Advice from seasoned nurses for new nurses


As a GN, I wonder what comments seasoned experienced nurses would have to offer as advice. What would you be cautious of as a new nurse, what do you wish you knew or someone had advised you as a new nurse, what would you tell the GN you with what you know now? I’m sure this is a common GN nurse question :slight_smile:


My best advice is to follow your dreams - and have several similar plans in case your preferred plan does not work out. Also, be prepared for something new to arrive that you never imagined in your life at some juncture in your career.

When I was a GN (14 years ago), I was told that I could not go straight into an ICU as a GN and I certainly could never go straight into an MSN program. I was surprised by this because I had a physical science background before I was a nurse and I had never heard anyone tell me this before. It was something that I had never heard from any other profession other than nursing. I was also advised to get a patient care assistant position in my last year of nursing school so that I would get more confident at the bedside. I listened to that advice - and went to a hospital recruiter. They saw my neuroscience background (before I was a nurse) and placed me in Neuro Trauma ICU. I graduated, passed my NCLEX, and was hired as a GN in the NTICU. This was such an easy transition for me because, by the time I was ready to start my new position, I already knew everyone’s names, where things were, and what they were called. I just had to learn my RN job. Furthermore, I was also accepted into a master of science in nursing program the following fall. I knew that I was still green enough to need time at the bedside, so I made my MSN studies part time and took the research and theory courses in my first year. I also found out where the medical students were meeting for grand rounds and case study presentations - and I attended those as a silent observer. I studied certification manuals for ICU and neuro ICU - and passed my CCRN (ICU certification). I defended my MSN thesis a year early - and took my final assessment and clinical practicum courses last. When I completed my MSN, I applied for and gained entry into a PhD program. Recently, I finished a Post MSN certificate program in nursing education.

I tell you about my path because I want you to see that you have many opportunities - and you should stick to your guns. Some of the advice you will hear will be outdated (like the advice I got about not being able to go to an ICU or start an MSN program right away). There was a time when nurses were not very empowered. I have heard horror stories from many older nurses - I am older, too, but I am a 21st century RN. All of this opportunity is relatively new - and work environments are a lot better than they used to be. They are better because the older nurses changed many things. We are benefitting from their work…

Bottom line: Do what you want to do - and be prepared to work very hard for it.


Please make sure that you are going into Nursing for the right reason. The love of the profession vs money…I have seen many nursing student go all the way through a four year program only to decide that nursing was not for them… I always said that I wanted to be a nurse to give the love and compassion to those in need. My motto was “to treat my patients the way I would want my family or myself treated.!”


Remember we all started as new grads. So if someone treats you poorly shake it off. You will succeed. You may
Make a mistake, but learn from it and go forward. Best of luck from of a fellow RN.


Understand that each new nurse feels completely overwhelmed for the first year, and it is completely normal to not feel competent until you have been at the bedside for about two years.


Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions when you aren’t entirely clear on the answer. It’s better to treat the patient correctly than to guess and put the patient at risk.


**Take the time to sort out who you are. Your skills will follow as you repeat good habits and follow old nurses like me. If you become a faceless corporate tool, you will forfeit the best in yourself and our profession. **


the 50 Lessons were written by me in 1997. What would you write instead??


My best advice is to stick to your teachings and methods. If an older nurse says you can do something easier this way and you do not feel comfortable just say that! By saying you were taught this way and feel most comfortable this way you have done no wrong!!!


Find the crabby nurse, OCD nurse, the nurse that seems to not trust you. Best bet, that nurse is awesome to their patients, does things by the book and is someone you can learn from. Impress them and they’ll teach you invaluable lessons that are not taught in any book or school. Good luck, be smart & if it doesn’t feel right, that gut feeling…it probably isn’t.


Best advice, make sure patient is comfortable with you. Gender neutral is a big problem in nursing and getting worst. Many patients both female or male are not comfortable with a male nurse doing intimate procedures on them.


Really admiring thanks for sharing it here :slight_smile:


I have been a nurse for over 25 years. Find your passion niche. I had always wanted to become a teacher, but I had initially became a nurse. And had 15 years of teaching in healthcare. It’s rewarding. If you find your passion and purpose…basically your niche…what area you love…You will never work a day in your life. My advice is to find the thing you like to do in nursing and master it with passion and purpose.


Buy a notebook. Write about everything. Label everything that needs changing daily with this notes.
Read the notes first before you bleep the doctor.
Any spare time should be used to write notes or helping others. Do not sit while your colleagues are really busy. You will look like a douchebag.

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