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What's the One Thing You Wish Someone Had Told You on Your First Day?

Nurses   (2,735 Views 13 Comments)
by Traum-a-Rama Traum-a-Rama (New Member) New Member

Traum-a-Rama has 2 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

3,656 Visitors; 57 Posts

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Hello, everyone! I am in the midst of finishing my last few weeks of nursing school and need some good, solid, simple advice. I'm really excited, but apprehensive (and a bit scared!) about being a new nurse.

Throughout nursing school, I have always guided my care around two basic principles:

1) Treat the patient as if he/she was your own loved family member.

2) If it wasn't documented, it wasn't done. Document facts, never inferences.

When looking back to your first year...better yet, your first day...what's the one valuable piece of advice you wish that a more seasoned nurse would have told you?

Thanks for your pieces of wisdom!

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MassED has 15 years experience and works as a ER.

1 Article; 20,126 Visitors; 2,636 Posts

smile.

listen, don't judge.

Ask questions - clarify, clarify, clarify until you understand. And take your time doing that!

don't alienate new coworkers, accept people with a smile and a good attitude.

be open to learn and adapt.

admit mistakes and grow from them.

don't let bad attitudes bring you down.

Good luck and welcome to nursing! Don't look back to the first day, look ahead to your new career.

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5,502 Visitors; 410 Posts

  1. Don't run. Running scares people. If you're going to run, you'd darn best mean it.
  2. Come early. Don't be one of those people who shows up right at the start of shift... at least not at first. Coming early gives you time to think, get organized, and set the tone for your day the way you want it to go.
  3. Stay late if you have to. Rushing to get things done and doing them halfway doesn't make you a good nurse. Staying late to do them right does.
  4. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Do you want your IV bags to be dry when you come on shift? Then make sure that yours have at least four hours on them when you go off. Make sure your PCA patients have another syringe available. Don't use the last PRN anything and not send for it to be replaced.
  5. If the IV looks bad, it probably is. This goes with its sister theory: Just because it has a blood return doesn't mean it's still good.
  6. Treat your patients the way you'd want your family to be treated.
  7. Wear a good watch.
  8. Set your IVs to beep before your bag is empty. Note what time that will be on your report sheet/brains/whatever you call them. Walk in the room five minutes early with a bag of fluids in hand. NO one likes a beeping IV.
  9. Always trust your gut. Always.
  10. It's good to be scared. In fact, please be scared. If you're not scared, you're not giving your inexperience and the fact that you've now got human lives in your hands the proper respect.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 169,549 Visitors; 13,883 Posts

how much you know is inversely proportional to how much you think you know. those who think they know it all don't, and those who think they don't know anything know more than they think. resolve never to be among the former.

 

remember it's really tough to teach someone who thinks they already know everything!

 

it cannot be stressed enough -- do not leave a mess for the next shift!

 

if you don't know, ask or better yet, look it up. no one expects you to know everything, but please don't "wing it" and wish you hadn't!

 

yes, you will really have to work nights, weekends and holidays. new grads heard whining about this fact earn the enmity of their co-workers. we all have to work unpopular shifts, why should you not have to?

 

everyone makes mistakes. everyone. anyone who says they haven't is either lying or too stupid to realize they've made a mistake. when you make your first mistake, admit it immediately and then set about the mitigate the damage.

 

patients can survive some pretty awful mistakes as long as you own up as soon as you catch it rather than trying to cover it up.

 

when you have downtime -- and you shouldn't, at first -- offer to help your colleagues with a code brown or a back to bed or a transfer . . . they'll love you for it and will reciprocate when you need it most.

 

good luck -- welcome to the real world of nursing.

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bhenry2010 has 2 years experience.

1,175 Visitors; 12 Posts

dont get involved in the politics!!!:uhoh3:

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Scarlette Wings has 27 years experience and works as a RN, BSHS, ICP.

6,712 Visitors; 358 Posts

on a humorous note, "run, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars."

on a realistic note, "when the illusion that you have of what nursing is going to be like actually hits the reality of what nursing is,take a really deep breath and remember your reason for going into nursing."

and:

"treat every single patient as if they were your mother or father or child."

school teaches you about reality shock but it can't prepare you. (it is like when you are a kid and the anticipation of christmas makes your tummy fill with butterflys but somehow reality doesn't always meet expectations.) school tries to teach you that reality shock will come, that burn-out can happen, but they don't really tell you how to get through it.

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ErinS works as a Hospice Case Manager.

5,101 Visitors; 347 Posts

If you do not annoy coworkers with your questions, you are probably not asking enough! If there is ever a glimmer of doubt about a decision, double check. If you ask a question, and the answer doesn't seem right, ask someone else. Use all the resources available- bother the pharmacists, the therapists, the RTs. These people all have incredible knowledge that can make your life easier.

More than anything, know that every shift comes to an end...eventually.

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57,334 Visitors; 10,263 Posts

Keep your mouth shut. You have no opinions, did not learn it differently, the only words you know are "thank you" and "would you mind showing me that again?"

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5,502 Visitors; 410 Posts

Keep your mouth shut. You have no opinions, did not learn it differently, the only words you know are "thank you" and "would you mind showing me that again?"

Additionally, you may also know the words, "Please ma'am, may I have another?"

Just kidding... kinda. :lol2:

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1,580 Visitors; 32 Posts

Become friends with your CNA quickly! Triple check everything.

Do not become too confident too quick.

Do not run in the hallway unless it is an EMERGENCY, people get very scared.

Always listen to the pt's family when they tell you "something doesn't seem right" because they know that pt the best.

Always go with your gut feeling.

Don't be late giving report to another nurse, for some reason they get very annoyed lol.

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Traum-a-Rama has 2 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

3,656 Visitors; 57 Posts

Just wanted to say thanks to all nurses, new and seasoned, who took time to reply with your tips! I'll keep all of this in mind when caring for patients and when establishing a rapport with my co-workers.:)

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SweetLemon has 1 years experience and works as a Psych Nurse.

4,093 Visitors; 213 Posts

Never be afraid to ask questions... no matter how dumb and insignificant it might sound, its not. Personally I think the person unwilling to ask questions is a lot scarier then the nurse who asks the "dumb" ones. Good Luck & Best Wishes!

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