As exciting as it is to start a new job, everything always seems so overwhelming. It does not matter whether you are a new graduate or experienced nurse.
You may get an orientation to where the lab is and all the floors, but when you’re done with your preceptor, you realize you can’t remember what floor the lab was, particularly if it a large institution.
There are some things you don’t want to assume will come naturally to you.
I would encourage you to have a small notebook in your pocket with little reminders.
Write important telephone numbers you think you will need.
Include notes like; the lab is on the 7th floor, third door on the left, and the Central Supplies is on the 5th floor, 2nd door to the right.
In your notebook, you want to have a checklist. Before your shift ends, make sure you have checked off everything.
Here is an example:
- Did I get all the vital signs of my patient?
- If they were abnormal, did I address them?
- Did I look at the patient’s lab values and address them?
- If my patient has a wound, did I need to do any dressings?
- Did I look at all the Doctors orders and sign them off?
- Did I give the patient all his medications?
Is the tube feed that’s running or the IV infusion enough to last an hour into the next shift or do I need to change the bottle?
There is nothing as irritating as when you take over from the previous shift and find your patient with an empty tube feed bottle beeping or IV infusion beeping.
Even if you are a new nurse on the unit, nobody will excuse you. -It’s a bad way to start any shift.
Ask, ask, ask…
Don’t fear to ask questions. No one expects you to know too much. Learn who you can ask, and make friends with them. Some people don’t like being bothered with questions, it does not mean they are necessarily bad nurses, probably they have too much on their mind, and a question is one more thing they cannot handle.
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