The value of experience in nursing - page 3

by Susie2310 3,533 Views | 24 Comments

I am writing this post because I am concerned by the number of new nurses/students who appear to feel threatened/offended by some of the points of view more experienced nurses hold in regard to certain attitudes they experience... Read More


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    What is your opinion of nurses with 3, 5, 10 years of experience who are promoted to charge, NM, or DON? Or nurses in their 20's that pursue advanced degrees which outrank you and surpass you in education and clinical experience (i.e. a rural 25 year med/surg nurse vs. a 3 year trauma icu flight nurse?) What is the definitive factor when evaluating a nurse? Is it age and length of experience or patient outcomes, track record of safety, and proven leadership ability?

    For example, there are two teachers in the same school; one has been teaching for 30 plus years yet his students consistently fail to rise to standard in math, science, and reading. They complain he is difficult to understand, lacks passion, and is moody. The second teacher has been teaching for three years yet she inspires her students, finds proactive ways to help them succeed, and is positive and supportive. Which teacher deserves a promotion? Which teacher knows (or understands) more?

    I think we would all be better off if we refrained from comparing one to another. But if you really want to play that game we can. And I can betcha this narcissistic, entitled young thing will beat you every time. Young nurses need to learn to be confident leaders and not to feel they are at the mercy of overbearing, bitter people. That is no way to live.
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    And I just want to add that I am so grateful to all you experienced nurses that treat us newbies with respect and care. The way you treat us reflects how you treat your patients. And God knows that building trust and mutual respect results in lower stress levels and better outcomes every time. But now I am starting to sound kind of self righteous so I had better go back to lurking. I guess we're all people. We all deserve respect. I don't care much for heirarchies where one person poops on another.
    Last edit by GenYgrrrreatnurse on Aug 1, '12
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    As a new nurse, I guess I don't know jack. Compared to experienced nurses, that statement is true. I look forward to gaining the experience that will allow me to one day know jack. During the days, weeks, months, and years that I will spend learning jack, I will respect and appreciate the wisdom of more experienced nurses. I only ask that they don't try to eat me in the process, as I may bite back.
    Altra and GenYgrrrreatnurse like this.
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    I guess what rubs me the wrong way about this entire topic is the assumption that an inexperienced nurse with a lot of self confidence does not value the experience of a seasoned nurse. These two things are not inextricably bound. It is a false dichotomy. I think one can be new, inexperienced, and self confident AND have a high regard for the experience of nurses who have been doing this for a long time.

    I think most of us would agree that a nurse who is overconfident and doesn't know what they don't know is a dangerous nurse. I've seen this in both new and experienced nurses. I think most of us would also agree that a nurse who lacks the confidence to make a decision can also be a dangerous nurse. Again, I've seen both new and experienced nurses who fit this description.

    This is why we are taught collaboration; to talk things out with other nurses, some with more experience, some with fresh perspectives, to come to a better understanding of the situation before us.

    I have learned so much from more experienced nurses than I, and I have taught more experienced nurses a thing or two as well, through the process of collaboration.

    So what if some bright eyed bushy tailed enthusiastic new nurse wants to think they are "good", "great", or "excellent"? They will make mistakes, and they will be humbled, and hopefully, they will use their mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow and become better.

    There are so many opportunities in nursing to get emotionally beat up and feel like the worst nurse that ever walked the planet, and they might as well just fire you on the spot, and who in the world decided to give you a nursing license anyway?

    Why make a point of adding another stone to this psychic weight we all carry by picking at what adjectives other nurses use to describe themselves? Of what good to the whole of Nursing is this?
    Stephalump and GenYgrrrreatnurse like this.
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    Admin Team notice:

    Thread moved to our Nurse Colleague forum due to topic. After Admin review, we are closing due to unintendied divisive nature.
    Newbies, moderately experienced or 20+ year veterans, each nurses actions need to be viewed individually. We desire not to engage in what some perceive as lateral violence. That is why previous thread on the same topic was closed and moved offsite.

    I am thankful that my excitement for nursing and gung-ho attitude exhibited in '73 as Nurses Aide and later as new grad LPN in 77 was appreciated and channelled appropriately into beconing charge nurse and involvement in workplace committees instead of being dampened. This passion has now sustained me for almost 40 years in healthcare. May today's grads passion, grow into clinical excellence and sustain them throughout their careers.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Aug 2, '12
    icuRNmaggie, pecanpies, VickyRN, and 8 others like this.


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