Quote from ChickenJoyRN,BSN
-I know I'm going to struggle for the first 2-3 months or so. I've been told everyone usually does. What are the top 3-5 tips/advice you can give based on my situation?
-What is the worst thing I can do? For example, "Don't ever, ever do....." And I know the obvious, don't kill anyone, any other scenarios will help. What is the best thing I can do? For example, " You should always, always do this........"
-How can I gain respect of CNA's, LVN's, peers, and staff? Some of the people here look older than me and have been there a long time. How does a young, new grad come in and give them orders while gaining respect?
-What does a normal, routine day consist of for an new grad RN? What does a catastrophic day consist of for a new grad RN?
-I loved being a server/bartender for 5 years. In the back of my mind I'm thinking 1:30 ratio may bring me back to my serving days. I understand that there is a lot more risk involved and more critical thinking required, but do you think my serving/bartending experience will help me care for my patients?
-What are the top 3-5 tips/advice while being oriented? What are the top 3-5 things that should consistently replay in my head as my shift goes on?
I'm a December BSN grad. Just finished my first three months on the job. Perfect? No. But I believe I've gotten off to a good start. Some thoughts:
Rule No. 1: No matter how far behind you are, don't rush -- and don't let anyone rush you. It's too easy to make a mistake when you're trying to maintain a pace that is probably unrealistic anyway. Always, always safety first.
Recognize that the aides and LVNs have a lot to teach you, and thank them when they help you learn. Respect should be mutual. Acknowledging your own inexperience -- and respecting theirs -- is a first step toward earning it. Don't just delegate tasks. Offer to help them when they're taking on something you haven't done before. You'll lend a hand and learn at the same time. The CNA I work with most is a great instructor.
Ask for feedback constantly. My greatest ally at work is my nursing supervisor. We talk at least once per shift about what's gone right and what could go better. Don't wait for a formal review for management comments. Initiate the conversation yourself. Have that conversation with everyone on the team, not just your manager.
I don't have a typical day. My unit works at a very fast pace. I haven't had a catastrophic day (yet!) but I think that's because I recognize my inexperience. Ask for help as soon as you realize you're in over your head. Remember that saying "I don't know" or "I need help" is not a sign of weakness. You are instead demonstrating that you know what you don't know, recognize your limitations, and put patient safety before your own ego.
Finally, recognize what you have to offer: You're new, you've just been taught the latest standards and techniques, and you bring energy and enthusiasm to the unit. Not everyone wants to help a new grad. But among those who do, you'll remind them of why they are nurses, and they just might take that extra moment to give you the constructive feedback you need.
Will being a bartender help? I think so -- but that's because I think life experience of any kind helps you to be a better nurse. Some nurses struggle to talk casually with patients. Maybe your experience will make it easier for you to establish rapport.
Good luck, and congratulations on your new job.