Ten Things Every New Nurse Needs to Know Before Embarking on a New Career

August 5th, 2014 by

Tips for New NursesCongratulations! You’ve just graduated. After years of classes and fine-tuning your nursing skills, you probably feel like you’re ready to take on the real-world.

But there are some things a classroom can’t teach you which is why I’m writing this article. It is my hope that the tips below help make a smooth transition from nursing student to RN.

1. Time Management – Set the alarm Clock

You may have to catheterize one patient, start an IV on another, and ensure that you turn another patient every two hours. Nurses must also administer medications and document patient care; accordingly, the new nurse needs to follow a routine and carefully manage his/her time. Development of time management skills is essential to new nurses. In managing your time you will need to prioritize.

2. Prioritize – Determine what needs to be done first and what will be last

Airway, breathing, circulation the ABC’s apply to prioritizing patient care. In choosing which patient to start with and in managing your time, determine the priority of patients. As you cannot do all things delegate as necessary. After receiving the report about your patients begin prioritizing the patient needs.

3. Equipment – Familiarize yourself with location and use of equipment

Although nursing involves human interaction, development of patient/nurse relationship, you will also utilize life-preserving mechanical and technological resources in your nursing interventions. If a technology or resource is unfamiliar to you, refer to a reliable source of information—such as the agency policies and procedures manual–for instruction.

4. Policy and Procedures – Don’t just sign off Read and Remember

One of the requirements for care providers in major medical facilities is possession of malpractice insurance. In conjunction with maintaining malpractice insurance coverage (likely you began the policy in nursing school), you also must learn the policies and procedures of your nursing facility because the duties, responsibilities, and standards for competent job performance are defined in this workplace document. Try to familiarize yourself with procedures that you will perform on a routine basis and ensure that your actions are in accordance with the written policy. This is a part of maintaining your insurance.

5. Ask Questions – Research the Answers and Verify Correctness

Even the best medical professionals don’t know everything, but they know where to look for the answers. Ask supervisors and mentors for advice and information if you have questions. Also conduct some independent research and ensure that the information you receive is corroborated by evidence-based practices.

6. Dignity and Respect for co-workers

Numerous journal articles explore the subject of nurse to nurse hostility. The problem of hostility between nurses continues in the health care profession. In the article, “Nurse Bullying; Who’s Eating Whom?” author Greg Thompson notes that experienced nurses may feel threatened by new grad nurses who are familiar with new technologies (such as electronic health records and iPads) while the experienced nurse struggles with new technologies as they are implemented into the workplace.

As the title of the article implies, hostility may originate from any individual despite his/her position in the patient care hierarchy.

Treating your co-workers with dignity and respect improves communication and helps the nurse in developing healthy, productive working relationships.

7. Know your Nursing Philosophy

Prioritization and time management are mentioned are first steps to success in nursing; knowing the location of equipment, facility policy and procedures, asking questions, and treating co-workers with dignity and respect are also essential skills. However, your personal nursing philosophy combines each of these skills and defines why and how you provide patient care. Review some nursing theories and literature and develop your personal nursing philosophy.

Being a nurse is a very rewarding job. Every day you are making a major impact in the lives of your patients and their families. I hope that my tips based on personal experiences leave you feeling better equipped as you venture out into the world of nursing.

About the Author

Marian Henderson is currently a Graduate RN. She has volunteered at a long-term care facility and received 196 clinical hours of RN training; in addition she has a technical diploma in Health Information Technology from the American Business and Technology University. She loves sharing helpful information and tips for new nurses.

About the Author:

Marian Henderson

Marian Henderson is currently a Graduate RN. She has volunteered at a long-term care facility and received 196 clinical hours of RN training; in addition she has a technical diploma in Health Information Technology from the American Business and Technology University. She loves sharing helpful information and tips for new nurses.

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