Advice for the new nurse entering Med-Surg - page 19

by RNPATL

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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 it is always available on the... Read More


  1. 0
    hi all,

    i'm a new nurse with a couple months experience. i'm not exactly sure what advice to even ask for at this point but i thought i would post this with the hope that somebody may have some words of wisdom....all i know is that every time i have to go into work i get so extremely anxious and, at times, tearful. i can't quite put my finger on what is making me so anxious. usually when i get to work everything is ok, i stay busy, and before i know it the night is over. i’ve had a couple of bad nights when i am so extremely overwhelmed i start to cry and feel like the world is caving in. i feel alone, inadequate, and like i don't know what the heck i'm doing. i'm trying my best to get through, but it is difficult. i don't think night shift is exactly helping the whole situation because i have to think about it all day before going in. at this point there are no day shift spots available. i couldn't wait to become a nurse so i could help people, but now i'm so self-absorbed with my own circumstance that i have kind of lost my motivation in a way. i’ve been trying to give it up to god, trying to draw strength in that respect, however, i’m still having so much trouble getting adjusted. change has always been hard for me, and entering into this world of nursing is a big change.
    thanks for any advice in advance. it’s so thoughtful that you all take time to help counsel us newbies!
    blessings!
  2. 0
    i got the best advice from my CNA Preceptor she was the mother of 12!!!! she and I worked together on the evening shift on a large HIV ward in the 1980s. she said Open your eyes,Close your mouth and REALLY Listen and you will learn alot. She was so right!! I learned from the nurses, from the patients, the dietary and housekeeping staff, from family members but mostly I learned from Miss Thomasina Payne. Her quiet strength, her beautiful smile, her open heart were incredible gifts to me and I am grateful to this day to have had her as one of my most important teachers. I miss her!
  3. 3
    Hi Newbie,

    I hear the distress in your message and can empathize with what your going through. As a new grad myself, I had many concerns transitioning from being a student protected by the veil of my school to being independant - on my own with all the responsibility of patient care on my shoulders. But I have good news for you.

    First off, remember what it was like to start nursing school? The nerves, learning all this new scientific medical stuff? Well you did it! And it is quite the feat. You've graduated and have a piece of paper that proves you did. That means that you have a repitoire of skills and knowledge you've accumulated and can use whenever you need it. Don't forget that you've come a long way already. Us nurses we never stop learning. That includes learning to remember to recall on all our past experiences while we were students. There were hairy days in clinical but you made it, didn't you. Remember that when you're faced with a difficult day of patient care. You also have to remeber that you are never alone in nursing, ever. You have other staff nurses, managers and educators who WANT to help you. So when you're presented with something you don't know or are unsure of, there is no shame in asking for help or education. If someone turns you down, keep asking till you find someone who will. Afterall, you want to give good patient care, not shoddy care.

    When you feel those tears coming on, ask yourself what are they about? Is it nerves, is it fear? You said its hard to put your finger on it and I know that feeling as well. For me its just being overwhelmed. But I always remember that I am one person and I do one things at a time. Prioritize quickly the things that are must do now, need to do today, and nice to do if I have time. If you need to bounce off your ideas to someone else, find someone you respect and admire and ask them if you can share your plan with them.

    Before your night shift, think about what you want to achieve for that night. Perhaps you want everyone to have good hygiene and oral care (provided there are no emergent issues). Make goals for yourself so that you have some direction. During those shifts where your patients are very acute, ask your team mates for help. Tell them (politely) what you need done for your other patients so that you can concentrate on the ones that need you now because they're very sick. When your team mates ask you for help, remeber to recipriated. Start creating bonds with your shift-mates. A little help goes a long way and both ways.

    In time you will start feeling more assured of yourself and the care you give to your patients. I can only reiterate that you can do it. You've already proved it with your degree and with being hired by your hospital. Chin up, girl. You're gonna be a great nurse.
    marqc_rn, NewbieRN!, and brimama like this.
  4. 1
    I just started a new job on a med/surg floor, before that I worked in an acute rehab hospital for 14+ years...so, I sorta feel like a new nurse again! This thread is wonderful, thanks so much to everyone who posted. I am grateful for the six weeks of orientation they gave me. Tuesday was my first day on my own, and I can't tell you how many of my fellow nurses said "if you need any help, I'm here!". My boss told me it'll take about 9 months(!) for me to feel really comfortable(like I was at my old job) and to give it time. In the meantime I'm gonna read all your posts, they make me smile
    noreenl likes this.
  5. 0
    AS a nurse manager for a large med surg unit and a nurse for 12 years and tech for 12 years there is to me no better learning experience than med surg for at least a year.
  6. 2
    I am a nurse manager of a med surg unit and I would in no way expect you to be ready after 3 months. you may be off orientation but you are still learning. I am still learning and I have been in health care for 20 years.
    arobins72 and noreenl like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from smileysenior
    Advice for new nurses entering medsurg: DONT. I have been at it 4 months and I hate it. Don't it isnt worth it. Trust me.
    sorry that you feel that way about med/surg ... what is it that made you hate it? I think it really depends on orientation, preceptorship...and having supportive coworkers
  8. 0
    Aniroc,
    Thanks so much for your encouraging words! It really means a lot to me. I feel like one day and one learning experience at a time it is getting better. I think the overwhelming feelings combined with the responsibility can really get the best of me, but I'm trying. Thanks again!
  9. 0
    SillyOleGramma...I love your post. I can relate to everything and I had a good laugh!! Definetely needed that!
  10. 0
    I'm happy this thread keeps getting responses since it's nice to reflect back on the advice. I've recently gotten through my 9th month as a med surg nurse and may I say IT DOES GET BETTER!! I felt for a long while there that I would perish and die before I ever enjoyed this job. I too felt nauseous and sick right before every shift and complained all the time about how much I hated it....then one day a few months ago after switching to night shift everything just got better. I don't stress out anymore about coming to work, I find the new admissions I hated doing were much easier and I felt like I accomplished something good every shift. I'm not sure where this change was from but I'm glad it came. I still know my heart is not with the med surg floor for a lifetime but it has been an amazing learning experience and still is every day. I still ask for help with something now and then that we don't come across frequently in our small hospital but for most part I can fly solo and feel comfortable. Thanks for the advise and keep it coming, it sure does help!!! Just remember that Med Surg is the gateway to every area of nursing!!! Happy Nursing Ya'll....:heartbeat


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