22 things I learned in my first year as an RN

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1. Something all new doctors and nurses learn fairly quickly (it’s a universal law in hospitals): Never, ever, EVER say “slow,” “quiet” or “calm.”

2. Do not ever say “I don’t know what day shift was talking about—he hasn’t had a bowel movement all night” because within an hour you will be engulfed by poo.

3. It’s okay to cry after your patient dies.

4. A wall suction canister works great to drain your foley bag, especially if you need to walk any distance to dump it and don’t want to wear urine on the front of your scrubs.

5. There is no “I” in nursing unless you are trying to win a spelling bee.

6. The opposing shift is not your enemy (see #5).

7. It’s okay to say “I don’t know,” and usually, if you are willing to ask, you can find someone who does. Always, always, always put patient safety before your ego.

8. Charting is very, very, very important.

9. “Real world” nursing is SO not like Grey’s Anatomy or ER. Believe it or not, we do NOT have sex in the break room. In fact, we are too tired from working hard to do anything but eat, pee and sleep during our breaks in the break room.

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