Tips for Being the Best Possible Med/Surg Nurse

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    I am going to be starting a new full-time job on a Med/Surg unit very soon. Without getting into details, the job that I am leaving (non-inpatient) was beyond stressful, my boss would change her mind on everything from job duties to departmental policies on a dime and then chastise you for something that she had praised you for only weeks before...IOW, it was pretty awful. I feel so indebted to the supervisor who hired me for this new job. I have several years of Med/Surg experience, but she didn't have to hire me and "rescue" me from the awful job and then I would have been stuck, so my goal is to be the best Med/Surg nurse that I can be for her, as well as for me, because my kids are just now grown and I finally feel like I can unselfishly devote myself to my career in a way that I couldn't before. I have never had a problem working Med/Surg per se, but I did tend to get stressed and have a negative attitude sometimes. So...my list of how to make this job the most positive experience that I can and show my gratitude to my new boss for "rescuing" me goes something like this:

    1. Try to have a positive attitude and truly appreciate every single day that I have a good-paying, secure job.

    2. Study up on areas that I feel a bit rusty in so that I can feel competent all of the time (or at least MOST of the time).

    3. Participate in unit meetings and show an interest in unit happenings. I wasn't good at this before, I basically just wanted to punch in, punch out, and be home as much as possible.

    4. The obvious things like being on time and having excellent attendance.

    5. ??????

    Can anyone add to this list? I would really appreciate any good tips!
    Last edit by westieluv on Jun 8, '12
  2. 3 Comments so far...

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    I was where you were a few years ago.

    When I started a new job I knew I had to have a much better attitude, lol.

    What you are doing is what I did and still do. It earned me employee of the year in March 2012.

    One thing I would suggest is to join committees and become more involved behind the scenes. I would also suggest to become certified in med/surg.
    Last edit by tokmom on Jun 9, '12
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    Thanks for your reply. I am considering getting certified in Med/Surg, and more than likely I will begin the process within the next couple of months. I started the application online last night but when I got to the part where it wanted my supervisor's name and contact information, I decided that I wanted to have a couple of weeks under my belt and discuss getting certified with my supervisor before she just gets some random request for information on an employee that hasn't worked for her yet.

    I also plan to become involved in unit committees, etc. I'm kind of excited about that one. When my kids were younger, I could never stay after for meetings because I needed to get home for them, but now I can be a lot more flexible.

    Another thing that I need to do differently than when I worked Med/Surg before is rarely ever call off sick. It's not that I called off a lot before, but I always worked as a contingent nurse in the float pool, and it's so much easier calling off in a busy nursing services office where you can feel almost anonymous and they can choose from several employees to fill your spot, than calling off on an individual Med/Surg unit where you know everyone really well and your vacancy is harder to fill and a lot more conspicuous.
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    lol. I did float at a hospital I worked at years ago and felt the same way. In my prev hospital I was mostly per diem and I didn't feel bad calling in if I felt I needed too.

    Now I take a second look on how bad I feel before calling in. My attendance is usually 1-2 days a year for sick call. Figuring I work 40 hr work week (plus) that's pretty good.

    Meetings: I work with so many people that whiiiiine about being on committees. I have made such an influence on how my floor operates that I can't see myself not having a voice! Good for you for wanting to make a difference.


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