What do experienced nurses expect from new nurses?

  1. Hi,

    I am just starting in a BSN program and would like something feedback from those of you who are already in the field. What is it that you wish new nurses were better prepared for? Is there anything that the recent graduates you work with seem to be lacking in training? Whether it is technical knowledge or bedside manner, please let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
  2. Visit alabama2 profile page

    About alabama2

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 2

    16 Comments

  3. by   smoo
    When I was a mentor I expected a student to have a basic knowledge. Did i expect you to know every disease process, med or what have you? No, I don't know everything myself. But, if you don't know something, then I expect the willingness to learn, and ask questions if you don't understand. Also show an interest, offer to do things, or at least a demonstration, then you do it the next time. There is nothing worse than a new nurse who already knows everything or who expects everything to be done by the book. We try as much as we can, but there just isn't enough time in the day to do every little thing by the book. Hopes this helps some.

    smoo
  4. by   Boston-RN
    Great thread, I'm a new grad myself and any advice/tips/words of wisdom from someone with experience is wonderful.
  5. by   nightingale
    Be as prepared as possible, have all your own tools, and be humble and pleasant to work with. Oh and keep good notes....

    Thanks for asking.
  6. by   nuangel1
    i agree with nightingale and smoo i expect you to have basic knowledge ,ask questions ,come prepared and be willing to be a team player and want to work and learn.
  7. by   Antikigirl
    In addition to the before mentioned, I would also add a personal note from me on how I like to interact with new grads.

    Many of the ones I run into are so stressed and don't believe too much in their abilities. That is a shame because that is a big wall in the way of learning and interacting with patients and staff. I try to make the newer nurse feel a little more comfortable and know that I am there for them if any questions arise or some help is needed. I also introduce them to the more social side of working, like meeting the Docs and other staff and getting a feel for teamwork!

    I think nursing is a good 80% social skill! So believing in yourself and being yourself really helps...at least I think so! Know your limitations or challenges ahead of you...like being newer, not knowing some things, learning, things you don't like to do, things that make you uncomfortable or sad...stuff like that. Knowing those right away really helps to take some of the confusion of "this is so much to learn!!!" out and puts it to the functional side of your personality so you can focus on tasks better .

    Being new is a opportunity to start really honing in on your active listening skills! Yeah, you may run into times when you know what someone is teaching/telling you, but the social aspect...they are trying to help (even some meaner ones...LOL) and listening and being respectful is always a win win! I had to bite my lip a few times (still do..LOL), but wow...people respect me more since I started just doing active listening to them! They feel I am really listening and respecting them in return! Good tool!

    And when it comes to reporting off to an MD or nurse...try to have your ducks in a row so to speak before you start. With MD's I ALWAYS have that chart handy because the moment you don't...they will ask a question you need the chart for...its a murphys law I think. (so get to know those charts well!!!). I have had a few Docs very upset because I have had to take time from them to find a chart. Nurses...they want to know what is up and what they need to know...so make it brief but informative, and SAME with paramedics (they have to know pt condition and what not for transport since they are responsible for their pt too!!!).

    WOW...quite a long post here...I will end with that.

    OH..and try to have fun...I did, and making it fun and learning was a great benifit to me and others around me !
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    GOOD question!

    Sounds as if you are off to the right start.

    Personally I don't expect too much. Show up ON TIME and READY to learn/work. It's really very simple for me.
  9. by   HollieRN
    Hi there!

    I'm a new nurse as well ... I agree w/ everything above !!

    My preceptor and clinical educator stressed ASKING QUESTIONS! Never let something go if you're unsure. Never put yourself in an unsafe situation, where you could've had help, because you were too afraid to ask.

    Also, it is normal to not know the answers to everything. I've found that the key is to know where to go for those answers. For now, your biggest resource will be your preceptor and fellow nurses. Eventually you will learn what other resources you have (MDs, pharmacy, OT/PT, ... etc.) and how to access them.
  10. by   buddiage
    great thread!
  11. by   Lara911
    Just want to say that I'm glad to see that so many people still want to do this job, we ear often complaints about our jobs, in Canada this is less popular than ever to become a nurse, some complaints are true but I think, this is really a nice job, not easy but it worth it...and I think that is very nice of you to wonder what are the expectations as you want to succeed...so I wish you goodluck, do what you do with your heart, be yourself, never be afraid to ask, I don't know one experienced nurse ( ok maye one or two but we are millions so!!)...who is not happy to give the teaching to a motivated person...
  12. by   PedsER-RN
    Quote from alabama2
    hi,

    i am just starting in a bsn program and would like something feedback from those of you who are already in the field. what is it that you wish new nurses were better prepared for? is there anything that the recent graduates you work with seem to be lacking in training? whether it is technical knowledge or bedside manner, please let me know what you think.

    thanks,
    don't come in expecting to (or acting like) you know everything (not an attack against you personally, just a general rule for anyone new to a unit). if you don't know, ask someone. if you're unsure of a procedure, talk about it, watch/assist another nurse, then try it! i precepted a float nurse the other night (who also works peds, just another dept.) and even after watching me do several straight caths, when i offered to let her do one, her reply was "oh, i think i'll just watch". almost as bad as the nurse who "knows" everything is the nurse who won't do anything. :angryfire
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]it's perfectly fine to look up meds (shoot, i still do from time to time)-we all do.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]if you feel overwhelmed, say so. your preceptor might have some suggestions for things to go smoother.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]if you're unsure of your charting, ask someone to read it (hey-it is a legal document....can't hurt to have another set of eyes).
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]don't expect to get the most critical/interesting case right off the bat. everyone starts with something more basic and works up to something more complex.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]if you have down time, offer to help the nurses, aids, secretary, anyone (same goes for experienced nurses).

    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]as far as new grads lacking something, the majority of the ones i've dealt with recently (3 out of 4) have lacked a strong work ethic. they dawdle, don't jump in and help others, have to be constantly reminded what to do, and basically lack common sense. this is soooo frustrating. i'm guessing you won't have this problem since you're on here asking for help!
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]pretty much if you show a strong interest in what you're doing and are actively seeking opportunities to learn, you'll do fine. be proactive! in my area (er), if we've got a trauma or an ems, for example, i like to see the new grads at least jump in and get the patient on the monitors. it gets them a feel for what's going on and gets them used to people bumping in to them and 20 things going on at once. then from there they can work their way up to starting iv's, getting ekgs, bagging, assessing, etc.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]good luck. hope this helps, and sorry it's so long. :typing
  13. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from smoo
    There is nothing worse than a new nurse who already knows everything or who expects everything to be done by the book.

    smoo
    truer words never spoken.
    when i was a nsg student, it was drilled into our heads to always act like we knew what we were doing, and doing your homework later. don't ask questions, just listen and appear confident.

    my very first job after graduating, my preceptor couldn't believe i didn't have any questions.
    even worse, during my orientation, i would add to what the preceptor was telling me, just to show off my knowledge base.

    evidentally one day she overheard me on the phone, crying to ?, about how i'll never learn all this...
    next time she saw me, she cornered me and told me what she overheard:
    and that she was here for me.
    i felt 100 lbs lighter.
    my facade was gone.
    i had been humbled.
    and from that day on, i acted like the brand spanking new nurse that i was.
    nothing too neurotic.
    but enough where my preceptor could put her maternal arm around me and gently encourage me to go on.

    so yeah.
    don't act like you know it all.
    'cause you don't.
    take it from someone who thought she knew.

    leslie
  14. by   mariedoreen
    I thought as a new nurse I had to be able to handle ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Talk about scary. In our last semester an instructor told us to always remember that we are not an island, that there is a world of help around us. I remember when it really hit home for me: I asked an RN during orientation what would be expected of me as a new nurse during a code. She looked at me and said, can you do compressions? Well, of course. Okay, she said, then those who know what they're doing will do everything else, and eventually, with experience... you'll become one of those people.

    As a new grad I was gauging my readiness for being on my own on how many questions I had to ask during my shift. When the DON figured out why I wasn't comfortable with exiting out of orientation she told me that I would have questions for the rest of my career and that was not an adequate reason. I like that they expect me to feel unsure, to ask questions, to not know everything. I've learned that as long as I know when to ask and do it, as long as I make a concentrated effort to learn and practice my skills whenever possible, then everything's ok.

    I'm not shy about who I ask either, CNAs, other nurses, the charge nurse, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, MDs... if I think they can help me and they're moving slower than I am, then they're IT. I just make sure to give pertinent info only and ask that question fast, cause they're busy too.

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