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Practical tips & tricks you wish you'd learned earlier

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I'm a new nurse in orientation in the ICU. I've already learned so much, and I can't wait to learn even more! My preceptor and the nurses on my unit are great about sharing their "secrets of success," and I would love to hear yours. What makes your day easier, more efficient, less of a hassle?

A few examples of what I've learned:

Make "bed rolls" when you have down time that can be used for changing beds - a clean fitted sheet, draw sheet, and chux all pre-rolled and ready to go.

Wrap a warm blanket around a patient's hand if the pulse ox is having a hard time picking up their pulse/sats.

Put a chux over the bedpan/beside commode pan for easy clean up.

Suck on a peppermint/tic tac when dealing with icky smells.

I'm sure there has been much advice given on this site, so sorry if I'm being repetitive. Just wanted a good collection of it all of it in one place!

Wrench Party

Specializes in Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgical. Has 3 years experience.

1) Warm up a patient's arm when doing tricky IV starts- it helps draw up the veins. Also, have them lay down instead of sitting up.

2) Attach the EKG leads to the little stickies before sticking to the patient (i.e. don't snap on leads

to stickies already on the patient!)

3) Always wrap up the cords to anything (monitor, IV pump, etc.) when transferring a patient.

4) Use a soft splint to stabilize an IV drip that keeps miserably beeping every time the patient bumps their hand on something.

5) Ginger ale and dim lights can be effective in fighting nausea before reaching for the Zofran and the Phenergan.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Warm up the fingers/hand when doing fingersticks (if digits are too cold you'll struggle to get a good blooddrop).

Thanks for these tips. They're all good! Please keep 'em coming!:)

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Manage your alarms. If you're patient is a marathon runner and his typical heart rate is 42, there is no reason to have the upper limit set on 120 and the lower limit set on 60. Not only will you run yourself ragged answering alarms, but you'll annoy every nurse on your shift. Conversely, if he's been in A fib with rates in the 140s for 12 hours, an upper limit of 120 makes no sense. Set the lower limit at 100 (so you'll catch him when he converts) and the upper limit at 160. Or thereabouts.

Manage your visitors. If the rules say only two at a time, don't be the nurse who invites all 8 of his closer personal friends into the room with their fried chicken and Big Gulps. The next nurse who has to enforce the 2 visitors at a time, no food or drink in the room instantly becomes the bad guy. You may be (temporarily) popular with that family, but they'll be gone in a day or two and the co-workers you've teed off will be with you for years.

Manage your pumps. Don't be the nurse who sets the IV pumps to alarm every hour "to remind me to go check his glucose" or something equally silly. Chances are you'll be down the hall helping with a clean up and some OTHER nurse is going to have to go up and down the hall looking for the source of the alarm. And they won't like you much.

Manage your expectations. Don't expect kudos for simply doing your job correctly and do expect to be talked to after you've screwed up. That's not "mean" or "nasty." That's just making sure you understand the gravity of the screw up, how it happened and how NOT to have it happen again in the future.

bsartor

Specializes in Neuro, Trauma, and Psych. Has 2 years experience.

Love this!

I only have this one so far but it was a game changer for me.

If you have to clamp the foley tubing to obtain a urine culture, you can fold the tubing, the easily slide a vacutainer adapter over the kinked tubing. It was always a battle to properly clamp the thick tubing with hemostats.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Love this!

I only have this one so far but it was a game changer for me.

If you have to clamp the foley tubing to obtain a urine culture, you can fold the tubing, the easily slide a vacutainer adapter over the kinked tubing. It was always a battle to properly clamp the thick tubing with hemostats.

Just use a rubber band when you kink it off. Put a second rubber band on your wrist as a reminder to go back and unkink it to pull your specimen.