April 03, 2020 4 min read

The New Nurse Survival Guide (Part 2)

Here are a few essential tips to help you as you embark on your first year as a nurse. Remember every single one of us started exactly where you are right now, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You can and will be a phenomenal nurse, you are an essential part of the team, give yourself grace!! 

Lindsey Neuroscience, RN -  PCU and ICU


11. Chart Accurately 

Charting is very important. It’s the legally binding document to prove your patient has received adequate care. DO WHAT YOU CHART and CHART WHAT YOU DO, always. As the saying goes, if it wasn’t charted, it never happened.


12. ALWAYS Watch What You Say 

Always assume your comatose, sedated, or patient with a traumatic brain injury can hear and understand everything you’re saying. Always treat your patients with complete respect. Always assume there’s someone listening and someone watching. 


13. Nature’s Cure 

A bottle of peppermint oil is one of my favorite tools to have in my pocket or work bag. A dab under your nose will make intolerable smells tolerable or a dab on your neck will wake you up. If you have a headache rub some on your neck and temples and it’s almost instant relief. When working nightshift many of us will get nauseous when overtired, peppermint can fix that too, just rub some on your neck or put it in your water to relieve your nausea and wake you up. 


14. Tools of the Trade 

Get yourself a good stethoscope, good shoes, and knee-high compression socks. I wish someone would have told me that rotating shoes throughout your work week makes a huge difference. I didn’t find out about compression socks until I had been a nurse for several years, I’m telling you, it was the best-kept secret in nursing. Compression socks will SAVE your back and legs. Start wearing them today, your back will thank me later! 


15. Time Management 

Learn time management and prioritization. Find what works for you and adapt your process along the way. Finding a report sheet suited for your patient population and workflow is vital! Your report sheet is a formatted sheet of paper where you write report, take notes throughout your shift, note your patients' meds, and additional tasks that need to be done throughout the day. If you’re struggling with a certain task, AM med pass for example, ask a few senior nurses and a few newer nurses how they organize and prioritize their meds passes. Take time to try them out and see exactly what works for you.  

16. Ask for Help 

Learn to ask for help and delegate appropriately. Never ask someone else to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. Learn who your resources are ensure they know they can count on you. A good working relationship with your certified nursing assistant (CNA) or nurse tech is worth their weight in GOLD, be sure your colleagues know you appreciate them. 

17. Teamwork 

When you have spare time, be sure you reach out to your colleagues to see how you can help. As the Golden Rule says, “Always Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated!” A good team can make any shift tolerable!  

18. Take Control of Your Learning 

You are in charge of your own learning! No one knows what you don’t know or understand, but you. Be sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunities around you. If there’s a patient with a chest tube on the floor and you haven’t had a chest tube in a while, ask the nurse to review the patho and physiology as well as the equipment with you. The charge nurse can help facilitate these learning opportunities as well, be sure you put yourself out there to learn new things and seize the opportunities to get your hands on tasks or at least watch. To master tasks, it’s helpful to watch one, help with one, and then try one with guidance. Be consistent and be in control of your own learning. Our career has endless learning opportunities. Take the opportunity to teach others what you already know, be open to questions, and remember there’s always more than one way to accomplish most tasks in nursing. Be open to learning. 


19. Keep Learning 

You can learn something from everyone. Seek out opportunities to learn something new every shift. You can even learn from 


20. Don’t Give UP! 

If your area doesn’t seem to be fitting well with your strengths, I’d advise you to give it 6 months to a year. No matter where you’re at in nursing, starting a new position can be overwhelming. Learn all you can and give yourself grace. Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on nursing. Before you leave, be sure you speak with senior nurses and management to ensure you’re leaving for the right reasons. The opportunities are endless in nursing. 20 Hidden Fields of Nursing LINK! 

Chelsey Rodgers
Chelsey Rodgers

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