Positive Reinforcement For The Nurse And The Nursing Student

We can make it better for first-time nurses. I remember my first day as a nurse as if it was yesterday ... "I finally made it and what a rush"! Then, one day my world fell apart. Nurses General Nursing Article

Positive Reinforcement For The Nurse And The Nursing Student

I had a great day and couldn't wait to come back... This was so awesome and I was a NURSE!

Well, guess what?

Reality soon settled in and all of a sudden I felt like a ship lost at sea. No one helped me, my preceptor was condescending and wanted to know why I was so slow and stop teaching---get those meds out!

Then, one day my world fell apart and I decided I just had to go to a different unit. I did and things were so much better...BUT, things should have been different on the first unit and all it would take is a little bit of positive reinforcement, a little bit of encouragement, a whole lot of patience and the ability to empathize with the new nurse or nursing student.

Hey, no one is born a nurse. We all were there at one time or another.

So, here is my remedy for successful nurturing of the new nursing generation:

Be kind and welcoming on their first day

it is a big new world for them and they will get lost, forget their lunch money, forget your name, and possibly be totally overwhelmed with the whole floor. Introduce them to the doctors so they will have a sense of belonging.

Leave your attitudes at the door

You are not there to influence any of their opinions, you are there to be their mentor, teacher, leader, etc.

Be abundantly patient with them

No one knows everything, not even you, and everyone learns at a different rate. If you want them to learn and learn well patient will help them to practice the fine art of nursing.

Praise them

Praise them highly for doing well and never criticize them at the nurses' station (please take them aside, alone and speak with them). It is hard enough to be new without being embarrassed too.

Evaluate them

Evaluate them on their merits, not their popularity, looks, or your opinion of their dress, the school they went to etc.

Don't play sink or swim with them

Let them work their way up to a full load, let them learn to do things but don't leave them all alone, give them a chance to see new things, positive experiences will help them spread their wings

Don't expect them to follow your every move

Or way of doing things, they will be successful when they learn how to do things their way. Speed is less important than accuracy especially with meds... get them used to know what they are giving and why they are giving it---not just blindly giving something that is on the MAR---it could be a mistake!

Remind them to take their breaks

And to go to the bathroom, and have some fun once in a while---and to leave work at work

Remind them to watch their tongue around management

And supervisors, team leaders etc, because the toes you step on today could be attached to them but you'll have to kiss tomorrow!

Above all, please, teach them to be kind, compassionate and caring. Let them learn empathy so they view a patient as they would their family member---then they will follow the Golden Rule.

We need the next generation of nurses desperately, because without them-- "WHO WILL CARE FOR US"?

RN experience in med/surg, TELE, CM

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1st year RN student. From your lips to everyones ears! Thank you! And to the students reading this, if you don't know how, ask for help. I would rather feel uncomfortable about not knowing than make a mistake. I hope I find a mentor like you at my first position.

that ws well put....... i am a nursing student and just started this semester....please let me find a great mentor with my first clinical and first nursing job...... thanks got to go study.......

Specializes in Long term care.

I couldn't agree more. My contracted place of employment had the nerve to tell me on my first day they only thing that they'd hoped for is that they didn't hire a new nurse or a young nurse and now they were stuck with both. Talk about discouraging. Since that first day I have had a chip on my shoulder toward them and that makes a job difficult. I have since far surpassed their expectations, but I don't want to hear their congrats. I want my contract to end so another employer can appreciate what wonderful skills I have to offer not only to them but my patients!

My wife just recently quit her 1st position as a NICU nurse, right out of school. Management was in shambles and prior to her getting hired, they had 13 people put in their notice. This was hidden from all the new hires, and once those 13 left, the workload doubled for many on staff. Current nurses and management did little to help the new hires/GN's and once my wife put in her notice, 7 others followed suit. My wife now works for the state as a School Nurse. It was quite astonishing how sweet and welcoming and overly helpful the latter were, in comparison to those in the NICU she was previously at.

i am a 3rd semester nursing student and i cant believe the attitude towards nursing students/new nurses/aides (our eyes and ears). i know people have bad days and work can be chaos but we are professionals and should handle it as such...i can promise i will never ever be a nurse that forgets where she came from!:heartbeat

I am a 4th semester student and I have not applied for work yet because I am afraid of the attitudes you have described. I am not confident and I am worried about getting out there and drowning (or hurting a patient). If only they were all like you as well as the instructors in school. Thank you for your kindness and consideration.:yeah::heartbeat

Thanks i need encouragement today i am trying to work out how to go do this friedmans famil assessment have the short form but the more i look at it the more i am confused how do you write it up any ideas would be great