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New Grad in the E.R. During COVID-19

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Specializes in Emergency/Trauma Nursing.

Hey there. New nurse here, about to start my first position in the E.R. at a busy, inner-city level-1 trauma center (full-time, nights) in one week. I'm moving all the way across the country for this position, away from my family and my friends, and I'm not gonna lie... 

I'm excited, but also a little terrified.

I don't have much experience in the E.R., but I sincerely want to become a really good E.R. nurse, who contributes to my team as much as to my patients and their families. I want to succeed in this position more than I've wanted anything.

And I know that so many good nurses are burning out right now because of COVID, and I understand why. But I also want to hold onto my love for nursing for as long as possible... I have way too far and too long a road ahead of me in my nursing career to crash and burn just yet. If possible, anyway. 🙂 

Do any of you more seasoned nurses out there have any solid advice for me to help me succeed, stay sane, do well, make the most of being a new grad nurse in the E.R. during COVID-19?
Experienced or new grad...any insight is welcome and appreciated 

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Focus on learning the basics of ER care. You WILL burn out if you try to minister to patients and families.  Take care of yourself first.. you have a lot on your plate.

You might want to post this on the ER nursing page.

Good luck.

Use good discretion in what you choose to get ramped up about. There's almost nothing that's worth it--only safety issues, significant ethical issues or habitually poor treatment, really. Avoid gossip like the plague; that goes for badmouthing peers, docs and patients/family members and anyone else.

Do your best to focus on the work itself, not all the stuff that makes it quite a trip. And it will be a trip. 🤪👍🏽 If an issue arises that needs to be handled, do it in a professional manner.

Carry yourself in a pleasantly assertive manner.

The above will save you much grief and frustration. Stay in a positive frame of mind.

Good luck!

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

You are definitely coming into nursing in a challenging time and I think the ER has specific challenges many of us in other areas don't experience. Nurses everywhere, though, are more tired and frustrated than I think they have been in the past, so be aware that your work environment may be difficult to navigate at first. Try to seek out nurses that are calm and rational and show them you have a positive attitude, you will find support in them. As already pointed out, try to avoid the unnecessary drama and gossip of nurses that will focus on the negative and try to suck you in there. 

I don't have any specific information for the ED, I've never worked there, but you are going to get a lot of training quickly. No matter how hard you try, you can't get 10 years of experience in a three month orientation. Give yourself grace to be a new nurse, you can't know it all, and you're not expected to know it all. Just be open to the learning and do your best. Also, moving away from your home environment adds additional challenges in lacking a support system outside of work. Try to join a gym or find a book club, something that gives you people outside of work that you can meet and enjoy your downtime together.  Good luck!

Drewseph, ADN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma Nursing.

Thank you all for your advice!! This is golden, and I will follow it closely!

As an orientee, your job is not to take care of patients.  Your job is to learn how to take care of patients.  Once those training wheels are off, you want to be a strong a nurse as you can.

Don't be distracted by the chaos- your job is to learn.

Drewseph, ADN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma Nursing.

15 hours ago, hherrn said:

As an orientee, your job is not to take care of patients.  Your job is to learn how to take care of patients.  Once those training wheels are off, you want to be a strong a nurse as you can.

Don't be distracted by the chaos- your job is to learn.

Well that's good to hear, because I definitely don't feel ready to take care of patients just yet 🙂