Advice For The New Nurse Entering Med-Surg - page 6

Here is your chance to give some advice and counsel to new RN's and LPN's entering their first clinical job as a nurse. What advice would you give them? I am going to make this a sticky so that... Read More

  1. by   sabrn2006
    I finished the first week of my 12 week orientation on a busy med-surg floor. Each day is both wonderful and terrifying at this point. I learn so much in every 12 (usually more like 14) hour shift. I am working on prioritizing, organizing and of course, charting! Keep the tips coming. We new grads really need them!!
  2. by   Otter
    [quote=westminster]Thanks for alll the great info !!
    I am starting on a Med /Surgical ward on Monday having been out of Nursing for 10 years !!!
    I used to be a fairly competent nurse before that but now my skills are a bit rusty to say the least !!!
    I am having nightmares about giving injections, starting IVs etc and am hoping that "everything will eventually come back to me !!!"
    Have been given a 6 week orientation so hopefully won't be dropped in it straight away !!
    I loved nursing before and hope that I will get to love it again !

    Congratulations.Keep us posted. Best of luck!
  3. by   vonxojn
    I started out myself on a very busy surgical floor and let me tell you....I LOVED IT!!! I learned so much being on that floor. I would recommend doing the med/sur for a year and after that you can pretty much go to any floor with a wide base of knowledge and skills.

    Good Luck and hang in there.
  4. by   mjwhitley1313
    I will begin next week on a med surg floor as a new grad RN. I was wondering if anyone had ideas for how they keep track of their shift notes.......for example do you use a sheet of paper for each pt and what does it say(name, rm, med, allergies and so on) or what are the important things to keep track of? Thanks again!!!!
  5. by   lvs2nrs3535
    Quote from mjlrn97
    Oh, I can think of a million things that I wish I'd known when I was a brand-new

    1) Whatever you do, don't, I repeat, DON'T freak out! Panic never solves anything, and indeed may make it worse. Even if your confused elderly patient just yanked out his triple lumen and is wandering around the floor bleeding.......or if you realize you've just discharged a patient without a doctor's order........or if your 30-something patient codes during an iron-dextran least pretend to keep your cool. You can fall apart when the crisis is over.

    2) All bleeding/vomiting/diarrhea/coughing stops....eventually.

    3) Learn to prioritize. No matter how insistent a patient is about having her pillow fluffed RIGHT NOW, your post-op's pain meds are much more important. Also, watch the experienced nurses and to see how they prioritize tasks of equal importance.......that happens more often than not.

    4) The best way to encourage some patients to get up and pee is to wave a catheter under their nose and tell them: "If you don't 'go' within the next hour, I'm going to have to put this in".

    5) Documentation: No matter how ingenious your interventions, if you didn't chart didn't do it. Give yourself credit for your hard work!

    6) It's OK to cry.

    7) It's OK to laugh.......A lot of what we deal with every day is just plain funny!

    8) It's even OK to get mad.....people do some incredibly stupid/dangerous/foolish things, and you'd hardly be human if it didn't piss you off sometimes. (You cannot, however, tell the patient they are stupid/dangerous/foolish.)

    9) You will have good days and bad days.......unfortunately, the bad days are the ones that always seem to come in groups.

    10) IV starts: The more you do, the quicker you'll get good at it.

    11) Be flexible. This prevents you from getting bent out of shape.

    12) Above all: Med/surg nursing is the toughest job you'll ever love, and if you don't love it, leave it! There are already too many nurses in this field who are doing it only because they need the money, or because they're just marking time until they can retire, or because it's all they know and they're too tired and burned-out to learn another area of nursing. Our patients deserve the best care possible; only those who truly enjoy med/surg nursing are able to give it.

    Marla, THANKS!!! I am printing this out and bringing it with me to my orientation. I start a busy med-surg job, orientation this monday, and have been so nervous.
    Love the practical advice, it means a lot.:spin:
  6. by   seselant02
    I am a new nurse I started in Oct 2005 on a med/surg floor. And I learn quickly that it is better to ask a question, even if you think it is "dumb", than to risk a patients' life.
  7. by   fbmom
    There are no "Dumb" questions. don't be afraid to ask someone if you are not sure of what you are doing or about to do. No experienced nurse will get aggravated by your questions. Better to ask before you do then make a serious mistake.
  8. by   kokila patel
    I am from Africa.I came to the US, for a safer and better life for my family and myself and to pursue my career as a nurse, my life long dream and passion. I graduated in Nursing in Zimbabwe 27 years ago but did not work as a nurse.I literally had to learn to study and it was all so new to me. My application process was long and difficult.I had all the qualifications but the paperwork and fees were unbelievable. My paperwork was also miplaced or lost at some stage. This did not discourage me. I just kept calling and writing to them until I was accepted for the exams. I had to pass the Toefl, TSE and TWE first, all to prove that I could read, speak and write English. When I was finally accepted, I had to first pass the foreign nurses exam, and then apply for the Nclex which incidentally I passed first time too. I then needed a sponsor so I could work legally in the US and obtain my Green Card. I was offered a job and the process took just over 15 months. Needless to say I also had legal fees to pay at this stage. I worked as a Clinical Coordinator of a very busy Cardiology office where I have worked for just under 2 years. I love it but the time has come for me to spread my wings and further my education and experience as a Nurse. I completed an RN refresher and applied for a job at the same hospital and have just been offered a position in a med/surg unit. I actually completed my clinicals on this unit and loved it but I am actually quite terrified now that I am actully going to be working there. I know I have alot to learn and I am not afraid of that. I need some helpful advice please.................. I have had one hurdle after another for the past 5 years since I am in the US but I am going to keep trying.......... I want to be a NURSE!
  9. by   Paravell
    Congrats on getting this far, and good luck in your future endeavors!!
  10. by   soccerplayer
    thanks for the input- i am an experienced lpn- but not to med/surg and a new rn with a full time position in on a medical floor- any advice on purchasing a pda and how helpful it would be on a medical floor?
  11. by   Kinjo
    I use my PDA mostly to look up drugs that I am unfamiliar with, I'm new grad , just one month on the Med/Surg floor still orientating and I find it quite challenging/and rewarding at times. Not sure how long I will stay though.
  12. by   Yarra

    I am new to the forum and new to nursing.

    I have recently been hired at the hospital here, small town, 100 bed med/surg unit. I am really interested in hearing what kind of advice you would have for someone in my position.

    I was hired as an NA, I have a Medical Assisting degree. I will get my CNA shortly after coming on board at the hospital. I will enter school this fall and work on my 4 pre-recs for nursing school and will enter nursing school Fall of 2007.

    I HAVE to work full time, unfortunately, but working nights at the hospital seems to be the best course of action for me.

    Do you have any advise? What can I expect to see and do as an NA on the med/surg floor? Evidently most of our pt's are here for their 2 day stint before going into a nursing home. I was told we see quit a few people detoxing as well. (Meth is really big in my area)

    I will be working nights. Is it slower at night? What kind of work does an NA do at night??

    I will also like to certify as a Monitor tech and/or a Phlebotomist, that way I can PRN at something that pays a bit more.

    Also, can CNA's Certify as an IV Tech? I would love to be able to start IV's. It would add to my skill base and make me more valuable for my employer. Plus it would give me experience and practice!

    Thanks you guys for taking the time to answer my questions!

  13. by   MegRyanGirl
    I am a new grad studying for NCLEX. I really want to work in Med Surge and interviewed in a few hospitals for a position. One hospital had a position in Med Surge, Telemetry, ER, and OR. My understanding is that all of those units are derivatives of Med Surge and can fall under one big Med Surge umbrella. At least that's how it was when I did my clinicals. I was interested in all of them and I applied to all of those units for that reason. But the recruiters didn't like that. I was told that I don't know what I want, even though I mentioned to them that I felt it was all part of Med Surge. What do I do??? Should I only apply to Med Surge and exclude the other units I mentioned?? I don't want to limit myself.
    Please help!