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Starting new job this saturday


Specializes in Assisted Living Nurse Manager.

I am starting in med surg this Saturday. I am nervous about this new venture. I am an older nurse, 51 to be exact:) so I am sure I will be one of the older ones on the floor, not that that makes any difference. I am looking for any advice from you seasoned or new med surg nurses. What do you wish you knew when you first started?

Dont be nervous. When you're a nurse, all will just come naturally to you. No one is perfect. Enjoy and learn day by day.


Specializes in Critical Care; Recovery. Has 2 years experience.

Hi, Larry here. I work med surg at a hospital in mississippi. That is a difficult question to answer because the level of experience that I have now vs nursing school is like night and day. So I guess I would start there. Since med surg is so hectic, don't expect to be able to spend a lot of time talking to your patients, especially while you are learning time management and the idiosyncrasies of your new job. Cluster as many tasks together while you're in the room and get in and out as quickly as you can and move on to the next patient. You may even have to cut a longwinded pt off by slowly walking to the door and saying something like: i have to go take care of something real quick but i'll be back as in a little bit. This may seem strange, but you have to realize that unrealistic expectations are placed on med surg nurses and you are only one person. Maybe once you have your time management skills down and are able to judge with some accuracy how much time you can afford to spend then you can try to spend more time with an individual pt. also, every day is different. Some groups of patients will make you feel like a successful nurse and others will make you feel like an abject failure. You will just have to learn to roll with the punches and take your medicine (from the more experienced nurses who forgot what it's like to be new) when you make mistakes or don't get something done. You only have two hands and won't always be able to get everything done on your shift. That is why facilities are 24 hours☺

Always try to get as much info about the patient as possible at the start of the shift. Be reading the chart while you are taking report and be prepared to ask pertinent questions like... Did you do this or that per this order... Or...has the doctor been notified of this already? Make sure all orders are noted off by the previous nurse and that they gave all the meds they were supposed to give. What you don't know about the patient at the beginning of the shift can come back to bite you in the butt. Speaking from experience here.

Don't rush to the point that you make mistakes in so doing. Make sure your meds are right. Everyone has poor time mangement at first, but pt safety is priority over giving meds late. Make sure you take care of now orders ASAP though because you can get in trouble if a stat order is done too late. Another reason you should quickly look at the recent orders right away and make sure the previous shift carried out all the recent orders.

Always ask questions promptly when you're not sure. Don't ever assume. Usually our assumptions turn out to be wrong and we get ourselves in hot water. If there is an aspect about your patient that you're not sure about, quickly ask for help or clarification.

Don't be afraid to ask for other nurses to help you to get caught up. Everyone needs help sometimes, even experienced nurses.

This was more geared for a new nurse. Sorry if that doesn't apply to you. Hope that helps. Larry