new grad on med-surg

  1. Hey all,
    I am a new graduate nurse and was just offered a position on a geriatric med-surg floor in a great hospital. I start in about a week.. and my stomach is turning! I am SO nervous, I hear horror stories about the first year of nursing, about nurses going home crying everyday, ect. This sounds terrifying! Im so thankful to be offered this position, because in this day and age it is very difficult to get a nursing job with no experience.. only a few of my classmates have received jobs so far (and we graduated in may)! I'm just hoping that i don't become too overwhelmed. The hospital I am going to be working at has a great 3 month orientation. Is there any advice that anyone wants to share with a new grad RN.. anything you wish someone would of told you before you started your first "big girl" job?
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    About nurseGi

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 20; Likes: 12
    Nurse; from US


  3. by   PacoUSA
    In my case, it's a "big guy" job .... males are on the rise in nursing, as you shall see!

    I'm about 2 months off orientation, I started in July. Make sure you have a good preceptor! Make sure your skill checks are reviewed, seek help in things you're lacking. Ask questions, and always look for new opportunities to learn new procedures and skills. Don't expect to pick up skills on the first try, it takes practice. At some point, after a few times the skill "clicks" and you will start to be comfortable doing it on your own.

    You're going to be nervous for a while, get used to it. I hear it takes almost a year before you're even remotely confident at what you do. I know I am not there yet almost 5 months into my job, but I am a hell of a lot better off than I was in August!

    It's late, that's all I can think of for now.

    Just breathe and take it all in as a learning experience, they should not be letting you off orientation until they think you are minimally ready. Good luck!

    ETA: You might also want to check out the sticky on this forum specifically relating to your question, see the thread here:
    Last edit by PacoUSA on Nov 25, '12 : Reason: To add a link
  4. by   nurseGi
    Hey Paco-RN. Thanks for the advice, made me feel better!!
  5. by   cerenahope
    "Inexperienced Nurse Needs Advise"...I am not a new nurse, graduated in 2006-ADN. I have had limited experience, only about 2 months hands on in step down neuro/trauma unit, 4 months in a cardiothoracic clinic and worked as a certified case manager in worker's comp for about 3 years. My work experience was limited and my child was gravely ill with a brain tumor so I was out of work well over a year. She is now well enough for me to work full time nights (I have to be available days because of her ongoing medical appointments). My work experience classifies me as "inexperienced". I am having a tough time getting a job. I have had recruiters contact me for management jobs but I don't feel like I have what it takes because my job history has very little direct care. I want to do bedside nursing but finding someone to give me a chance is so difficult. Having been out in the workforce all I have heard is that specialization and med/surg are primary...trying to find someone to give it to you is another story! Even nursing homes have limited or no openings for 'inexperienced nurses'. Then the openings I do see say BSN are required. I am frustrated and desperate. ANY IDEAS?
  6. by   PolaBar
    I started in April in a geriatric med-surg floor. It definitely has it's challenges. The geriatric population can be rough to work with since many of them need "coaxing" to take medications, many cannot swallow pills, tons of incontinence (while nursing assistants do a lot of the work, there's plenty of cleaning for the nurses, too), bed alarms galore (almost nobody on our floor walks "steady" enough to go without), and many confused or even nonverbal patients. I really love the geriatric group, and I think the Geri med-surg is a great way to learn about the geriatric disease processes. But, I finally floated one night to another floor - one of those patients was on a bed alarm (a geriatric patient) and the others were "walkie-talkies". A different world. Good luck!
  7. by   RNandPearls
    I am a new nurse as well...and lets just say you will have your ups and downs. Working as a nurse is a complete 180 from nursing school. You will quickly find out how much you don't know and how much each day can teach you. You will mess up, make mistakes, miss orders, give wrong medications, etc. YOu will go home that day feeling like the worst nurse in the world, but you take a deep breath, remember you are human, and go into work the next day with a bright outlook and positive attitude and remember you CAN do this. Find organizational skills that work for you, take your time passing meds, hanging IV's etc. You would rather be a little off schedule than find out you did something wrong. Trust me, I learned this the hard way, but thankfully I am at an awesome hospital with extremely supportive staff. As long as you learn from your mistakes, vow to always double check your work and never make that mistake again, you will be just fine. Find mentors who don't mind showing you new tasks and answering questions. You will ask a ton of questions...and thats ok too. Good luck! You will do wonderful! and Congrats on finding a job!
    I don't have any advice for you, but I just wanted to congratulate you on finding your job. I'm sure you will do great, and they will wonder how they ever got anything done before you got there

    And relax. They would not have hired you if they were not confident in your abilities.


  9. by   turnforthenurse
    Congratulations on your job! I started out as a new grad on a progressive care unit (telemetry/ICU stepdown) and I am still working on that unit (I have about 1.5 years of experience). It definitely has been an experience! When I started out, I realized how much I didn't know and the learning curve was huge. You learn something new every day. Nursing school gives you a foundation for nursing practice but you do not learn how to be a nurse until you start working. In nursing school (in the book and on the NCLEX) you always have the perfect scenario - one patient, all of the time in the world. In the real world, it isn't like that. There are a lot of gray areas. You will make mistakes, but every one does. To say that no one has ever made a mistake would be lying.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions. I would much rather ask what seems to be a stupid question instead of just guessing whether I'm right or wrong. There are no stupid questions! If there are things you don't really understand, write them down in a little notebook and review the information from your textbooks at home.

    Talking to doctors at first can be very scary lol. I remember calling the doctor one time and I was gets better with time! There are doctors out there who are jerks regardless of who they are talking to. Try to not let them bother you. When you're calling the doc, remember SBAR and have all of the pertinent information ready for them.

    You will be nervous for awhile. It takes on average a new nurse 6 months to a year to begin to feel comfortable.

    Also, invest in malpractice insurance. I'm not trying to scare you, but it is a great thing to have. There have been a lot of threads discussing malpractice insurance on this forum. The two companies mentioned the most are NSO and Marsh (Proliability). Both offer first year discounts for new grads. If you work in a high risk specialty you will expect to pay more per year. I have Marsh and paid $100 for the whole year.
  10. by   HyperSaurus, RN
    Go with an open mind and be prepared to learn. Nursing school gives you a framework, but you learn a lot once you're actually on the floor. Ask lots of questions, look things up, and figure out who your best resources will be. I agree with turnforthenurseRN on everything they said, including getting malpractice insurance. You can't depend on your facility to protect you in the case of a suit, even if they say you are covered under their insurance.