New Grad Rehab Nurse

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    I am a new graduate RN who is starting my first job at a rehabilitation hospital. I am extremely excited!! However, I am also very nervous because along with the normal new graduate fears, I will only get 2 weeks of orientation with a preceptor before being on my own (yikes!). Any advice for me would be wonderful! What are the biggest challenges I will face as a new grad on a rehab unit? Thanks so much!
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    Quote from NrsKate
    I am a new graduate RN who is starting my first job at a rehabilitation hospital. I am extremely excited!! However, I am also very nervous because along with the normal new graduate fears, I will only get 2 weeks of orientation with a preceptor before being on my own (yikes!). Any advice for me would be wonderful! What are the biggest challenges I will face as a new grad on a rehab unit? Thanks so much!
    It is well-known and accepted that new grads don't know how to be nurses--that we are expected to train you. (now, i think that is what school's should do, but what do i know?) So, don't get overly-wrought about not knowing a lot and having a lot of basic questions. As a trainer, i would worry if you didn't have basic questions. But i am not a trainer; i was new a little over 3 years ago and am still learning.
    I carry a small notebook in my pocket to jot on, anything from the new unit phone numbers, door codes, employee names, to questions i want to ask or look up later.
    Learn what stuff you need in your pockets and get it before the shift to save yourself time later.
    Carry a clipboard because you will find a lot of info that you need to keep with you.
    Finally, IT WILL GET BETTER, but there will be bad times ahead. Know that and don't think you are the only one.
    VegetasGRL03RN likes this.
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    at the end of the 2 weeks you do not feel ready to be on your own, please let the nursing supervisor or the don know. don't risk the safety of your pt or your license by jumping in too early. two weeks is really unrealistic!!!
    Little_Mouse likes this.
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    Organization is key in a job like rehab where you have a larger patient assignment than in inpatient acute care hospital nursing. I currently work in a subacute rehab facility where I have sixteen patients with two aides on the afternoon shift. If I didn't have an organized system of keeping track of when my med passes and treatments are due, I would be in tears everyday. However, even though I am busy and I work very hard, being organized makes it possible for me to get my work done in a timely manner and not miss important meds and treatments.

    Everyone has to find their own system. I find that what works for me is to have a grid where I can list the patients in one column and the hourly increments in the other, so that I can tell at a glance if Mrs. B has a med due at 4 PM. Whatever works for you. And also, like the pp stated, if you don't feel ready, by all means ask for more orientation! Some nurses are natural trainers and some don't give a hoot if you learn anything. If you get the latter of those two types, you will need more time. Don't be afraid to be your own advocate.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
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    Quote from NrsKate
    I will only get 2 weeks of orientation with a preceptor before being on my own (yikes!).
    Since you are a new grad and this is a rehabilitation hospital, you really should be getting more than two weeks. Of course, this is just my opinion.

    I had four years of nursing experience when I landed a job at a rehab hospital last summer (new RN with four years as an LVN/LPN). They gave me two months of orientation with a preceptor, and were prepared to offer additional weeks if I didn't feel ready. They hired an RN with 30 years of experience last month, and she is entering her fourth or fifth week of orientation because she is not yet ready to be cut loose.

    I also worked in subacute rehab at a nursing home as an LVN several years ago, where only three days of orientation is the norm before you are expected to function on your own.
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    Hey Commuter,
    I live in your area. What does the rehab your at now hire LVN's newer grads?
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    if u feel uncomfortable , you can request to extend your orientation
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    also voice your opinion if you dont feel ready. Like they have said, dont risk the pt's or your license. Dont forget to ask questions, or for help if you need it.
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    As someone who also went into acute rehab from nursing school, I think 2 weeks is way too little time to be oriented! I had 10 weeks and could have had several more if I wanted. Please don't be shy about telling the DON or clinical educator or nurse manager that you need more time!


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