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Top 7 mistakes to avoid in your nursing career

slipping-on-banana-peelWhen you first become a nurse, it’s easy to believe that you’ll always love your job. But there will come a time where burnout, frustration and boredom take their toll. While you can’t avoid every pitfall, there are some mistakes that you can veer around.

Make the most of your career as a nurse by avoiding these seven mistakes.

1. Rushing Into Becoming a Nurse

If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, take the time to talk to seasoned veterans and get the inside scoop. Visit nursing schools to learn about prerequisites. Volunteer at a hospital or clinic to see if you really have a passion for medicine. Nursing is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but it’s best to be prepared before you dive in.

Sure, some of us are really impulsive and can pull off a career switch or educational 180 with ease. Most of us, though, need a little more preparation. Deciding on a career path is a big decision – whether you’re 17 or 47 – but it’s particularly important to think through your choice to become a nurse because there is so much involved. Prereqs. Nursing school. NCLEX. New grad programs. A lot goes into becoming a nurse –which is why not everyone can be one!

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20 Responses to Top 7 mistakes to avoid in your nursing career

  1. help

    I was asked by a supervisor to not help the aides with there care because it is causing friction with the other 2 nurses who work on my floor .Nursing is my passion ,how to do I explain that to the other nurses. This does no stop me from getting my work done.The aides do throw it in the other nurses faces that I help. I was made aware of this by my RN supervisor .How do I cont. to be a nurse when I.M told not to help a patient

  2. chrisRN

    You are a team with your Nursing Assistants. If you have the time to help them, that’s great. I’m sure your patients appreciate it. Isn’t that what its all about?

  3. It seem’s as though somes nurses have gotten away from what it is to be a nurse. Yes if one graduate and recieves his/her license thats great. Put yourself in the place of the patient for a moment. The tech/aide have between 10 and 13 patient’s in a hospital setting, their is absolulutely no way that each patient will recieve the appropriate care needed if everyone involved does not work together as a team. The tech/aide is only one person and the patient’s assigned have various conditions that could be time consuming at times. Yes their are slacker nurses as well as tech/aides. I firmly believe that we all should exercise what God has bless each of us with (a Brain).Treat people the way we would like to be treated, and work as a team to get patient care done as needed in every area.

    • queenie RN

      Receive is the correct spelling and the correct spelling is there, not their. Don’t you know the difference between there and their?

  4. Kathryn

    It seems that the other nurses are either lazy or are burnt out on direct patient care. By helping the aides you make the nurses look bad. This is a hard one! You need to talk to your supervisor and maybe arrange a group session to come to an understanding of how to resolve this. Be sure though, that helping the aides is not interfering with your nurse work, i.e. passing meds, dealing with orders and doctors, big picture things,etc. and that the other nurses are not having to pick up your slack in those areas while you are out helping the aides. Though what aides do can be done by nurses, what nurses do cannot be passed off to anyone else but another licenced nurse. If a patient doesn’t get a bath, he won’t die, but if someone screws up on his meds, orders, reporting problems to the doctors, getting the needed plan of care in place, it could kill the patient. Nurses are licenced personnel entrusted with *licenced* aspects of patient care. So if you have a few minutes, sure, go give a bath, wash a face, get someone up, feed someone, etc, but remember that the facility has hired you to be a nurse, not a high-paid aide. Are there aspects of nursing that you are unsure of, and need to learn more about? Maybe you are retreating to the safety of direct aspects of care to avoid the critical thinking aspects of being a nurse (only a thought). Please take a look at yourself and brush up on what you are unsure of and see if you can help the other nurses too, not just the aides.

    • glomays

      I am an ICU/ER nurse, so getting the help of a cna or tech is a rarity. I must say though, that when I am afforded help it is usually not very good. It seems that CNAs know pt responsibility is on the nurses’ shoulder and in my experience, they usually shift work to the Rn. I would never refuse care to a pt if the cna was not available UNLESS there was a higher priority awaiting me. I agree with Kathryn above that the rn should feel more responsible for the higher level care aspect of nursing and delegate lower levels of care. I still give baths, get pts up, etc without hesitation. But I would rather focus on critical thinking of the care of Pts. This includes things that are overlooked easily by MDs and teaming with a busier RN to help with the care of her group.

  5. lss521

    Maybe team nursing should be taught in nursing schools again. I the 60′s I was taught pt care management by team nursing. I have to say, at my last job, I worked with people who did not team care, each was doing his own thing and did not want to be bothered if you needed help even if you had helped them

  6. Tracy

    When I first got out of nursing school ( 24 yrs ago) Iwas workign in a Nursing Home as a Treatment Nurse until I got my exam results. Anyway while working as a Treatment Nurse I found myself helping the Nursing Assistances around me – changing pt’s, helping with feeding, lifting or turning pt’s, The NA’s always said thank you and appreciated the help. One day I was repremandid by the Director of Nursing for helping the NA’a – I was told I wouldn’t be a good supervisor of the those NA’s because I was helping them. I of course disagree – people no matter who they are aprreciate help and are more willing to help you when you need it if you show you are willing to pitch in and roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! Patient care is our job! too often we seperate ourselves by what degree we have – I’m a NA, I’m a LPN, I’m a RN, I’m a BSN, etc. We are all there to take care of our patients – whetther it’s emptying a bedpan, getting medication for a pt,or an extra blanket, etc. We have forgotten who is important – the patient – not us. We all need to work to gether for their good!
    Grant the aides should not be throwing it the other nurses faces that you help and they don’t but that should be a conversation that the head nurse should be having with the aides and she should encourage the other nurses to help the aides if they are able & have the time.

  7. cd

    a cna ive known for years just came to my facility to work. she is the laziest cna iv ever seen, when she works under me! we r old friends and she thinks she gets a “free day” when im her nurse. i dont know how to handle this. its so awkward working with her because of our history, and she dissapears for her fun time when we work together for most of the shift. when she is on the floor shes hanging on my cart gosisping instaed of working. the friendship is in the way of my being able to be firm with her, but im almost to the point of blowing her out of the water. im so frustrated. help???

    • Camoflahj

      Cd? You cannot let your friendship interfere with your duties as your friend’s team leader. At the very least, you need to request to not be on the same unit with your friend. You are shortchanging your patients when you allow this behavior to continue.

  8. Jennifer

    It’s a balancing act. I like Katherine’s comment. I also like my nursing aids to work independently and to also communicate with me when and if they need help, the load is too much or they’re getting behind. I want them to tell me rather than try to do everything themselves and risk patient safety. If I notice my aids are all busy and there is a call light, I go and answer but I do not agree with nurses doing their job and the nurses aids jobs both while the aid doesn’t do but sit around or take innumerable smoking breaks and so forth. Like everything else, It is a balancing act.

  9. The nurse should assist the cna, when the cna is busy. Patient,s care is the number one goal and that takes teamwork from all staff.

  10. denise

    I thought a nurse’s aide was just that, a nurse’s aide, not the other way around.

  11. God bless the hard working Cna’s.A very hard job and very little recognition.We wouldn’t have been taught patient care if we we’re supposed to stop doing it when we became licensed.I agree there needs to be more of a team effort.It is not about us it is about those we care for.Yes there are many lazy a– nurses out there as well as ones who are selfish and ones that have no common sense.
    I always make myself available to the Nursing Assistants I work with .I also thank them at the end of each shift.They deserve it….

  12. Helping the CNA is a great time to assess patients…skin, breathing, edema, circulation, orientation, pain….with your own eyes. In my opinion, patient care changed when the RN left the bedside. Supervisors, nurse managers, charge nurses and team members need to see and be seen again!..

  13. CCATT RN

    Always lead from the front. Set the example, and show those you expect to follow you’re willing to roll up your sleeves WITH them and work. They’ll likely respect you even more, and it gives you credibility when or if you must reprimand their behavior.

    For cd, you’ll have to decide between your professional practice, your duty, and your friendship. To me, its an easy call, a true friend would not show such disrespect and take advantage of a relationship. Remember, you’re ultimately responsible for seeing that things are taken care of with your patient(s). You may be held accountable for that individual’s negligence.

  14. Erica

    Nurses who always have time to help the CNAs may not realize that while you are helping them, somebody should be doing your job very seldom I have a down minute unless I am on break, between med pass, treatments, charting, transcribing orders, making rounds, incident reports etc. I can seldom find time to stray off my duties and if I do it will show. If your supervisor is reprimanding you take heed.You might be missing what she is really telling you.

  15. janelle

    I have recentley worked as a cna. Even though I am no longer in this field, I understand what everyone is talking about there have been times where one of my residents needed a bed pan while I was in the room washing another patient and the nurse refused to give it to him and went to find me to tell me by the time I got to the patient because I couldn’t leave my other resident naked and wet, the patient that asked for the bed pan had a accident on theirself. She was crying and ashamed that nurse was then written up and even later fired for another incident with her laziness. Nursing is a team effort it can’t work without the cna’s and sometimes nurses should help.

  16. marebear13

    I am a CNA at a nursing home and we get the short stick all the time the nurses never want to help you a few of us were talking an what if we went on strike for a few day what would our nurses due we came up with how the day would go no one would get out of bed n washed up they would all be soaked in piss and have lots of skin break down so nurses it’s important to treat your CNA with respect an try to give them the help they need bc with out us your job will be hell!