP.. Not really a "nurse hack" (depends on where you'll be) but be open minded and pay attention when people teach you. Be appreciative, say hello and good morning to everyone not just nursing staff, and tell people thank you. Use people's names as much as you can. People like to know that you care enough to learn their names. I would say even if you've never been introduced and know their name, use it anyway. They'll be more prone to notice/remember you. Always show your appreciation and help others whenever you have the chance. If I'm caught up and I see someone's patient needs a bed pan, needs a warm blanket or to be cleaned up, needs labs pulled and collected, or a trip to the bathroom I always offer as much as I can. Show others that you're willing to help with everything, not just the "cool" or fun things.
  7. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Time management; time management, time management!!!

    Learning to prioritize and delegate and multitask- that is a huge part of nursing that you DON'T learn in clinicals, but it's invaluable- actually, more like absolutely necessary- in real life nursing.

    The only way you can learn it is by watching some of your more experienced nurses, and seeing how they structure their shifts, and then trying to model it yourself. Be sure to let your preceptor know this is a skill that's important to you and you'd love to see how he/she does it. Maybe even ask for a copy of his/her "brain sheet" (every nurse has one!)

    And always having some kind of "plan", like the "brain sheet" I mentioned earlier where you have all of your patients written down, along with the hours they get meds, when their treatments are, when their pain meds or blood sugars or whatever other things might be due. Also try to determine which are your "sickest" patients and go assess them first, even though it's scary!! Because if you catch something small with them early in your shift, it will be a LOT easier to deal with than if it blows up later, and even if it DOES blow up later, at least you know their baseline assessment and can provide better emergent care.

    And don't be afraid to ask your preceptor questions, that is part of what they are there for. Not in the middle of a code or a delicate procedure obviously, but later on out in the hall or in the med room or whatever. Write them down if you need to.

    Learn where the bathrooms are... sometimes you just NEED a 2-minute or a 30-sec break, and you can go in there and be assured of privacy.

    YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE BAD DAYS. Probably a LOT of them. Maybe even some TERRIBLE days. You will get through them. You will learn from them. You may cry in your car on the way home, think you're stupid, think you shouldn't be a nurse any more. But not every day will be like that.

    And then in a year, the new grads will start asking YOU questions, and you'll actually be able to answer them, and you'll realize you're making it. You'll have that difficult patient and be able to handle him/her along with all of your others, and actually feel that you were a good nurse for them that day.

    One thing to remember though, all through your time as a nurse... you will never stop learning.

    OK I think I've rambled enough. Good luck to you!!!
  8. by   canoehead
    If you have a chance to move visitor chairs, give yourself a clear path to the patient without having to squeeze by junk and people. If all the chairs are on one side, and the equipment you need is on the other side, life gets easier. Carry pens, tape, and saline flushes in your pocket. As a newbie, I'd get an index card for my pocket with phone numbers too, including the charge phone, so you have backup in arms reach.

    Be very nice to housekeeping, lab, security, and secretaries, someday they will bail you out of a hell shift. They also have contacts throughout the hospital and know how to get things, or who to schmooze. Just say hello and remember their names.

    If you patient is getting sicker, get an extra line in.
  9. by   JKL33
    Quote from HermioneG
    I call myself a baby nurse because I'm a New Grad, and I've heard that word used a lot on my unit. And its accurate..
    The reason for sighs about this terminology is that it's not accurate.

    Surely you are able to do more than lie in the same position on your back and wave your arms and legs, crying when something seems amiss? Those stretchers can have a mind of their own regardless of their driver's advanced skills, BTW.

    We believe in you all! You have a lot to learn but you are certainly not helpless. We all have different personalities and that's why it strikes some of us as an unfortunate word picture that many new nurses would just as well be called "baby" as something like "novice" or even simply "newer nurse."

    It's all good; just some food for thought...
  10. by   JBMmom
    Quote from JKL33
    The reason for sighs about this terminology is that it's not accurate.

    Surely you are able to do more than lie in the same position on your back and wave your arms and legs, crying when something seems amiss? Those stretchers can have a mind of their own regardless of their driver's advanced skills, BTW.

    We believe in you all! You have a lot to learn but you are certainly not helpless. We all have different personalities and that's why it strikes some of us as an unfortunate word picture that many new nurses would just as well be called "baby" as something like "novice" or even simply "newer nurse."

    It's all good; just some food for thought...
    This was my angle. I guess it's like many words that can be derogatory in one tone, or to some, but not to others. I tend to not be easily offended myself, but I feel like referring to anyone as a baby nurse is discounting the work you've put in to get to start your new career. Far from helpless, you're putting skills you already know to good use, and learning new ones. Best wishes.
  11. by   hherrn
    Nursing hack?
    I assume you mean an un orthodox short cut.
    Suction.

    Depending on the breathalyzer unit- PT too hammered to blow. Place mouthpiece in pts mouth. Have somebody manually squeeze lips to create seal. Put suction on exhaust end, pulling a breath through the breathalyzer.

    I can't advocate this next one, but the person who passed it on said it works.

    Obese male needs a foley, but you can't find Waldo. The gopher isn't sticking his head up. You know it has to be in there somewhere, but you can't find it.
    60 cc cath (not Luer) syringe. Remove plunger. Hook suction to small end of syringe. Place other end on the gopher hole. Apply suction. Grab that thing by the neck as soon as it sticks it's head up.
  12. by   anewsns
    Coca Cola to remove gtube clogs (but try to avoid them of course.)Upside down shield mask for messy trachs when you're changing their PICC drsg (so the shield is over the trach without fully blocking it of course). I had a friend who used a headlamp
    for catheter insertions. I’m horrible about forgetting supplies .. Keep Calm and Bring All Supplies.
  13. by   HermioneG
    Quote from JKL33
    The reason for sighs about this terminology is that it's not accurate.

    Surely you are able to do more than lie in the same position on your back and wave your arms and legs, crying when something seems amiss? Those stretchers can have a mind of their own regardless of their driver's advanced skills, BTW.

    We believe in you all! You have a lot to learn but you are certainly not helpless. We all have different personalities and that's why it strikes some of us as an unfortunate word picture that many new nurses would just as well be called "baby" as something like "novice" or even simply "newer nurse."

    It's all good; just some food for thought...
    Different perspectives are always fun and appreciated I think that this conversation really hits home that while I'm okay with it not everyone is. So when I'm on my own and mentoring new nurses I will avoid using the term with anyone who doesnt use it first
  14. by   Racer15
    KY jelly on dried blood. Smear it on there, let it sit for ten minutes, the blood comes right off. One of my favorite ER tricks!

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