Essential Nursing Knowledge

  1. I really need your help.

    I'm about to graduate and feel as if I don't know nearly enough! In school, we are taught SO MUCH and retain SO LITTLE. I feel like my brain has been overloaded with details about disease processes, obscure medications, and such (much of which I don't even remember) and I don't have the essential “down and dirty” nursing knowledge that I will use on a day to day basis. Don't get me wrong, the details that I learned in nursing school will be very useful and will provide me with a strong foundation for nursing decisions but, right now, I just want to make sure I have enough basic knowledge to not kill anyone (and to effectively respond to the common patient problems).

    When I get nervous, I make lists. And that's where I'm hoping you can help me. I want to make a list of the absolutely essential knowledge and skills that I need to know to be a somewhat competent graduate nurse. I think it would ease my mind so much to be able to go through and review the things that I absolutely need to know.

    So... what are some things that you think fall into the category of essential nursing knowledge? (particularly for a med-surg floor) Which things (technical skills included) will I encounter frequently. Which lab values do I need to make sure I know the meanings of? Which medications do I need to know? Which problems do I absolutely need to know how to respond to? Which diseases processes do I need to understand most?

    Thanks so much!
    Last edit by belabelisa on Oct 27, '07
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    About belabelisa

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 79; Likes: 6
    Clinical Trials Nurse
    Specialty: Oncology


  3. by   belabelisa
    Since it's my question, I'll go ahead and respond with some of the things I think are good to know...

    Lab Values:
    PT, PTT, and INR.
    White Blood Cell Count
    The Cardiac Enzyme Markers

    How to respond to:
    Decreased O2 Saturation
    Hypertensive Crisis
    Crazy High or Low Blood Glucose
    Respiratory Distress
    Signs of MI
    Fluid Overload

    Technical Skills:
    IVs and IV Pumps (Of Course)
    Dosage Calculations
    Trach Care
    Central Lines
    Feeding Tubes

    Morphine (I work on an oncology unit)
    Coumadin and Heparin

    Okay - that's a start.