Advice for the new nurse entering Med-Surg - page 7

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


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    I've lost track of who started this thread but thank you, a squillion times. I am a nursing 'wrinkly' who trained many years ago, in another land. I emigrated 2 years ago, did the CGFNS exam and passed, did the NCLEX last November and passed and I am now about to re-start my career at the grand age of forty-something-ish in a foreign country on a med/surg ward! So, for all your wonderful posts and incredible advice....thank you. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
    Rebekah1882 likes this.
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    what about those nurses that were in medsurg for a year and 1/2 and left it because of the lack of staffing...was having 13-14 patients PLEASE!!!! and i went to LTC for 3 yrs and am now thinking about going to back to the hospital but am not one for change. Has anyone done this left m/s gone somewhere else and either came back to m/s or went back and did something different like ICU???? I am terrified to go back after being out of hospital for so many years and it has been nice not to have to deal with the Docs...
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    Thank you for all your advice. I will need all the advice I can get. I just started my preceptorship and I am scared as hell. I am trying to keep my composure but it is difficult at times. Many of the RNs on the Med-Surg unit are not very nice to me and when I ask questions they make comments that make me want to crawl in a hole. My Preceptor is nice but she doesn't seem to want the position. I think she was kind of pushed into it by a superior. To make things worse my clinical instructor/Liason is hard to get a hold of. I feel very alone and am trying not to give up. Any advice?
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    DC, I understand how you feel. I am a new LVN and just started my preceptorship yesterday in med/surg. I am so scared too. We had 11 patients yesterday and I feel so inadequate. I'm not even sure which needle to use with which syring, etc. and feel so stupid when I have to ask for help. I was hoping for more training but feel like they just expect you to know everything already. I am afraid I will not be able to handle this on my own when I don't have someone with me anymore. Wish I could offer some help, but I'm in the same boat right now. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone. Will keep you in my prayers. Hope it gets better.
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    i know exactly how you feel. i am a new nurse, 6 months now and work strictly on a medical unit. we are considered by the rest of the hospital to be the laziest, dumbest unit around. they just don't understand what medical nurses go through everyday. believe me if they walked in our shoes for a shift they would have a much greater respect for us. that just seems to be the way it is. you are not alone. hang in there. stacey :trout:


    Quote from larthur
    i have a question regarding medical surgical nursing, what is the diffrence you probably think this is a strange question but let me enlighten you.
    i work in a mainly medical area (we feel like the dumping ground of the hospital) if a patient is confused, too hard to handle, looks like staying longer than necessary they get sent to us, yet as medical nurses we administer antibiotics, put in intravenous cannulas, attend to wound dressings, do post operative observations, communicate with doctors and family members, console the relative of a dying patient and many more things, yet the surgical nurses always think they are more superior and harder working and we medical nurses just can't do anything why are we not equal can someone please explain
    king regards lynne.
  6. 0
    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!!
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    [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!
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    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.
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    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!!!!
    snyd49 likes this.
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    Quote from mjlrn97
    Oh, I can think of a million things that I wish I'd known when I was a brand-new RN........like:

    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 infusion......at 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 it.......you 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 **** 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:
    elprup likes this.


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