Guidelines which helped me, for Student Nurses and New Grads

by madwife2002 Asst. Admin

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Not every RN makes a good mentor and preceptor, we are expected to be able to share our knowledge and skills but not all of us are able to do it. This doesn't mean that the ones who can't share their knowledge are bad RN's it just means they are not teachers. I think all of us can look back and remember the Good teachers in school as a child and in further education. I also think we are able to recall the bad ones.

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    Guidelines which helped me, for Student Nurses and New Grads

    I have spent a large part of my career working, supporting and educating student nurses, student midwives and new grads. It has been one of the most fulfilling part of my life without exception.

    I myself have not only enjoyed it but have learn't a great deal myself. I found out early on in my career that I loved hands on teaching, I found I was extremely good at it, was effective in sharing my skills and knowledge and I was proud to see my fledglings go on to make excellent new nurses.

    I have enjoyed my career as a RN, it has been long but gone quickly. A lot of people have asked me why I didn't go on to be an educator? The truth is I dont want to be classroom based, I would have been great as one of the clinical teachers of bygone era's the ones who would be hospital based who worked side by side with staff not taking a patient load but supervising and educating. Unfortunately they disappeared back in the 80's.

    Not every RN makes a good mentor and preceptor, we are expected to be able to share our knowledge and skills but not all of us are able to do it. This doesn't mean that the ones who can't share their knowledge are bad RN's it just means they are not teachers. I think all of us can look back and remember the Good teachers in school as a child and in further education. I also think we are able to recall the bad ones.

    What I learn't along the way which I hope will help you acknowledged that we learn from good and bad teachers and my philosophy to my wonderful career.

    The Guidelines I have used in my practice

    When I struggled with skills and became frustrated I would look to staff who appeared to be very good and I would say to myself 'If they can do it so can I' and I would work really hard to perfect my skills. Remember nobody was born a nurse with perfect skills and knowledge you have to be exposed to the experience to be able to do it!

    Make sure you identify what you think is good and bad nursing care and make you own little check mark list in you head of how you are going to do it once you are on your own. If your gut feeling is telling you it is wrong or telling you not to do something don't do it.

    Never ever be afraid to ask

    Always reflect on your day-what went right, what went wrong, what did I learn, and how can I do it better next time. You will learn constantly through out your career. Once you begin reflecting on your day it will become a habit. Never think you know it all because health care is changing daily

    Keep yourself updated with current changes, research and studies that come out weekly. Be open to change!

    Always, Always smile and be personable with your patients and their relatives. Never give them the impression that you haven't got time for them. You can quickly learn how to explain to the patients everything you need to know during their drug round or during their head to toe examination - don't worry that you'll miss something because once you have experience you are not looking for the normal you are looking for the abnormal, it is surprising when head to toe becomes routine how quickly you will hear/see or identify the abnormal

    Explain every aspect of care to the patient, never attempt to do anything to a patient without talking to them

    If you are working with a student or new nurse, introduce them to the patient and explain that you are supervising their care but the student will be doing the hands on under your supervision.

    When ever a Dr has been to visit the pt always find out what has been said and go back and explain in layman's terms. Do not assume the patient has understood what the Dr has said. (even if you were in the room)

    We all know doctors have a tendency to sneak in a patients room whilst you are elsewhere. The patient will always tell you they have seen the doctor (obviously they have to be conscious and lucid)

    Talk to the patient on their level-if the patient is well educated and intelligent they probably don't need to be told in basic language. If a person is less educated speak with them in terms they understand but don't assume they are a fool.

    Always ask for feedback, check their understanding is correct.

    It doesnt take long for you to establish the best way to talk with them. I have always approached with questions to find out what they understood, how much medical knowledge they have and how informed they are about their illness and disease.

    Never assume that they are not masters in their own illness.

    Diabetics and chronic patients know far more about their own body and illness than anybody else, they are 9 times out of 10 willing to share this knowledge with anybody who will listen.

    If you haven't got the time to talk and explain things to a patient tell them you will return and spend time with them when you can sit down and talk. Always find the time to go back.

    If you don't know then tell the patient you don't know but you will find out. Do not try to explain something you don't understand you will confuse the pt.

    Never say 'it will be alright' to patients and relatives it gives them false hopes especially if the outcome is grim. Say something like 'I am here to support you'. Explain the test but never say it will be alright! or it will be ok!

    I can guarantee if you say it will be alright before scans, MRI's, or xrays the diagnoses will be grim and they will never forget that you said it will be alright.

    Never be afraid to ask I cannot emphases how important this is, do not perform a task you are not comfortable with or have never tried before-get help and support.

    Always remember 'If they can do it so can I" and think I just need to practice and I will become an expert.

    Good luck and enjoy-Never be afraid to ask!
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 6, '11
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  3. About madwife2002

    madwife2002 joined Jan '05 - from 'Ohio'. madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. Posts: 9,458 Likes: 5,186; Learn more about madwife2002 by visiting their allnursesPage


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    11 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I LOVE this post... I really needed to see something like this now
    madwife2002 likes this.
  5. 1
    Yup awesome post with great insight.
    madwife2002 likes this.
  6. 1
    Excellent and insightful post! Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom
    madwife2002 likes this.
  7. 1
    Awesome tips and pointers! ...Definitely appreciate all the perils of wisdom that truly can be used w/ any patient poplulation
    madwife2002 likes this.
  8. 0
    Thank you all for the positive feedback :-)
  9. 1
    Great post! I am going for my first interview tomorrow. Due to the callowness of this new graduate, I am constantly stressing myself out with all the what ifs. I will most certainly follow these tips. Thank you!!
    madwife2002 likes this.
  10. 1
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! <3 I really appreciate you taking the time to write this....
    madwife2002 likes this.
  11. 1
    Wow. Thank you for this post. I am currently a Pre-Nursing major and I had almost no knowledge in the field until I read this. I appreciate your help and you sharing your experiences .
    madwife2002 likes this.
  12. 1
    Great post thank you for sharing your wisdom, this one of the things that make nursing so great!! Thank you
    madwife2002 likes this.


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