10 major things a new grad should know

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in L&D, Ambulatory Care.

If you all could name 10 things you think are ESSENTIAL for a new nurse to know, what would they be?

I know it's hard to pick just 10, but I didn't want people going nuts on this question.



458 Posts

That, of course, depends on the new grad. :D

In surgery, here are my top ten:

1. Don't just stand there!! Jump in and learn something.

2. Know when to say "I don't know."

3. Know when to say "Thank you."

4. Don't assume that just because your someone tells you something.....it's fact.

5. Must be AUTONOMOUS....do things without people telling you to do it.

6. When someone offers to give you a break....TAKE IT! 'Cause you may not get one next time.

7. Know that there will always be change and you can't stop it.

8. Know that there is much information to be learned in the nurses lounge.....just listen.;)

9. Have the ability to do your job and watch your back at the same time.

10. Develop a thick, thick hide.....because all doctors are angels, aren't they?? :rolleyes:

As far as skills go, that will depend on the department you work in. Every department develops different skills and all those skills are just as important as the other. Don't worry...they will know you just graduated and don't expect you to know EVERYTHING.



128 Posts

Specializes in L&D, Ambulatory Care.

Well I'm hoping to work in L&D.

If I don't find a position on a L&D floor, I don't know what I'm going to do, I hate med/surg!



458 Posts

Melissa, read my answer again...I was adding to it when you posted.



255 Posts

1. Being a patient advocate is harder than you might think. Remember to stand your ground and be assertive -- but also remember to allow yourself to learn.

2. Many times, families are harder to deal with than the patient.

3. Nobody wants to be in the hospital -- including those that work there.

4. Label all your IV tubing. When the poo hits the fan, you'll thank me.

5. Don't skimp on the backrubs. It's a wonder health benefit for the patients, it gives you great assessment opportunities, and the patients will love you for it.

6. Appreciate the nursing assistants.

7. Ask for help.

8. Remember the five rights and the location of the drug book.

9. Have all the information available and within reach when you call.

10. Nursing is a lifelong learning experience. If you know it all, you're a terrible nurse.

OC_An Khe

1,018 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED.

Just one suggestion. Remember the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask.


455 Posts

1. Know vital signs on all your patients at the beginning of the shift and monitor them.

2. Know the 5 rights of med administration and use them.

3. check all meds 3 times before giving them.

4. Know sterile technique; dont deviate if at all possible.

5. Follow universal precautions and isolation precautions.

6. Label IV tubing (I agree with Matt)

7. Check IV sites often, same goes with 02

8. Say thank you when you get help and return the favor when another needs your help.

9. Don't tell your patient what they need. Ask them what their needs are.

10. Stay away from the nurses station unless you absolutely need to be there.



829 Posts

originally posted by melissact

well i'm hoping to work in l&d.

okee dokee....from an l&d nurse perspective....here's my list...

1. i agree w/the iv site thing...and the iv tubing thing. be a detail nut. if you have to go to court, you'll be glad you were so anal about details.

2. document your butt off. remember, if it wasn't documented, it didn't happen!

3. say please and thank you....remember your manners.

4. being on the good side of the evironmental services (housekeeping) staff is a godsend.....if they like you, they'll bend over backward for you.

5. ditto for the cna...

6. an external uterine contraction monitor never, ever, ever, ever tells the strength/intensity of a contraction....no matter how "big" it looks....just my personal pet peeve. ;)

7. in the nurses' lounge, 'tis better to remember that god gave you 2 ears and only 1 mouth....simply listen and keep your mouth shut. you'll learn a lot and stay out of trouble that way.

8. be honest with people. do not lie. do not manipulate. do not play head games. refuse to play into people that do.

9. support hose are god's gift to feet and veins. no matter how young or old you are.

10. caller id is a necessity...then you know when the unit is calling you to beg you to work....lol!

**** ooo! one more thing.....if you have a favorite pen,

make sure your name is on it! :)


255 Posts

Originally posted by shay

10. Caller ID is a necessity...then you KNOW when the unit is calling you to beg you to work....LOL

Ain't that the truth! I love my caller ID!

micro, RN

1,173 Posts

1) I am a new graduate, but I have worked long and hard to get here...........teach me well and I will be great!!!!!

2) I don't know everything on my first day out.....and don't expect to.........share your wealth and knowledge with me and I will become a mentor to new nurses in the future.

3) I will not lose my ideals of the nursing profession, when I see and first hand/heart experience the harsh reality of it.........(but will adapt so as to survive)

now on lighter note for the last seven???

4) if you thought you were in it for the bucks......then see you at ...........i would like fries with that.........

5) that is what on your uniform????? from where???? asked by someone that knows you, but does not work in the health care field.........

6) well all you do in nursing is pass a couple of tylenols and read magazines anyway isn't it.................(asked by your sister in law who doesn't work)

7) well I am preceptoring you, so I will sit at the desk and you will have these seven patients...........pt. #1 has to have tap water enemas till clear X3 pt. #2 is in atrial fib with a little atrial flutter.....nothing to worry about(know you haven't had telemetry class, but trust me), and pt. #3 well, multiple system organ failure...........you will learn a lot from hands on care with this patient.......oh, well the rest of the patients you have, read the mail/patient care indexes.......I have to check what is on the menu line........................

nursing students hang in there....................

it is worth it.......if you have the heart and the thick skin needed to be a nurse nowadays.......................

99% of preceptors, mentors and just fellow nurses out there are truly great and nice.......and welcome all into the ranks..................

just remember #1 priority is yourself.......cause if you don't care for yourself.....then how can you care for others.............



128 Posts

Specializes in L&D, Ambulatory Care.

Thank you all for your replies, I printed them!!



646 Posts

1. Look up the labs yourself or else you will be (eventually) royally screwed if you go by what you were told in report.

2. Don't bother coming in early to "get a jump on things" because more than half your admits come at the end of shift and you won't get out on time anyway.

3. Make sure you have the following items in front of your face when calling the MD; VS, latest labs, any allergies, pts complete history, family phone numbers, all meds they are currently taking or took at home or took at some time during hospitalization but were d/c, know all consults and be able to read all forms of chickenscratch written by consulting MD's.

4. Stand UP for yourself if you are "mobbed" by the more experienced nurse, you MUST be assertive. Do NOT let it go....it will then only get worse.

5. It's not just you....everyone has 13 or more preceptors when on orientation. Do NOT agree to have your orientation curt-tailed because "you are doing wonderfully, you're ready to fly alone...we're short tonight anyway."

6. If your pt is crashing and the resident won't come....call the attending at home. The resident will leave skid marks on the floor next time you call with a crashing pt. PS: The attending has thanked me in both cases I called her/him at home so I'm speaking from experience...don't be afraid.

7. Wash your hands religiously

8. Try to treat pts like they are your Mom or Dad.

9. Don't judge pts, you are not God, you are there to take care of them, give information and support.

10. Never stop learning. There's always something new coming down the pipe.

11. CNA's who do their jobs are worth their weights in gold, diamonds, whatever jewell you can think of. Treat them well. Say "Thanks for your help" buy pizza for dinner, do your own FS, VS, or taking pts to the BR when it's a crazy night with only 1 CNA.

Ooops! I'm past 10!


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