Just got a new grad job in neuro - what to expect?

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    I was offered and accepted a position on the neuroscience floor. It is at a teaching hospital and is a certified stroke center. I have never set foot through the door, so I don't know what to expect. It's not anything that I planned on or imagined myself doing, but I'm sure I will learn a lot, and I'm just thankful to have a position lined up. During the interview, it was mentioned that there were several nurses who had been there for a long time - so I look forward to drawing from their knowledge and experience. From the literature I was given, their patient population includes: traumatic brain injuries, epidural & subdural hematomas, seizure disorders, cervical & lumbar strains, laminectomies, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, strokes, aneurysms, and subarachnoid hemorrhages.

    I plan on reviewing all the above, cranial nerves, communication issues, and of course neuro assessment. Is there anything else you all recommend? Any insight on what I can expect, or tips to handle it? How well will this prepare me for other units/floors if I decide this isn't for me, long-term? What do you love about it, what do you hate about it?

    Thanks!
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    Expect a lot of physical and emotional work. Feeders, bedpans, turning every 2 hours and getting them in the chair each day. Families that can drive you crazy. Patients that have pegs, trachs, NGTs, drains, IVs and will try to pull them out no matter how many times you explain to them it is very important and not to touch it. Lots of patience!!
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    Oh, sounds just lovely! Maybe I should apply to nursing homes, at least I'd get paid better.
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    What I hate? The patients who constantly yell and scream and is awake, alert and crazy but yet they damn sure know where that call light button is and call every 2 seconds. The patients who are awake, alert and ****** because they cant have anything to eat (stroke protocal, etc). The patients who specifically ask for 4mg Morphine IV push at 423. The amount of total care patients that you have that requires turning, cleaning, etc - never think because your a nurse you dont have to do it because you cant leave a clinical tech in the room to do it alone sometimes it requires several people especially >500lb patients. ETC ETC ETC

    BUT WHAT I LOVE - is some of the most rewarding experiences you will always remember and sometimes its rare but those moments are great, the patient who days/nights after taking care of them they say your name without you telling them who you are, the patients who are dying and still make jokes and laugh and the diffrence you can make in their last couple of days/weeks, etc, the awake/alert/crazy people i mentioned before who make you laugh when you really need it and your both laughing together and probably both feeling crazy. ETC ETC ETC

    No you shouldnt "just apply to nursing homes because you would get paid better." You should apply to a nursing home if you want to work with geriatric patients. Its an experience you will learn from you will make of it what you want to make of it. If you are a new nurse I dont know why you might have replied to that first post with such disappointment ng tubes, trachs - changing inner cannulas, suctioning, coding a trach patient, feeding tubes are sometimes not all that bad id much rather be able to push 50meds at once through a peg than sit and wait on my patient in the other room who refuses to take his pills from a cup and one by one you pour in their hand and some they drop some they cant find in their hand cause they are blind, IV practice and getting good at putting a line almost anywhere. Its great experience - stick with it - we get much much more than just neuro we get plenty of med surg - sorry such long winded
    myaMS, optimistic_newgrad, oaktown2, and 2 others like this.
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    Thanks for the reply & information. I think that I'm just nervous/depressed because I have no idea what to expect. I've never set foot on the floor, and this wasn't an area I had ever even thought of going into. My only experience in school with trachs and pegs was in a long term acute care hospital (which seemed much like a nursing home only more intense) so that is the image that popped in my head.
    I know I should be thankful that I have a job, especially in this economy, and I'm sure that I will learn a lot. I just hope it's not miserable. I guess I need an attitude adjustment & to just focus on the positive.
    Thanks again for the replies.
    on eagles wings likes this.
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    Didnt mean for my reply to come across as overbearing if it did. Yeah be excited cause its something new. Its good to do things that you have never done or never expected to do expecially in nursing because that is how your knowledge progresses or at least that is how I like to look at it. How you feel is the best things about nursing some things you hate some things you love and you can gain the experience and move to something new. Hope you enjoy it - and keep us posted I am interested to see how your job goes. Remember how you feel at the beginning may change for the better or worse hang in there - keep posting
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    Hands & Feet - what hospital are you in (if you don't mind my asking)? I'm a student and just got preceptorship in a NSICU. I'm suuuper excited about it and would LOVE to get a job out of it - though in this economy, I hear new grads aren't always well received.
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    I was just hired onto our Neurology/Surgical Specialty unit, and I'm looking forward to being able to have the combination of all the ABI/Stroke/Epilepsy patients with resulting Behavioral/Psych. manifestations. My experience is in Mental Health, so, for me it's the best of both worlds! Of course, it's not a super-awesome-happy-fun time for the patients, but so far my background has enabled me to provide more competent and compassionate care for those on our floor with comorbid psychiatric issues.

    And congratulations on your (relatively) new job! I hope you love it.
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    First of all, congratulations!

    The floor I work on is stroke overflow (stroke floor only has 19 beds) at a teaching hospital that is stroke certified, so we do receive quite a few neuro patients.

    My first MedSurg clinical rotation, though, was on a floor that sounds like yours. (Same hospital - before it expanded and became really specialized - all neuro was lumped onto one floor). Oh my goodness, I learned SO MUCH! I personally think a neuro floor is a great choice for a new nurse, because you will perfect those skills you learned in school. The things you'll learn on that floor will help you in whatever field you enter in the future!

    I'm not going to lie, it will be difficult. I think all new nursing jobs are, but neuro patients can be very stressful and the A & P involved is quite complex. But please do NOT give up...remember no matter what, that your AllNurses family is here for you!

    As for what to study, I did a little research for you. (I am a huge dork who regularly spends $100 at a time on nursing books, even though I've been out of school for four years!)

    These titles sound yummy! (Some are pricey, so shop around...all can be found on Amazon).

    The Clinical Practice of Neurological and Neurosurgical Nursing (Clinical Practice of Neurological & Neurosurgical Nursing) - Joanne V. Hickey, 12/2008

    Care of the Neurological Patient (Essential Clinical Skills for Nurses) - Helen Iggluden, 6/2006

    Clinical Neuroanatomy Made Ridiculously Simple (3rd Edition) - Stephen Goldberg, 1/2007

    Wish you the best!
    gmlin, on eagles wings, Code3EMT, and 2 others like this.
  12. 1
    @ CamaroNurse: Those titles sound quite yummy, indeed! I may have to go looking for those myself!
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe likes this.


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