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5 must-know tips for new RN

Nurses   (964 Views 14 Comments)
by anm anm (Member)

626 Visitors; 26 Posts

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Hello!

There have been many very helpful posts on this topic, but I am curious if anyone has pointers specific to a new grad RN on a general medical floor. I'll be starting this job soon and am hoping to succeed as much as I possibly can. FYI I'm on 12-hour day shifts with 8+ weeks of preceptor-based training.

 

Looking for self-care tips, prioritization, time management, general advice...pretty much anything you felt was instrumental to making it when you first started working. Thank you! 

Edited by anm

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16,957 Visitors; 1,558 Posts

Learn how to eat well and exercise on your schedule.

 

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

10 Followers; 33,489 Visitors; 3,216 Posts

I've harped on about this on other threads:  use a worksheet.  If your unit doesn't have preprinted ones, or you don't like the ones they have, develop one of your own.  It will be the best tool you can use for time management.

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JBMmom has 6 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care.

1 Follower; 11,574 Visitors; 730 Posts

I absolutely second the worksheet idea. A good report sheet on a med surg floor is the key to success. It can give you what you need in order to be successful in time management, and that is what will make or break your shifts. Twelve hours is long enough, especially when they're back to back you need to avoid staying late on that first day to catch up charting and stuff. You're going to be overwhelmed at first, don't take that as a sign of impending failure. It's a big learning curve, but hopefully your preceptor and the training program at your hospital is set up to guide you to success. I loved my time in med-surg, you see a bit of everything and learn a lot of stuff. Good luck!!

 

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN.

15,779 Visitors; 819 Posts

Strike a good balance between seeking out answers for yourself and asking questions. Both are good approaches under the right circumstances. If something is urgent and/or you're lost on to where to find the answer, that's a good time to ask (and possibly step back and observe for a minute). Things like med admin instructions, lab value meanings, etc., you can most likely at least start finding the answer to yourself, asking your preceptor for clarification when needed. My experience has been that if you show you are working to be more independent, people are happy to help when you need their input.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 29,253 Visitors; 4,156 Posts

Whatever your means of transportation, have a backup plan or a couple of alternate routes; you have to be on time in nursing. If childcare is an issue, have a couple of backup plans for that too.

Figure out how you will feed yourself.  Cook in advance? Crock-pot? Too much snack food and takeout is not your friend in the long run.

At work, realize that your cannot do it all yourself in a general medicine floor. Learn to work with your aides. Delegate when you can and delegate fairly.

Before you call a doctor about a patient. Have all the relevant information ready first. Your charge nurse or another experienced nurse can tell you what questions to anticipate so you will call prepared.

Maintain a satisfying life outside of nursing. This job can be stressful and coming home to a relaxing environment and having a life outside of work will keep your morale high.

Get along with your coworkers while maintaining some strong boundaries around yourself. You will be liked, pleasant to work with but not become the subject of gossip because you overshared personal info.

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 44,604 Visitors; 5,519 Posts

Once you get time management down pat, the rest falls into place.

Don't look to your job to make you happy. It won't.

Spend time outside of work focusing on things that make you either happy or healthy - preferably both.

Get some good compression socks and wear them religiously. Trust me on this. Save your legs starting NOW.

Cultivate contentment in yourself and pride in what you do. Always remember that life is cyclical, so if you have a rough shift, chances are the next few will be better.

Forgive people for their humanity. It hurts you more than them to get bitter about it. Make the extension of grace toward others a habit. Make extending it toward yourself a habit too.

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by anm

626 Visitors; 26 Posts

awesome tips everyone. thank you so much for taking the time to pass some wisdom along! very appreciated 🙂

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

3,614 Visitors; 478 Posts

1.  Lookout for your fellow nurses. It's war out there and all you have is each other.

2.  If you can work nights. It's pays more, and is slower. Less family, less administration.

3. If you work nights "live nights".  So if you work 7P to 7AM and go to bed by 0900 and get up at 1700 on work days do the same on off days (unless you have a dentist appointment or something).  Much of the problem in working nights comes from the sleep deprivation of "changing over" on off days.  Accept that you are a creature of the night and embrace it.

4.  If you work nights consider practicing Intermittent Fasting as this is easier working nights and may provide protection against some of the health risks associated with working nights not covered by the above advice.

5.  Remember how you hated to be bullied as a new nurse or belittled in nursing school? Break the cycle and "do unto others" as you wish they had done to you, not as they may actually have done to you.

6.  Great facilities tend to have "type A" nurses who can be miserable to work with, and horrible administrations often have "type B" nurses who are a relative joy to work with.  In the same way med/surg nurses tend to be "easier going" and perhaps nicer than many ICU nurses. There are of course exceptions, but I find that the chaos, and misery of medical surgical often means the nurses are less "type A" an more into surviving another shift.

7.  Don't forget you can become a travel nurse and earn alot more money. You may still hate your job, but you can at least get paid more while hating it.  Money, makes most things somewhat better. Sure it cannot by happiness, but if Oprah feels really bad (or Mark Zuck) they can take a weekend trip to Fiji and "mellow out".  Earning more you might at least be able to afford a weekend at The Atlantis on Paradise Island.

8.  There is a bad way of doing things (unsafe and will get you into trouble eventually), an adequate way (usually good enough and often all you have time for), and better way (really good, you won't always be able to achieve this) and a superlative way.  If you only achieve the bad it's just a matter of time until you get into big trouble. However, if you always achieve the latter approach you are probably a miserable person to work with and are neglecting some other aspect of your care (if only to yourself and your coworkers).  

9.  Some of the people that you work with will be among the finest human beings that you could ever hope to meet, they will more than make up for the ones who are lacking.

10.  Remember, it is a blessing to be doing a job where at least the "goal" is to help others. Some people are put into a situation where they have to sell overpriced vacuum cleaners or rip off whole life insurance. You are doing something where at least the intent is to heal and that is a blessing.  

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Swellz has 6 years experience and specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown.

9,430 Visitors; 625 Posts

TAKE YOUR BREAK. No one is going to make sure that you eat.

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

1 Follower; 21,725 Visitors; 1,572 Posts

This is something I saw somewhere and swiped it. 

Screenshot_20190227-161715_Facebook.jpg

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1 Follower; 44,651 Visitors; 3,075 Posts

It takes a while to find what works for you, but get a routine down and except for a patient coding or bleeding profusely try to stick to your routine. The 100's of interruptions are what cause mistakes. 

For example, first make rounds on all your patients, unless you find a critical problem, don't stop to fix it, make a note of it and finish your rounds. 

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