How do I deal with a brand-new nurse?

Thinkstock + Scrubs

Thinkstock + Scrubs

Truth time: There’s a huge difference between an experienced nurse and one just out of nursing school. So though you both may have the initials RN or LPN or LVN or NP (etc etc!) after your name, you’re going to need to revise your expectations a little bit. A brand-new nurse is not going to be able to function independently on the floor, and that’s okay. Your job is to welcome her and provide information and support as needed. 

Here’s how almost 100 nurses have weighed in on this topic via Facebook.

Here is our top advice:

Take the time to introduce yourself and to learn a little more about her. Talking to her for a few minutes will give you a good idea of her strengths; playing up her strengths can help her feel like an important member of the team.

Introduce her to the other staff members and give her “the inside scoop”—you know, how things really run on your unit. That doesn’t mean dwelling on gossip; it just means letting her know things like which doctor prefers to be paged rather than texted.

Be a role model for excellent nursing care—and that can include verbalizing how you’re going to approach your day after you’ve listened to report—and be available to answer questions. Answer her requests for help or information positively. Provide emotional support as necessary. Remember, a new nurse isn’t a burden, but a coworker.

With time and support, she’ll soon be flying alongside you.

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4 Responses to How do I deal with a brand-new nurse?

  1. madelaine scott

    i am the main preceptor on my small pcu . our last 4 new hires were all new rn’s. i worry that i am notorganized enough, not giving them everything they need. i try to be very supportive and we encourage the whole floor to be supportive, so in that respect they do well. but trying to do your job with all it entails in a timely manner, and still teach them is very challenging! there is so much they don’t know, and we only give them 6-8 weeks here, .and of course everyone thinks my job is so much easier, since i have ” help “. being a preceptor is a love hate job. i love helping new nurses find their feet, but hate the huge responsibility i feel for them! what i do or don’t teach them can affect how they do their jobs for the rest of their career, i hope i’m giving them what they need.

  2. tim

    Excellent insight. My only issue is that the author kept refering to the new nurse as she or her. In todays nursing, men are a part of the corps. I would think new nurses need the above mentioned assistance no matter what gender they are.

  3. rosey102657

    I’ve never been a preceptor myself, but I’ve always welcomed new nurses to the unit and offered help and/or pointers that will make the transition from nursing school to “real-life”nursing situations. I’m not one of those nurses who “eat their young”! I welcome the chance to work with new nurses and hopefully in the future, will get my M.S.N. so I can teach nursing.

  4. LPN

    the brand new nurse is the wife of the cook where I use to work she is a favorite there and feels she is un touchable . She harrassd me continually altered my work interfered with my work and constantly complained about whatever she did not like ex.) I gave a tylenol without ok from her.. I am 27 years med nurse . I was fired for filing a complaint against supervisor for all allowing hostile work environment. so obviously I do not want this job back but would like to see a full review of this issue by the EECO then printed in the paper…………………………………thanks for allowing me to vent.