Secrets to a New Nurse’s Success

Entering into the often fast-paced world of nursing can be daunting; no amount of training can completely prepare you for some of the sights you may see or situations you may find yourself involved in. There are also some aspects of this profession that will not be realized or learnt until some experience in the work environment has been gained. This is where the experience of others can be used to help boost your initial success within the workplace, and also make your job a little bit easier.

The Need for Speed

Being able to aid someone quickly and efficiently can be tough in stressful situations. Many new nurses will enter into a situation where they feel like they are going half the speed of everyone else in the room, like they are disorganized, or just that they feel completely overwhelmed, so feeling this way should not dishearten you or worry you. The key here is to remain as unflustered as possible; the more experience you gain the more you will naturally react to a situation that is happening, and before you know it you’ll be able to handle a situation without thinking about speed – it will become a natural response mechanism.

Little Tips Make a Big Difference

Sometimes there are little tips and tricks you can learn over a period of time when dealing with certain patients, or by getting advice from an experienced nurse; however going into the workplace with some tips already known can put you in a brilliant position to help keep your patients happy and your confidence levels high.

Let’s start with bed-bound patients. Spending all day lying on a mattress can often cause patients to get pressure ulcers in a very unlikely place – their heels. There is an easy fix for this; simply take a pillow or other soft object and place it in a position that allows the heels to hang freely without any pressure on them. This is an excellent tip to know as it keeps the patient comfortable in what could otherwise be a very uncomfortable situation.

Another tip for keeping patients happy and comfortable involves the insertion of an IV. As many nurses know a significant amount of time can be spent re-inserting IVs. Often a generous helping of tape on the IV site can help to lessen the need for re-inserting the IV; however be sure the tape is not compromising the skin. Furthermore, labelling and dating IVs can make changing the lines in a timely fashion much easier.

You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit, so don’t use gloves that don’t! At the start of your shift collect some boxes of gloves in your size and place them into the rooms of your patients. This means you have easy access to correctly sized gloves at all times, and as gloves can tear so easily this is a necessity. Remember, things like bathing patients or general cleaning up are tasks which can easily cause gloves to tear, so be sure to remember this and change gloves very regularly.

Your job as a nurse can get messy, and although it is not a particularly nice thought there are some precautions you can take with patients to help them remain comfortable; especially those that suffer from bowel incontinence. Protect sensitive areas on a patient with a petroleum jelly based product such as Vaseline. This not only protects the patient in sensitive areas but it stops any bowel incontinence from sticking to the skin of the patient.

Help the other nurses when they have a large volume of work to do and you find yourself with a relatively relaxed schedule. Doing this will not only earn you respect, but could also gain you some extra help should you need it when you find yourself with a very hectic schedule. Accepting assistance is not a sign that you are incapable of doing all the work – hospitals are very busy places – it just proves that you know your boundaries and would rather get a job done well with some help, than rushing through it alone. This also keeps patients happier as they feel like they are receiving proper care and attention.

Most importantly when you have just begun a career in nursing do not be afraid to ask questions. You may feel embarrassed to ask something but this is how you will learn and grow as a nurse. Find somebody you feel is trustworthy such as an older, experienced nurse. This will give you the confidence to ask any questions you want to be answered, without the worry or embarrassment of thinking you may be judged for not knowing something.

Lily McCann is a health writer who works with medical professionals and online healthcare providers to disseminate information.

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