I am a student in an accelerated 2nd degree BSN program at Georgetown University and I am working on a small project on the experiences of new grads. I'm looking for some opinions, from new grads as well as more experienced nurses and would appreciate anyone that is able to answer some questions. Feel free to PM me. Anonymous.
1. What type of education program did you complete? BSN, ASN, Second degree, etc.
2. When did you graduate and how long have you been working?
I graduated in December 09. I have been working since January 4, 2010.
3. Current position and goals for the future. grad school, specialty?
I work in the short-stay unit that is an extension of the ED. We have tele and med/surg patients, we do potent drips, and we run an infusion clinic out of our area.
4. Tell me a little about your orientation. How long was it? Was it structured?
Did you feel like you were just thrown in?
My official orientation spanned 8 weeks. I had class almost every Thursday. EKG interpretation, ACLS, 12 Lead EKG class, Potent Drips class, ABG interpretation class, and an infusion class. The actual preceptorship was one on one with my nurse and I progressed at my own pace and was not forced to do anything I was unsure of or uncomfortable with. A very new nurse friendly environment with almost every other nurse on the floor willing to answer questions or jump in and help. The environment made my preceptorship a wonderful experience. I got really lucky from what I hear from other nurses.
I would say it was structured, I knew my schedule, I knew my preceptor and it was the same one with the exception of maybe 3 days here and there. And that proved valuable so I could see how other nurses worked and helped me to realize I could deviate from one set way of doing things. I never felt like I was thrown out there. I had and still have great support from other nurses. Someone is always coming and asking me how I am doing and if I need anything. Even the charge nurses.
5. What were the biggest challenges you faced in orientation? when you got on the unit alone?
My biggest challenge while in orientation was understanding all the paperwork involved in admissions and discharges. How these were generated and where all the paperwork went after a patient left. One of the few drawbacks to having extremely helpful coworkers...my paperwork would always just magically appear in my hands at the appropriate times.
After being on the unit alone my biggest challenge has been time management.
6. Biggest suprises?
How jaded some nurses are. I mean I understand the shine has worn off, but I have seen some outright callousness too. We can't change the patients or their circumstances, or why some do the things they do to themselves...but we can at least moderate our reactions to them.
7. Did your educational training adequately prepare for the "real world"?
No...I don't think so. But I served an externship, again at a really student friendly hospital. I was able to work in a variety of settings: PACU, ED, ICU, Tele, etc. This experience did more to teach me real world than did school.
8. Something you wish you had been told while you were in school?
How incompetent we can still feel during and post orientation...but that this is normal and reassure us that it gets better. Better to know to expect those feelings, than be blindsided.
9. Were more experienced nurses helpful and receptive to your questions? what about the doctors?
The nurses were, absolutely. The doctors...not so much helpful, but I have not had anyone be rude to me when I was asking a question or when I did not understand something...not yet anyway.
10. Any advice for new grads?
Do not go into a situation with an air of superiority. Yes, you are fresh out of school...probably still remember a bunch of facts that more experienced nurses have forgotten...but do not underestimate what they know and what experience has taught them. One of the major complaints I have heard from the nurses I work with is the new grads coming in thinking they know everything.
Also, don't forget your basics, the fundamentals from your early classes. Everything comes down to the basics. The later classes consume our minds, the facts and values, the processes and procedures. Remember to "see" your patient, put your hands on your patient. Assess your patient, not the monitors.
Any questions you can answer would be great! Would also love to hear from ANY nurse relating their new grad experience to compare experience across time.