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If you could give one piece of advice back when you were a new grad RN, what would it be?

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As a new grad RN myself, I am always curious about what experienced nurses would want to tell a younger version of themselves. 

If you could give one piece of advice back when you were a new grad RN, what would it be?

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Eat lunch. The workload on this med-surg floor is crushing and you need your strength. You come in a bit early and leave late every day. Even if you only take ten minutes to sit down and get something to eat and drink, you will perform better.

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It is OK that you don't know everything right now (nursing school does not teach you everything you need to know). It is OK to ask for help and don't let anyone tell you/make you feel stupid for asking. Don't necessarily take someone else's word for something, check for yourself.

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Do the 5 rights of medication administration Every. Single. Time!

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Schedule your free time like it’s your job. Then use that free time to do things outside of work. Your mind needs that break.  

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It's never OK to be overworked to the point that you feel you're not practicing safely. If you feel that way, speak up.

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Hang in there.  Every new grad is struggling along with you.

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SLOW down when giving meds or treatments. Other times you can hurry, but letting someone pressure you to work too quickly or being distracted while pulling your meds can hurt or kill your patient and ruin your life. 

STOP and FOCUS while you prepare and give meds. Don't do any shortcuts whatsoever. Don't allow people to talk to you while you do this. Lives depend on it.

 

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Be discerning in selecting your first (and, if that doesn't work out despite your best efforts, your second) nursing job. Unless you have no other option, don't ignore the major red flags that you see just to be hired and have a nursing job. Longevity is important in nursing, and you don't want to end up looking like a job hopper because your first facility chews up its employees and burns through them like wildfire.

That being said, you'll still be ok if it takes a while for you to find your niche.

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I just hit two years officially a few days ago.

So still a youngin’.

But:

Nursing is 24/7 care. You only work 12 of those hours, give or take. You’re not going to complete every.single.task. An order will always pop up 5 minutes before the end of your shift. Sometimes, you need to leave it to the next shift. And that’s ok. Do your best, and safety first ... don’t leave them hanging but ... 24/7.

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More new nurses fail at orientation because their new colleagues don't like them than for any other reason.  So it's not enough to concentrate on the job, on giving meds safely and correctly, drawing the labs, critical thinking, etc.  You have to work at your workplace relationships as well.  

A new nurse who is well liked will be well-mentored.  A nurse who is disliked will not be, even if she does everything else right.

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I wouldn't put it quite as bluntly as Ruby Vee did above, but she makes a good point.   It is important to get along with your co-workers.   Nursing is a "team activity" and not a solo sport.   We all need help/support at times and having positive relationships with your co-workers can be big factor in determining how much help and support you get.

Don't forget that in getting a new job, you are joining a team -- and you need to be a good team player to be successful and accepted as a member of that team.

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