Loving Nursing! 8 Tips For New Grads

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Well I'm back! Most will not remember, but I has here moaning about being a new grad and working on a cardiac unit back in February. Scared and feeling helpless, knowing next to nothing, and just hoping I didn't hurt anyone. As an old time LPN in LTC to RN on a very fast paced cardiac floor, I was a fish out of water just trying to survive. 

Now, here I am 6 months in and absolutely in love with my position. We have a great team, and I never feel like my questions are dumb anymore. One of my mentors said the other day " only a few short weeks ago, you were a toddler asking all the why's, and now look at you, all grown up." 

Tips For New Grads 

TIP #1 Never forget the CNA's are people too! Appreciate them! They can make or break your day. Often they know more than you, so ask questions. Help them, and be kind, They work so hard, and are often underpaid. Do not demean their position, without them you would absolutely drown. 

TIP #2 Sign up for everything! I am now chemo certified, ACLS as well. I watch for any opportunity to learn something new, and ask to be a part of it. 

TIP #3 Ask your coworkers to keep you in mind if they have something interesting going on in one of their rooms. Take the opportunity (if you can spare a minute or two) to observe and/or participate in that activity. As an example, a coworker had a patient that had a classic deviated trachea, and pronounced jvd. I had not had an opportunity to see this outside of textbooks, and she called me in so that I could see it first hand. 

TIP #4 Do not shy away from new or uncomfortable tasks. Get in there! I offer to try IV starts all the time, not because I am any good at it, but for the experience, so I get better. 

TIP #5 Ask! If you have any doubts, or even just to get reassurance that you are on the right track, ask! I once had an MD that ordered a pain medication for a patient, that I had no idea was too high of a dose (so task oriented as a new nurse, sometimes you forget to think). I happened to mention the dose to a coworker, who questioned the dose, and prevented me from committing a huge med error.

TIP #6 Really, you do not know everything (and if you do, or think you do, you should re-evaluate, because you don't) I go to those nurse's that have been on the floor since the brick and mortar was laid. They are, and will always be your best source of information. Yes, they may be cranky, or even seen as rude, suck it up. They will be the ones who save your butt when the ship starts to sink, so even if you get a short quipped answer, remember they have put in their time, but have the knowledge you seek, so find a way to communicate with them.

TIP #7 Learn on your off time. Okay, I know you are exhausted. I am as well. But, you can't learn it all on the floor. Take some time to research your speciality. Watch evidenced based videos to increase your understanding on particular tasks, or concepts on your own time. You will feel more confident, trust me. 

TIP #8 Lastly, laugh at yourself. I documented a groin site following a heart cath on the wrong side all shift. I assessed the correct side, but evidently I don't know my left from my right, or I was to exhausted, and was just going from muscle memory. I had to go back and change all my documentation. It sucked, and I was embarrassed, but at the end of the day I just had to laugh. I won't do that again ? 

In conclusion, you are new. I am new. But someday, we will be the seasoned nurses, and new nurslings will be coming to us, so in the meantime, take care of yourself, be kind, and soak up everything you can. It will get better. 

JKL33

6,461 Posts

Great tips!

guest1163268

2,215 Posts

On 8/16/2021 at 10:30 AM, autism4life said:

Well I'm back! Most will not remember, but I has here moaning about being a new grad and working on a cardiac unit back in February. Scared and feeling helpless, knowing next to nothing, and just hoping I didn't hurt anyone. As an old time LPN in LTC to RN on a very fast paced cardiac floor, I was a fish out of water just trying to survive. 

Now, here I am 6 months in and absolutely in love with my position. We have a great team, and I never feel like my questions are dumb anymore. One of my mentors said the other day " only a few short weeks ago, you were a toddler asking all the why's, and now look at you, all grown up." 

Tips For New Grads 

TIP #1 Never forget the CNA's are people too! Appreciate them! They can make or break your day. Often they know more than you, so ask questions. Help them, and be kind, They work so hard, and are often underpaid. Do not demean their position, without them you would absolutely drown. 

TIP #2 Sign up for everything! I am now chemo certified, ACLS as well. I watch for any opportunity to learn something new, and ask to be a part of it. 

TIP #3 Ask your coworkers to keep you in mind if they have something interesting going on in one of their rooms. Take the opportunity (if you can spare a minute or two) to observe and/or participate in that activity. As an example, a coworker had a patient that had a classic deviated trachea, and pronounced jvd. I had not had an opportunity to see this outside of textbooks, and she called me in so that I could see it first hand. 

TIP #4 Do not shy away from new or uncomfortable tasks. Get in there! I offer to try IV starts all the time, not because I am any good at it, but for the experience, so I get better. 

TIP #5 Ask! If you have any doubts, or even just to get reassurance that you are on the right track, ask! I once had an MD that ordered a pain medication for a patient, that I had no idea was too high of a dose (so task oriented as a new nurse, sometimes you forget to think). I happened to mention the dose to a coworker, who questioned the dose, and prevented me from committing a huge med error.

TIP #6 Really, you do not know everything (and if you do, or think you do, you should re-evaluate, because you don't) I go to those nurse's that have been on the floor since the brick and mortar was laid. They are, and will always be your best source of information. Yes, they may be cranky, or even seen as rude, suck it up. They will be the ones who save your butt when the ship starts to sink, so even if you get a short quipped answer, remember they have put in their time, but have the knowledge you seek, so find a way to communicate with them.

TIP #7 Learn on your off time. Okay, I know you are exhausted. I am as well. But, you can't learn it all on the floor. Take some time to research your speciality. Watch evidenced based videos to increase your understanding on particular tasks, or concepts on your own time. You will feel more confident, trust me. 

TIP #8 Lastly, laugh at yourself. I documented a groin site following a heart cath on the wrong side all shift. I assessed the correct side, but evidently I don't know my left from my right, or I was to exhausted, and was just going from muscle memory. I had to go back and change all my documentation. It sucked, and I was embarrassed, but at the end of the day I just had to laugh. I won't do that again ? 

In conclusion, you are new. I am new. But someday, we will be the seasoned nurses, and new nurslings will be coming to us, so in the meantime, take care of yourself, be kind, and soak up everything you can. It will get better. 

Don’t change your attitude for anyone. I love your passion. Explore the biology and Chemistry as well and you will be even more amazed. So many people ignore the amazing machine that we have access to and the extremely fine tolerances that we function under. I love the science aspect more than anything else! All of these systems harvested from so many different organisms and modified to suit our needs for the sole purpose of reproduction! 

I forgot, explore the physics as well. You would be surprised at how much biomechanics principles occur in real world applications. 

Good luck to you ????

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Specializes in LVN-LTC. Has 2 years experience.

thanks , very encouraging for a new nurse like me ?