What’s the difference between a new nurse and a newbie nurse?

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What’s the difference between a new nurse and a newbie nurse? (Yeah, this is a distinction I just made up, but trust me, it’s a distinction with a difference.) Everybody was, at one time, a new nurse. Some of us are still—constantly or intermittently—newbie nurses. It’s a function of stress levels and sleep deprivation rather than length of service. You can be—and I have been—a newbie even after a decade of nursing. Here’s your handy-dandy guide to new versus newbie.

Scenario: Room 7 catches fire
A new nurse will run to the fire extinguisher, having done the scavenger hunt during orientation just as he was supposed to. He’ll pull the pin, aim the extinguisher and squeeze the trigger, sweeping the nozzle from side to side and concentrating on the base of the flames.

A newbie nurse will run to the fire extinguisher, but get distracted halfway there by a call bell. While going to answer the call bell, he’ll trip over his own feet and fall face-down on the floor, where he’ll discover that somebody has dropped a service pin. In an attempt to find the owner of the service pin, he’ll search all over the unit. He’ll find a fresh spread of sandwiches in the breakroom and wander off, munching on one, wondering what all the sirens and firemen are for.

Next: Scenario: Six admissions come onto the unit within a half hour →

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Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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2 Responses to What’s the difference between a new nurse and a newbie nurse?

  1. beliefnhope Caption Contest

    LOL!!!! Love it and totally agree!!!!

  2. The second scenario was like the day I had yesterday (I work in a mental health facility). 4 new admissions in about an hour and 3 discharges. I was the medication nurse but I also helped with 2 of the admissions. Only been at the job almost 2 weeks!