Nurses and Helpful Tips
Sound Advice for New and Seasoned Nurses
Many a Doctor Brings Coffee to a Busy Nurse
I believe that there are some basic tips that all new nurses need to remember. Seasoned nurses need to keep these tips in mind because seasoned nurses can become too confident in what they are doing that they are apt to mess up.
A Few Tips about Doctors
Doctors are Human Beings (except for a few)
There are many wonderful doctors today who give their life for their patients. There are many doctors that give the utmost respect to the nurses who care for their patients, and back the nursing staff 100-per cent.
Most doctors, these days want to be questioned about their medication and treatment orders they write. When the nurse questions the doctor about an order that does not add up, most doctors are very appreciative to the nurse.
Most doctors expect the nurse to look out for them and in turn they look out for the nurse. If the doctors, nurses and technicians work together as a team, this only benefits the patient fighting to get well so they can go home.
Nurses should be aware of the few doctors who do not share this view. There are a few doctors out there who do not like to be questioned, nor do they ever say "Thank you" for a job well done. All the nurse can do is to keep checking these doctors as they do any other doctor and (as said in the nursing profession), continue to cover yourself against neglience of the doctor.
Do's and Don'ts for the New Nurse
Number One Tip - Cover Your Butt
The number one tip for a nurse is to protect one's self. As we say in the nursing profession, "Cover your butt at all times, because no one else is going to cover for you". Never assume that the other nurse, aide or doctors are going to go to bat for you. A medical professional is looking out for one person only, themselves. I do not care how friendly, trusting and compassionate other medical professionals are to you, never trust that this person will help you out of a difficult situation or take the honest blame for a wrong that they are responsible. That person could blame you.
Throughout my 43-years of nursing I have seen a few doctors do or say something wrong, and blame the nurse for what they did. I knew a few doctors who simply was not going to take the blame for anything they did wrong.
Second Tip - Err on the Side of Caution
Medical professionals are human and subject to error. If a medical professional says, "I have never made a mistake", that person is lying. I learned to make sure my errors were due to being overcautious. When a medical professional is dealing with life and death matters, a professional must always err on the side of caution. Never get into the situation where you have to admit to a mistake because of negligence on the job.
Third Tip - Show True Compassion to Co-Workers and Patients
I have always had compassion for those who are in pain, suffering from an acute illness, terminal illnesses, and those who have needed surgery in a life and death struggle. There are some areas of nursing that I could not gather the compassion needed to care for the patient properly.
I avoided these areas of nursing. Drug abusers, alcohol abusers, mental illness, including depression were not my expertise, and I felt uncomfortable dealing with these patients. Try to nurse in areas where you are comfortable. You will do a much better job.
I enjoyed the emergency room, pediatrics, medical/surgical units and sometimes the cancer unit. In these areas I found all the compassion I needed to care for my patient. If a nurse works in a particular unit and feels uncomfortable caring for that particular patient, full compassion is not going to be in her heart.
Fourth Tip - Learn to Listen with Full Attention and Talk Less
I am a talker, plain and simple. Early in my career, I had no problem spilling my guts to patients. This is an easy thing to do for most new nurses. I found that I was at my job location so much it became my home away from home. It is easy to overstep your informational network. Remember that patients are in your care to make comfortable and help heal. You are not their friend per say. Do not get personal with any patient or co-worker, and learn to draw the line.
Be smart and remain friendly to patients and co-workers, just not a friend. This is the only way that I could remain strictly professional. If you are in a supervisory position, remember you have no friends and the higher you climb on the corporate ladder the more lonely it becomes.
You cannot supervise staff and be a friend at the same time. Never, think you have friends in 'high places of employment', or 'friends' in those you supervise. It is impossible to be a supervisor and a friend. This will only bring you grief. It is difficult to give written work assessments or reprimand co-workers if you consider them your friend.
Fifth Tip - Patient or Co-worker Confidence, Do Not Gossip
Hold patient confidence unless the confidence will affect a patient's health or treatment outcome.There were times when a co-worker or patient felt the need to tell me something and may have requested I hold what they said, in strict confidence. Never promise a co-worker or patient that holding confidence is even possible, until the issue is presented.
Sixth Tip - Know Where Your Personal Priorities are Set
Every nurse is an individual and has different priorities. Every nurse needs to set his or her own individual priorities and stick with those priorities. My priorities may not be the same as the priorities of another nurse. I always put God first, then my family, then my job and on down the line.
One day my husband, who never gets sick, came home and fell on the couch. He had a fever of 104-degrees with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the typical flu symptoms in the fall season. I worked second shift and our three children were two, four and six years of age.
There was no way my husband could take care of the children, as he was down for the count. I placed a call into work that I would not be there due to a family emergency. The supervisor told me, "Your husband is a big boy, and I am sure he can take care of himself. You need to get your priorities in order and get to work".
I was never as angry with any supervisor as I was this woman. I told her, "My priorities are in order, you are the one with mixed up priorities. I will not be in to work tonight. Furthermore, if my husband is as sick tomorrow night as he is tonight, I will not be in tomorrow either". I then hung up the phone.
The next night my husband was under the weather, however felt well enough to take care of the kids, so I went to work fully expecting termination from my job. This supervisor was cheerful to me and asked me how my husband was, but never said anything negative to me. From that night on, I never had a problem with this woman. She always treated me with respect and in turn, I treated her with respect.
Last Tip - Give 100-Percent to Your Nursing Position and Expect Nothing in Return
When a nurse gives 100-percent to her job every day he or she works, he or she will never have any regrets. When a nurse carries out all duties as well as he or she could possibly do, that nurse is able to go home and sleep well, having no regrets that she should have done more for a patient or employer, or feeling that he or she could have done better.
More by this Author
This is a follow up for the article "The Crazy Cat Lady". Not only did our family have a family of felines, our family took in a number of strays that have a story to tell. Rest a spell and enjoy.
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