1. Lay hands on your patient as often as you can – not just for auscultation or checking an armband as you dispense meds; see them, and know they are probably afraid
2. Sometimes a back rub or a foot massage offers more relief than a Vicodin – warm the lotion first
3. Respect your nursing assistants and make sure they know how much you value their input – tell them your concerns about a patient so they know what to look for, and compare their observations to your own.
4. You will never have a clearer memory of what you learned in school than you do right now – but you will know more about life, and nursing, with every day that passes.
5. Keep reading, studying, learning, and subscribing to free email alerts from places like WebMD. Go to conferences and stay connected with positive people who love what they do.
6. Don’t believe everything you read from medical blogs. The chemical/food/ beverage that causes cancer one week will probably be its cure six months from now.
7. The nursing process is a great blueprint that you will always remember and follow, but make sure your care plans are more than canned entries. Of course we want to “prevent skin breakdown” – add that back rub and foot massage to your care plan!
8. Keep your eye on theI&0, know your patient’s normal appetite and bowel habits, be aware that a suddenly confused patient with a Foley may have a UTI, and that the patient who pulls off their oxygen usually needs it the most.
9. Never let a shift end without a narrative about your patient despite (or because of) electronic documentation.
10. Be proud of your degree, but
a. do not let initials define you
b. never minimize the nurse who has two years of schooling instead of four
c. listen completely and respectfully to everyone, because their knowledge is not your knowledge…but it can be