In a recent article for Care2, nurse Eileen Spillane doled out advice for new nurses entering the workforce after May graduations…and we loved what she had to say!
Here are some key excerpts from the article:
If you’re just beginning your nursing path, these five tips will hopefully help you survive those early years and sustain a satisfying career.
1. Roll up your sleeves, check your ego and learn from senior nurses.
Nurses eat their young. It is true. Fortunately the culture of horizontal hostility in nursing is slowly getting the attention it needs, and we can create a more supportive working environment. You will be oriented but not coddled as you embark on your new career. If you play your cards right, you can enroll mentors rather than alienate co-workers. Sharing your fears and insecurity will earn respect from senior nurses. “Faking it till you make it” does not impress them. Save that for your patients. They need you to be confident. It’s hard being a beginner, but if you bring some humor and compassion to yourself, you will learn more in the first year of work than all four years of nursing school combined.
As you carry out orders and complete tasks, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Do not follow orders or protocols like a robot. Develop critical thinking skills, and I guarantee you will save many lives out there.
2. Learn to be uncomfortable.
We as nurses are surrounded by difficult situations. Most of our patients are in pain. Nurses are right in the trenches with all sorts of body fluids, because we have adapted to being uncomfortable. Remember there are human beings connected to the foul smells of urine, poops, blood, drainage and sputum. You will need to filter your reaction to minimize embarrassment to the patient. Remember, you might be in their shoes one day.
I’ve put leeches on my patient’s thigh flap that was donated to her neck due to head and neck cancer (I don’t like leeches). I sat in the second-hand smoke of a meth addict after I took her out for a cigarette after delivering her baby she would likely not raise, while we discussed informing her mom of her addiction (I don’t particularly like meth addicts or second hand smoke). I have zipped up body bags more times than I care to remember. I have swaddled dead babies in cozy blankets for parents to begin the grieving process. It never gets comfortable, but you will get better at it.
Read the rest of the list here, then tell us, which piece of advice rings most true for your own experience? What advice do YOU have for new nurses? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.