Everybody goes through hospital orientation. Everyone trudges through their job-specific orientations. It’s required. You go over everything HIPAA- and ‘J-Co’-related, National Patient Safety Goals, security measures, policies and procedures, and, of course, employee handbooks, just to name a few.
All of that is important, don’t get me wrong. But there are other “must-know” pearls of wisdom that everyone discovers along the way. I personally feel they should fit these things into your standard garden-variety orientation.
Here are five pieces of knowledge that every nurse should have.
1. Which unit has the supply stash…you know what I mean. Equipment disappears now and then. I mean, for some strange reason, IV pumps just grow legs. That really nice recliner everyone wants for their patient magically rolls out of the unit doors. We ALL know the game that is played between nursing units. You can, of course, plead your case with your supply department, but nurses become very resourceful. We know just where to look to find those hard-to-acquire items.
2. Which unit has the food stash (certain units will have their own food). Some units will stock REAL food in a hideaway cabinet. Not just snacks, either! I’m talking REAL food. Other units will sell food items at discount rates. These are the units to befriend because there will come a time when you can’t get away to the cafeteria before it closes…and you’re starving.
3. Who has the best coffee (where to find it in and out of the hospital). This. Is. A. Must. Every nursing unit has coffee. Some are better than others, and some you avoid like the plague. Free coffee is great…but everyone has their limits. Also, if you’re wanting a GOOD cup o’ joe, and you have the time, you need to know where the closest café is located.
4. Shortcuts. Every hospital has them. Am I the only one who appreciates a shortcut? Every now and then you just want to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time. You want to avoid the crowd, avoid the prehistoric elevators and avoid the busiest parts of the hospital and just get there. No muss, no fuss.
5. Life around the outskirts. Sometimes you just need to step outside. Sometimes you need to find some mean cuisine. Sometimes you want Starbucks. Heck, sometimes you just want food other than what the hospital is offering. Or maybe you get the urge for all these things and it’s 3 a.m. Get to know your surroundings. Get to know where things are, and how long it will take you to get there. Who delivers? Who has takeout? These are all lifesaving pieces of information. Seriously.
Thankfully there is always a nurse, a provider, a transporter, an aide or a unit coordinator who possesses most, if not all, of this knowledge. It comes from working within the walls of the system for an extended period of time. It also helps when you have longtime residents of the town working in your hospital.
In the end, you’ll find out you need all of this knowledge to get through your days at work. Trust me.