5 Things You Need to Know as a New Nurse
A career as a nurse can be a rewarding one. You will literally be saving lives, but you’ll also be helping people get through some of the most difficult times in their lives.
As a new nurse, you’ll likely be facing some situations you’ve never been in before. Here are five things you need to know as a new nurse.
1. Your Paper Schedule Will be Very Different from Your Real-Life Schedule
A nurse’s schedule may look manageable on paper, but it often plays out very differently in real life. You may be assigned 3 shifts of 12 hours each, but when you factor in commuting, changeover duties and exchanging patient information before and after each shift, you’ll be wearing your male scrubs for far longer than you planned. It’s not uncommon for nurses to work 15-hour days.
Don’t expect to really have four days off each week. You’ll be on-call for when the hospital is understaffed.
Your paper schedule should be taken with a grain of salt. There’s a good chance you’ll be working more hours than your schedule suggests.
2. Your Memory Must be on Point
If your memory game isn’t strong, it’s time to work on that. Or in the very least, you must be extremely organized and ensure that you’ve recorded details that you must remember.
Nurses are expected to know – without hesitation – all of the details of their patients. That includes disease profiles, and the technology needed to treat patients, including medication interactions.
3. Your Duties Will Expand
A nurse’s duties are never set in stone. Expect to perform duties that are completely unrelated to your medical training. At times, you’ll play housekeeper, waitress, advocate, mediator, errand runner and counselor.
Be prepared to take on these different roles. While difficult, it does make the job more interesting and fulfilling.
4. You Will Make Mistakes
Expect to make mistakes as a new nurse. Everyone makes mistakes in every career, especially when they are new to the field.
The first mistake will feel awful, but you won’t likely make the same mistake again. Learn from your mistakes, and they will only make you a better nurse.
Just be cautious with medications, as this is the easiest thing to mix up. And the consequences can be deadly.
5. You Will Face Difficult Situations
As a nurse, you will undoubtedly face difficult situations. One of the most difficult situations you will face is the loss of a patient. Unfortunately, every nurse will have this experience at least once. It will not get easier. Each death will be different and tragic in its own way.
You will also face other difficult situations as patients go through tragic illnesses. Being a nurse is not for the faint of heart or those without a strong stomach.
A career as a nurse is a commendable one, but you’ll need to be prepared for these five things – and more. As a new nurse, it will take time to learn the ropes, but your colleagues will be more than happy to help you get through it.