Hi LargoLPN. Congratulations on your accomplishment!
Pointers, okay let's see. I've been an LVN for over 8 years now and remember very clearly my first nursing jobs. It's tough going from a few patients to 15, 30 or more. I've had as many as 45 under my care but I had alot more experience at that time. It's not a good thing but it's the nature of the beast when you are understaffed.
Anyway, here's my advice:
1. Get a strong orientation from whoever is your "trainer".
2. Ask lots of questions and don't be turned off by people who get irritated or seem annoyed. Asking questions is the only way to know what's going on.
3. Carry a notebook (small one that will fit in your pocket) and write everything down. Make notes to yourself that will jog your memory etc. It's helpful to tape a list of extensions or other pertinent info inside the cover for quick reference. Sometimes the lists aren't readily available by the phone.
4. Get a blank copy of the resident list (if you are going to work in a nursing home or the like) and make notes next to each name that will be little reminders for you. For instance: Rm 102A Jones, John...crush meds, likes applesauce not jelly, watch for food hiding... Things like that will be invaluable as you get to know that resident. You will be like family to them and you will get to know them all really well. In the beginning, it's hard to keep names and faces in mind. Review often.
5. Always carry a black pen, a black sharpie marker (LOVE THOSE MARKERS!!!! :chuckle , and a highlighter. Why? Because you will need all these things at one point or another during the day and it's a huge help to have them on hand in your pockets. Think kangaroo...
6. Take the time to really look around and get to know where everything is. Go through the med room, the med cart and MARS. Find where the linen is kept and where the dirty stuff goes.
7. Get a really good pair of sneakers because you will definitely be on your feet. I suggest investing in a foot whirpool. They come with massagers and everything now and you can get them for as low as $20. Check out Wal-mart and Target.
8. Lastly, ORGANIZATION is key. You'll find your system as you go along. Whatever works best for you and keeps you as efficient as possible without cutting corners on quality. It can be done. I've done it and so have lots of other nurses. Just hang in there and stay positive and focused.
Remember, you don't have to stay in a place where the conditions are so bad you hate going to work in the morning. there are so many options out there and nurses can always find work. I have never looked for a job and not been able to find one.
I wish you the very best and send a prayer and a hug for you. If I can be of any other help, please don't hesitate to PM me or post or whatever.
Take care and God bless you!