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5 Essential Tips for New Nurses

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By Kristen Smith, R.N.

Being a new nurse is hard, probably harder than nursing school. It’s sort of like being a freshman in high school all over again. Like, you have the knowledge to be there. You’re excited and ready to learn. But there are always obstacles around every corner, and someone waiting for you to trip up. There is always someone to bring you down. Such is life. So here are a few tips for you, nurses, to be successful. Take notes.

1. Ask Questions

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “there are no stupid questions, except the one not asked.” As far as nursing is concerned, the phrase rings true. Always ask questions. Don’t hesitate for fear of looking inferior because it isn’t. How did the best nurses become the best nurses? Yes, they asked questions — a lot of them.

2. Get Off Your High Horse

Yank up those sleeves, double glove and dive elbow deep into a code brown. You are a nurse. You have a great amount of responsibility and knowledge. However, it is not below you to assist a patient to the bathroom or clean out a bedpan. Patient care is everyone’s job. Believe it or not, cleaning poo (or making your patient comfortable) is in your job description. You will gain so much respect from your peers by assisting in the not-so-pleasant daily tasks.

3. Manage your Time

Time management is a huge task. It takes practice. Take the advice of more experienced nurses. Try different ways of managing your time until you find what works for you. The most important thing is patient care. So do your best to provide quality care in a tight time frame.

4. Spend Money-Lots of Money

You will save money in the long run by not having to purchase better stuff a week from now.

Say what? One of the biggest mistakes I made as a new nurse was buying cheap equipment and clothing. Trust me, spend the extra $20 on a comfortable pair of shoes. You will be walking on concrete floors for 12 hours or longer. Spend the extra money on a decent stethoscope that you can actually hear out of. You will save money in the long run by not having to purchase better stuff a week from now.

5. Remember Why You’re a Nurse

Nursing is a rewarding, yet an arduous career. Sometimes, patients will discourage you. Coworkers will bring you down. You will face difficult and emotional situations. There will always be those patients that crack the protective layer you have built around your heart, and you lose a little piece of it. But, at the end of the day, remember why you wanted to be a nurse. And know that you were created with a few more fragments of your heart, just in case you lose a little. Keep loving. Stay compassionate. Be a nurse.

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I am a full-time registered nurse, wife and new mom. I've recently started writing part-time and I love it! My family is my life. I enjoy spending time with them in my free time.

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